Lazy Art

ArtDeath – KunstMord Short Film

Photography is a fun hobby, but it’s been taking a side-seat to short film and video production. My first coherent attempt is called ArtDeath – KunstMord. It’s a bit of a self-reflection piece, centered on the idea that the artists is driven to destroy their work, and in doing so set their spirit free to create again. I don’t know where this came from, but it’s a theme I’ve been building in my brains, and 1 Day of Art Copenhagen put things into context for me. I’m a lover a visual media, and it seems totally natural to present a painting as a concept in a short film instead of just in a gallery. The painting is just a container for the ideas and feelings of the viewer and of the artist. Film gives the artist another pallet to work with in displaying the work. Essentially I want to take the content of paintings, including the background story of how the work was created, and package that together into short films. At the point the term video poetry comes to mind, and I see short films in my head which are a mix a visuals, poetry vocals, and the correct imagery. Of course, implementing this is naturally had to do until you know what you’re doing. My first attempt was Gonzo Art – I: a short film all about my Gonzo Art painting with vocals connected to the writing I added to the painting.


I had had the idea for ArtMord (or KunstDeath) for a while but time was short, so I shot the film with my girlfriend over a few nights time and used such innovative production equipment as a skateboard dolly with my NEX-VG10 attached with a Manfrotto super clamp. This had the nice effect of not being totally stable while rolling on my hardwood floors, and added a nice vibration to the footage, which fit in nicely with the tension I wanted to build in the film. Naturally it’s up to the viewer to decide if this worked or not.

I added my Big Blue Beast chainsaw to the mix, as I like the idea of mass and loud destruction on an artistic scale. I don’t think the machine actually works, but it was irrelevant as I used music to simulate the beast getting fired up. In the future I envision a flamethrower, but I’ll need a real place to work in, like an actual industrial space or studio instead of my apartment. For the soundtrack I used GarageBand with my own vocals, modified of course, to sound like high-pitched youth. It somehow mixes better with the back-beats than my natural voice (or so I thought at the time). It’s like when I do portraits and I want to add a texture layer, somehow it just makes everything mix better together, like baking a cake or cooking an Indian curry for dinner.

ArtDeath-KunstMord Film

Tweeting the Gonzo Art Creation

On Monday evening I had lighting strike of inspiration hit my head. First, I turned off 300 on my computer, then I finished reviewing changes to a research paper, and then I decided to Tweet the creation process of a painting. The idea was, I’d take pictures at different intervals and then post them to my social networks including Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. Since they’re all tied together, I just send it all to Tumblr and the updates were forwarded to the other accounts. I don’t know if this was a good idea, or if it just seemed like it should have been a good idea at the time, but it seemed like an idea, and so I followed through with the plan. I like Facebook for networking and Twitter is cool to get an overview on trends, but I’d never attempted to harness these things to broadcast a message of creation. However, after downing a red bull, everything seemed possible, so I pulled out a canvas and manga markers and started writing some things and sketching out a large head.

Mortal Lust

I can’t say for sure what was going through my head, but I wanted to start small, and wrote, “all the things you long to forget” on one side of the canvas. After some fun with the manga markers and using a stencil to write out MORTAL LUST – or was it before? Well, at some point early in the process I added the line, “It’s distasteful to think that every day should be special and beautiful. That you must enjoy life just because the sun warms your face with love before giving you skin cancer.” I don’t know where this line came from, possibly from a journal entry or maybe it was the red bull twisting my mind. In any event, I decided that the large head needed some fire coming out of the mouth and that it would also need to be green at some point.

I like using manga markers on canvas. It’s something about the way that the fabric soaks up the ink. With these markers you can go back and blend two colors together, so I’ll start with a base color for the edge of the flame, and then fill and blend it with a lighter color on the interior. It’s like taking all the fun of Photoshop and transplanting the experience to 3D reality. This also gives off a lot of vapor, and possibly this inspired me to write, “Shaman set me free” in the corner of the canvas. This all formed the basis for the painting, and I decided that it was now time to retire to the paint-throwing wing of my apartment, and get to work blending colors together. So I tapped up the plastic that had fallen down in my painting room and setup the canvas on the floor. I was barefoot of course, because that’s the best way to paint.

