Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Inspiration, Julie Mehretu and Lichtenstein

About two months ago, a friend decided to commission me to create a piece for his living room. The holidays happened, and two months later, his living room wall is still bare. It is not for lack of trying however: I have visited several museums, researched artists and had serious pencil to paper brain storming sessions.

I recall a similar day - without benefactors - during my first year of art school. I was set upon the task of creating a collage of acrylic and ink. I remember how beautiful the inspiration was and how much I disliked my recreation. Looking back, the scale was completely off, and I had not yet learned how to use painters tape! Keep in mind, it was my first 'painting' created in color theory class. The inspiration came from works similar to Julie Mehretu. Until recently, her pieces had all but escaped my memory. SFMOMA brought them back.

I stood in front of her work in the SFMOMA for ten minutes; pen, moleskin and DSLR in hand. I attracted attention from both foreigners and guards. Why was this girl standing SO close to Julie's piece? Surely there must be something interesting she is examining.

I sat in front of Mehretu's piece examining her techniques, attempting to identify her inspiration and her process. Of course, this was explained in the little white caption floating on the wall, but its more fun to figure it out on your own. Her piece in the SF MOMA was inspired by architectural grade mylar, the lines that sit on them, and building plans... I saw weather patterns, topographical and city maps. I was, however, able to identify the materials use and her process.... and it now something I would like to attempt (again).

Another artist I have been contemplating gathering inspirations from has been Lichtenstein. Mehretu and Lichtenstein both share a quality of exactness and preparedness when creating their pieces. They are well thought out and executed with an incredibly high level of craftsman ship. My friend Sam is a computer programmer, it only makes sense I create something in his living room that is in line with his analytical thought process.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The decade in review

Thinking about the new year....

Last Thursday, NYE, I was sitting at dinner discussing what great strides technology and science has made in the last ten years. Up to that point, I had been treating this NYE celebration just like any other. I had forgotten that we weren't just ringing in another year, we were ringing in another decade. Saying good bye to the past ten years and hello to the next decade, I think it is important to observe how far we have come since 2000.

For starters, Y2K did NOT happen, computers did reset themselves, and my mothers disaster relief kit is still sitting in our basement in Michigan. We did, however, experience Katrina, an event that we are still recovering from. Since 2005 designers have been pumping out innovative designs for disaster relief, ranging from prefab housing to water filters to temporary toilets.

In 2004 (the year I graduated from high school), the fashion and photography world lost the very influential Richard Avedon. In 2009, his photographs graced the walls of the SFMOMA, ranging from his early work as a child to his trend setting images of Twiggy to his digital photographs of Barack Obama when he was still the Senator of Illinois.

Speaking of Barack Obama, not only did the man inherit of one the worst economies we have seen since 1929, but he was the first black President. Part of his innovative campaign was to involve young voters, those who wanted 'change'. Never before have the youth been so engaged, never before has a presidential campaign been absorbed in popular media. Obama's face graced the shirts of thousands of tee's, posters, and his voice was even sampled into hip hop songs.

One event that will never escape anyone's memory are the attacks on the twin towers. Airport security has been redesigned, a color coded terrorism meter has been instated, and trips to the air port will never be the same. Everything now is 'travel sized', and many beauty retailers supply essential product kits that fit under the liquid air travel limit.

On a happier note, the i phone has changed people lives. A decade ago, wide spread touch technology was stuff of the future. Now, with the stroke of your finger, you can find the best restaurant in any city and, with the help of google maps, travel there as if you were a local. I dont want to dive too heavily into technology, but Google, Facebook, and Twitter are of note, as they have become life altering companies.

In my own life, I have graduated from middle school, high school, the University of Michigan, and got my first job out of college at the Clorox Company. Moving to San Francisco has been one of the best decisions I have made: I am in the heart of the technological movement, surrounded by creative minds, and live in the city rated #1 for love....

Happy New Year!