Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No Rant today

So I've been feeling pretty down lately, trying to find some kind of balance in my life, and it's not working so well.  My current messed up health problems, and stresses from overambitious professors are probably not helping things very much.  Anyway, I thought i'd share some of my old ceramic works, since all i've got up here so far are my little wax figures.

These are some of my early bottles and vases, these are still some of my favorite forms, and I love the glazes on them, though I've been doing a lot of glaze experimentation lately, and my University ceramics studio has been reaping the benefits of my work.  I've added a couple of new glazes to our cone 10 firing range, the most vibrant is probably the tomato red.  Anyway, here's what I've got.

Copper Teal glaze on white stoneware:

Weiser's Honey on porcelain:

blue slip inlay on porcelain, clear glaze over top:

Vase Detail:

Friday, February 11, 2011

So This is Me... I guess

Hello and welcome, friends, family, and students,  I don't think anyone else is going to be seeing this anytime soon.

So, I'm Dave.  I'm a rather odd fellow.  I'm an artist, so I guess my oddities are excusable.  I'm a sculptor mostly, and this blog is my ranting space, but also a functioning running portfolio of my work.  I'll include a couple of pictures of my artworks with each blog, unless of corse I run out of artworks.  But lets be honest, I don't use this stupid computer enough to come close to that, so I guess it doesn't really matter.  I'm pretty sure that few enough of you are going to be looking at this anyway.

I have this annoying habit of being either very prickly and snobby, or very timid and quiet, and the paradox is even more pronounced in my writing.  So if i sound like a jerk, you need to be like my friends and tell me right out that i'm acting like a moron, or that i need to stop being so wishy washy.  So, I'm going to try to finnish introducing myself without falling into one of my paradoxical personalities... here goes:

I'm good at a lot of things, and I'm clueless at a lot of things.  I love art, but i already said that, I'm pretty good at art too, though i have a hard time with successfully completing 2D works, mostly because I think 3 dimensionally, and so I have a very hard time with portraying a focussed image that relates to the space around it.  In less artsy terminology, when i draw or paint, my foreground and background have this terrible disconnect, and the background usually is empty and unfinished.  I'm working on it though.  Right now I'm in an intaglio class, which is a type of print making, it's Italian, so it's inherently awesome.  Anyway, my Intaglio professor is really pushing me to fix the disconnect, and fill up all the space on the printing plate.  Even better, he's making me figure it out on my own.  I should say that I paradoxically both hate and love this professor.  But whichever emotion happens be winning out at any given time, i have to admit that i admire him.  I don't have so many problems with 3 dimensional works, I seem to know inherently when something is wrong, and though I'm not always successful at fixing it, 9 times out of 10 I am, and I'm good at thinking of the work in terms of how it's going to be displayed, so I don't end up with the same kind of distracting disconnect as I do with 2 dimensions.

I have a hard time with the art world as it stands right now.  We have this interesting new genre that they call, wait for it... New Genre.  Catchy, isn't it.  Anyway, it's this whole wild conglomeration of multimedia art, and computer generated works seem to feature prominently, though there are still a lot of tangible works, like installations.  I must admit, I don't like New Genre art very much.  I think a lot of it has lost it's aesthetic appeal, and the only things carrying it are these grandios and ambiguous ideas that the artists really seem to only partially have a grasp on themselves, so why they're making art to convey these only half formed, totally ambiguous ideas i don't know, but they are.  I think that art should be about more than ideas.  I mean don't get me wrong, I think philosophy is important, but the art is becoming less and less beautiful, or ugly, and is moving into the realm of being just poorly crafted objects that get in peoples way, and they really only mean anything to the artist, and sometimes not even them.  I think it's an interesting reflection of consumerism:  We want cheep stuff, so companies make cheap stuff for us to buy, but cheaply bought stuff is also cheaply made stuff, and cheaply made stuff doesn't last, therefore it needs to be replaced more often.  The idea of Craftsmanship, of producing something of quality, is all but dead, even in art.  I think that's partially because "High Art" holds such disdain for the crafts, assuming that they are lower on the totem pole because crafts appeal to the masses.  How soon we forget that art holds all of it's origins in craft, and art without craft yields only temporary, consumerist ideas.  And yes, consumerism is evil.  I think it's odd that art has become so consumerist centered, since the world of higher art has spent the last several hundred years alienating itself from everyday society.

I choose to work mostly in ceramics because nothing lasts as long,  paintings fade, stone chips and looses it's luster, steel rusts away.  Ceramics also hase a very strong craft base, some artists still won't accept it as an art medium because of that fact.  I have tried hard to learn the craft and elevate it from kitch to higher art.  I do have an idea behind my work, and more importantly, a question.  The idea is:  Everything that we have, every step of progress that mankind has made, every step of progress any individual person makes, and anything that any person gains, requires some sort of sacrifice.  there is never anything for nothing, even gifts from other people cost something.  And the scary thing is that you aren't the only person paying for your progression, so the question is, what is your growth costing you, and more importantly, what is your growth costing the people around you.

I'm working on a piece right now, I've titled it The Sacrifice of Prometheus.  It's a weeping wall, made out of ceramics, portraying Prometheus, chained to the side of the mountain where Zeus left him to have his liver pecked out by an eagle every day as punishment for giving men fire.  Prometheus paid the price for Humanity's elevation from Neanderthal to sentient beings, not humanity.  For Christians, the imagery is very similar to the sacrifice of Christ.  I love using stories from mythology, folklore, and good old fairy tales, because those stories weren't just fiction, they were guides on wich to place your moral compas.  I think that humanity used to understand the idea of sacrifice, and how false the idea of entitlement is, and I think that we lost that understanding when we decided that science and new knowledge outweigh old stories and morals.  I'm planing a whole series of weeping walls based on the story of prometheus.  Hopefully this first one goes well, otherwise I'll probably abandon the project until I've amassed enough skill and knowledge to be able to portray what I want.  anyway, that's my rant on my artwork.

I love working with the figure, in fact, I think that it's my favorite subject to portrya.  So to open this blog, I'll share a couple of wax figures that I sculpted.  Each one is only about 6 inches tall.  I want to take this class again and do some more.  Let me know what you think, about my rant, and about my figures.