I made it point, when I moved into my place, to not buy any furniture. People move into places and buy stuff and then the whole space is filled up with useless places to sit and relax. Fuck that I thought, I want a laboratory to create in. So I left a room connecting to the photo studio mainly empty, and eventually covered the floor and walls with plastic to throw paint around in. Now that I’ve ben in to painting for a year or so I’m getting a collection of works. I’ll either need to hang them all up, or sell them, or just destroy the basterds with a chainsaw at some point. But, until that time I’ll stick with creating paintings. I’ll call this piece Gonzo Art II, or maybe Mortal Art, or whatever. Names can be so meaningless without a proper context. As I said, I had the bright idea to tweet the creation process and uploaded the images to my Tumblr account, which then filtered to Facebook and Twitter. I don’t know if this had a positive impact on the world, but it was a fun experiment, and all the images can be enjoyed here below.

Gonzo Kanto Speakers on Talenthouse

I was looking through my Facebook and saw that Jennifer Chalbaud, a designer I had met through Talenthouse had submitted to the Kanto AV speaker Creative Invite, and that it was ending in 6 hours. I had a vision for a second, and wondered what it would be like to combine Lazy Art IV and Gonzo Art in a speaker design. It seemed fitting, to take the art created from 1 Day of Art Copenhagen, and see how it would work when applied to product design. I got back to my place around 5:30pm and had until 7pm to submit my design. After screwing around with SketchUp and a dxf file in Adobe Illustrator for 30 minutes I decided to go back to what I know and started making layers and masking in Photoshop. The result might scare some people, but I would buy one.

I started off with a white Kanto speaker box from Talenthouse…it’s a nice simplistic design, speakers on the front, clean lines, contoured sides and curves, something very clean and sexy. At this point, one could go with a minimalistic design to complement the form of the product, or go in the opposite direction and create something that dominates, both in color and form. I decided on impulse to go with the latter approach, and in my mind grafted two paintings onto the Kanto…

My favorite painting from 1 Day of Art went on the front, using the lower section of the patinting, which includes passages of writing, and this flows upwards with the Basquiat-Alien inspired head. I wanted somthing else for the top though, and decided to go with Lazy Art IV, which is sort of a universe view, with lots of color combinations running into one another. The paintings are sort of inspired from music, visions in the head, so it made sense to combine them with a speaker design. The final design is on Talenthouse at…Design for limited edition Kanto speakers

Heading to 1 Day of Art in Copenhagen

Strange and interesting opportunities come to those that seek them out. That’s the a sequence of words which come into mine when I pondered the email I had received from Talenthouse, stating in clear and unclutterd language that my Lazy Art submission had won me a trip to Copenhagen to participate in the 1 Day of Art event from (t)here Magazine.

Talenthouse is a social-networking website for creatives. I joined it a year or so ago, and eventually started adding to my online portfolio. It has a slick interface and is designed to be a very socially-oriented website. It’s like Flickr with the visual feeling of DeviantArt and something that no other website I know of offers, the opportunity to submit work to Creative Invites. It’s like this, a company organizes an invite, users submit their work, the sponsor picks the winners, and in my case, it means a flight to Copenhagen and a free license to go crazy creating art for an issue of (t)here magazine.

I submitted three pieces from my Lazy Art collection of 1mx1m paintings. These are graffiti inspired splatter feats of madness I do in my apartment from time to time. I started painting because it’s more fun than playing on Photoshop, and a billion times more interesting than screwing around on Facebook or watching MTV. Getting to do this in Copenhagen is sort of like a weird dream sequence. I don’t know what will happen there, but I’m heading into the future with an open mind and soul filled with desire to experience the unknown.

lazy art number oneThe premise of 1 Day of Art Copenhagen is straight forward. I fly to Copenhagen, there’s a bunch of other artists, photographers, etc. who will be there as well. We blindly pick an editorial assignment, and then have 24 hours to create a body of work on that mysterious subject. Here’s the official out line of events from (t)here magazine:

On October 1, 2010, artists of all disciplines will gather in COPENHAGEN for a one day creative event – 1 DAY OF ART. In this premier (t)here magazine concept – photographers, writers, visual artists, designers, and musicians will participate in an undisclosed editorial assignment. Our participants will gather in one location where they will randomly draw their assigned subject. Their subsequent content must be executed in one day, and executed within the city limits of Copenhagen. All files and relevant materials are due 24 hours later

The results will be published in (t)here Volume 13, due for release in SPRING 2011.

