February 12, 2016

Artist's Daily Rituals

Here's a great book for artists I recently read that I must share with you,
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, edited and with text by Mason Currey.

Daily Rituals by Mason Currey
It presents detailed descriptions of the daily routines of 161 artists, mostly in their own words. It includes artists of every genre throughout history including writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, poets, philosophers, sculptors, filmmakers, and scientists.

I am so fascinated by books like this. I love to hear how other artists spend their days in and out of the studio. With all the vagaries of artist temperaments, and all the disparate ways of getting things done, what amazes me is that in the end I think we are all exactly the same, all fighting with ourselves over one thing or another, and for the same end purpose: creating. So many quirks and peculiar habits: charts and time clocks to track the time, pots of coffee and chocolate and opium and whiskey to keep us up when we should be down and down when we should be up. Rising at 3am or at noon or not sleeping at all, working in pajamas or while lying in bed or at the kitchen table. All leading up to the most important aspect of our lives, the work. I think most artists agree that inspiration is either non-existent or so constant we don't think of it as inspiration at all. The key is getting to work, whether we feel inclined at the moment or not. I love reading about an artist who lived two hundred years ago who went about his day similarly to the way I go about my day. Not to get too overly sentimental (if it's not too late), but I think it's important for artists to feel this connection, like we're continuing something important, something we can't help to begin with.

Willem de Kooning
photo of Willem de Kooning
I was thinking the other day that I can't remember an article I've read about contemporary painting in maybe the last five years that did not mention de Kooning at least 4 times. I wonder how he would feel about that. I used to imagine de Kooning's work ethic the epitome of what an artist's life should look like. Like being in your art studio 12 hours a day seven days a week was the only way to be a real artist. The man never stopped working. After years of struggling with that notion I've finally accepted my own way of doing things, which needless to say is a far cry from someone like Willem de Kooning.


Willem de Kooning
Woman Landscape XII, Willem de Kooning

Everyone needs to find their own way, so if four hours in the studio gets me to the best work I can make, so be it. 

Books like Daily Rituals confirm all my ideas about being an artist. It's wonderfully encouraging to see how other artists have been dealing with all the same issues but in so many different ways for so long...

for like ever.



January 23, 2016

artist of the week: Amy Sillman

Amy Sillman

Amy Sillman
Amy Sillman, C, 2007, oil on canvas, 45 x 39 inches

Amy Sillman
Amy Sillman, Fast painting #1, 2013-15, oil on canvas, 75 x 66 inches

Amy Sillman
Amy Sillman, Mother, 2013-14,  oil on canvas, 92 × 84 inches

Amy Sillman
Amy Sillman, Untitled, 2012, oil on canvas, 52 x 49 inches

Amy Sillman
Amy Sillman, Untitled, 2013, oil on canvas, 49 x 51 inches

Amy Sillman
Amy Sillman, Untitled, 2013, oil on canvas, 75 x 66 inches

Amy Sillman
Amy Sillman, Untitled (window), 2009, oil on canvas, 51 x 43 inches


Another abstract artist to add to my list which so far has included: Paul Behnke, Eric Sall, Cordy Ryman, and Jason Karolak. If this were a group show I'd also have to include Mary Heilmann, Jack Whitten and Thomas Nozkowski to round off a bit of the old and the new.

Mary Heilmann
Mary Heilmann, 311 Castro Street, 2001, oil on canvas, 54 x 36 inches
Mary Heilmann
Mary Heilmann, Neo Noir, 1998, oil on canvas, 75 x 60 inches
Mary Heilmann
Mary Heilmann, Psychedelic Serape #4, 1982, watercolor on paper, 30 x 22 inches
Mary Heilmann
Mary Heilmann, Surfing on acid, 2005, oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches
Thomas Nozkowski
Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (9-9), 2012, oil on linen on panel, 22 x 28 inches

Thomas Nozkowski
Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (8-128), 2010, oil on linen on panel, 22 x 28 inches
Thomas Nozkowski
Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (9-2), 2011, oil on linen on panel, 22 x 28 inches
Thomas Nozkowski
Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (9-10), 2012, oil on linen on panel, 22 x 28 inches

Stanley Whitney
Stanley Whitney, Aura of the Sand Fall, 2014, oil on linen, 48 x 48 inches
Stanley Whitney
Stanley Whitney, Dance the Orange, 2013, oil on linen, 48 x 48 inches


These are all paintings that I absolutely love but could never make myself, and I absolutely love them because I could never make them. I don't do geometry. But what I love and find affinity with is the hand drawn human element, the imperfect geometry. Not to mention the wonderful surface tension, color and line (of course). It's a juicy, vibrant combination, as Mary Heilmann puts it, of "Albers and deKooning in the same painting." Of all these artists, Amy Sillman clearly references the body more than the others, but that's also why I love her work so much. Her blatant gesture combines figuration and abstraction in all the right ways. In certain pieces I can't help finding an affinity with (my first artist crush) painter Susan Rothenberg. 

Amy Sillman
Amy Sillman, Nut, 2011, oil on canvas, 91 x 84 inches

Amy Sillman
Amy Sillman, Junker, 2009, oil on canvas, 84 x 90 inches

Amy Sillman
Amy Sillman, Ich Auch, 2009, oil on canvas, 90.55 x 84.65 inches

Here is a great interview in BOMB magazine between Amy Sillman and R.H Quaytman where she talks more about the human element in her work.

Further looking and reading:
Sikkema, Jenkins & Co.
Art in America

Susan Rothenberg
Susan Rothenberg, 4 Kinds, 1991, oil on canvas, 52 x 88 inches

So maybe this would be the show...

Cordy Ryman
Thomas Nozkowski

Cordy RymanEric Sall
Thomas Nozkowski
Jason Karolak


Jason Karolak
Paul Behnke
Eric Sall

Paul Behnke
Amy SillmanJason Karolak
Amy SillmanMary Heilmann
Mary HeilmannStanley Whitney






January 20, 2016

artist of the week: Jason Karolak


Jason Karolak

Jason Karolak
Untitled (P-1203), 2012, oil on canvas, 76 x 86 inches


Further looking and reading:
Jason Karolak
Beer with a Painter
McKenzie Fine Art


Jason Karolak
Untitled (P-1301), 2013, oil on canvas, 85 x 75 inches

Jason Karolak
Untitled (P-1317), 2013, oil on canvas over panel, 15 x 13 inches

Jason Karolak
Untitled (P-1322), oil on canvas over panel, 15 x 13 inches

Jason Karolak
Untitled (P-1326), 2013, oil on canvas, 78 x 88 inches

Jason Karolak
Untitled (P-1327), 2013, oil on canvas, 57 x 50 inches

Jason Karolak
Untitled (P-1433), 2014, oil on linen 16 x 14 inches

Jason Karolak
Untitled (P-1434), 2014, oil on linen, 18 x 16 inches

Jason Karolak
Untitled (P-1503), 2015, oil on linen, 88 x 78 inches

Jason Karolak
Untitled (P-1510), 2015, oil on canvas, 46 x 40 inches

Jason Karolak
Untitled (P-1512), 2015, oil on canvas, 57 x 50 inches