“A LOT OF MY WORK IS ABOUT SALES”

The above quote is by artist Jeff Koons. I was introduced to Koons’ work a long time ago, like 15 years ago. Have you ever seen his balloon dog sculptures? Or his Michael Jackson and Bubbles sculpture exhibited at the Château de Versailles? Anyways, his pop art antics have been been something I’ve been aware of for a very long time. Most recently I was able to rent the entire “Art: 21” PBS series at my local library. I love that show and I suggest everyone, not just artists, watch them!

Of course, there was a snippet on Koons. I don’t recall seeing his segment before, so watching it now, so many years later, put his work into context for me. I realized I have a lot less respect for Koons than I thought I did. His “art” really is based on sales. First of all, his “Art: 21” segment is a full on behind-the-scenes look at how his work is produced. Let me spoil it for you- Koons’ artwork is not created/produced by Koons’. He has a workroom full of assistants (it’s not clear if they’re paid or not) who do everything from create custom paints, transfer his digital images to paint-by-number style paintings and paint them as well, to airbrushers who paint his balloon/inflatable sculptures. I was able to find his full “Art: 21” clip on YouTube; it was this clip that made me realize he’s full of , well, poo. Here are some terrible cell phone images of the most recent painting I did for a local art show, “Grayscale: A Black & White Art Show”.

The painting is 18″ x 24″ with a collage base of torn paper strips and many washes and layers of acrylic and matte medium. I think my painting went over the heads of a lot of people. Is Koons’ not as prominent a figure as I thought he was? I know his heyday was many years ago, but his orange balloon dog sculpture just sold for over $58 million dollars last year. FIFTY-EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS… let that sink in… and if you watched that YouTube video of him explaining the motives behind his art, let that sink in too. Here’s a link to his interview on “The Colbert Report”. I think he was there to promote Studio in A School, which after checking out their website and mission statement, I’m all for it, but I couldn’t get past the fact that Koons’ replies and demeanor seemed so rehearsed. I also wonder just how involved he really is in that organization. That aside, hearing Koons’ speak about his “art” diminishes the perceived value of his work for me and my respect for him as an artist. I’d love to hear any opposing point of view of him, if there’s any out there- I’m completely open to discussion about art, the nature in which it’s produced and how it’s promoted.

Next order of business: I’ll be selling some zines tomorrow (Saturday May 17th) during North Park Festival of Arts- taking advantage of some foot traffic. The map of my location is below; if you know North Park San Diego at all, Landis/30th street isn’t far at all. I’m just trying to raise some funds for a new printer and prep for some upcoming zine events!

North Park map

Finally, last weekend was a really productive weekend! I had initially planned on only starting 3 collages and ended up finishing 7 with 3 in the works!

A collage of snippets of 5 separate collages!

A collage of snippets of 5 separate collages!

All of this in preparation for my solo show at a local business in July (more details later), but next month I’ll be included in “Perfect 10”, a group art show in San Diego at La Bodega in Barrio Logan, which I’m really amped for! For one, I haven’t been in an art show in that neighborhood before- ever. Two, um, there’s like over 100 artists that’ll be included! Three- live music! How exciting 🙂

"Perfect 10"

Lastly, issue V of From Hell to Highwater will be printed at the end of May; the deadline’s come and gone, sorry ya’ll! I’m really excited to to put it all together and I’m really humbled by the interest in my lil zine. I started it without even thinking I’d get to an issue V, so a million thanks to all the kind words and submissions from friends and strangers alike ❤

One spoiler alert: issue V features an interview with Alice Bag, an inspiration and role model to many (especially ME). Buy her book here and check out this awesome performance from back in the day. Most importantly, if she’s doing a reading of her book, Violence Girl, in your hood, GO, because you won’t be disappointed.

That’s all for now, from the Uno Foto HQ in sunny (really sunny and HOT) SoCal! Until next time….

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