To be honest, this is balls to the wall scary for me because I don’t have any clue what’s coming, and I run the risk of making a fool of myself on the world stage. It’s also barrel-of-monkies fun, the type of trip I was born to go on. When fear and the thought of falling on my face creep up my spine, I look inward to setting my mind. I look at it like mountaineering. No sane person can head into the mountains without thinking they could die. Or, I think that’s the only responsible way to mountaineer. This sort of mindset keeps your senses alert and sharp, even when you’ve been out for 10 hours and your legs are shaking on the rock edge of a long ridge. You keep going because there’s no other option, and that’s my mindset for Copenhagen, head into the adventure without much of a plan, but all the disrespect for failure my sarcastic personality can muster.

There are a few things – philosophies if you will, that work for me in life. It starts with accepting that I may die on each mountaineering trip, welcoming that I’ll probably fail at whatever I start out doing, and believing that that inevitable failure means absolutely nothing. This method has served me well so far in life. It means I’ll try nearly anything, including walking into a cloud of tear gas, just to see what it will feel like (it’s like cooking too many onions in a kitchen with the window closed) and even if I do screw up along the way, I’m not blocked from going forward and living an interesting life. I know this comes off as sounding a little arrogant, but I’m a vented Doktor of Science, and assure you that I’m the first to admit when I’m spewing nonsense from my lips.

I would like to officially thank Talenthouse(t)here Magazine, and Hotel Fox for making this adventure possible. I don’t know what will happen next, but my senses are alert, and I’m geared in the head to find out what will materialize from this interesting course of events.

Lazy Art IV

Lazy Art IV (my last painting) is a combination abstract splatter and writing I did one fine Sunday this summer instead of heading to Art Basel. I like the chaos of colors mixed with the consusion of words, so I tapped off a few areas and added text I had worked up while brainstorming about the ArtMord concept. KusntDeath is sort of a mix of themes from Fight Club and Jean-Michel Basquiat with a little Hunter S. Thompson and Beethoven thrown into the mix. It’s a 1x1m canvas and done on the cheap with latex paints and sponge brushes and a roller. Don’t ask me technical questions like what texture I used or the philosophy behind my brush strokes, because I’m the last person to anything about such topics. I paint because something is unhinged inside my head and some comfort comes from mixing random colors together. I would like to be one of those methodic painters who looks for the perfect color, mixes their own paints and has a vision in mind before putting brush to canvas, but that’s not what I’m into at the moment. My painting style is born of sketching in math class and manipulating colors and tones in Photoshop to mimic the feeling of graffiti I see on the streets of Berlin, Zurich, and Detroit.

The Process

At one time when I started experimenting with painting I had the idea to sketch out and color the painting concepts with manga markers. This failed horribly because without the large canvas in front of me I just don’t have the drive to create that sort of color and structure combinations that sort of explode from my brain when actually painting. Still, it’s nice to experiment, so this time I had a large sketch/art book with me and I used it to try out the roller and paint splatters alongside painting the actual canvas. This worked out extremely well, because I had the freedom to quickly try some color combinations and then jump back to the canvas and go crazy. Like always, I was painting in the “winter garden” room of my apartment. Plastic lined the floor and walls and I had near-total freedom to throw paint around without the worry of needing to repaint my white walls later on. I guess I could also easily dispose of a body with a turkey cutter a-la that scene in Snatch like a London gangster. But I’m a calm and non-violent person, so I’ll stick to throwing paint. Blood splatters don’t interest me.

The Fear

I’d like to be clear on this point, I love painting large canvases with random colors for the experience. I liken it to multi-pitch sport climbing routes, writing, or to mountaineering. I like starting with a blank page, and being scared that it will look worse when I’m finished. It’s like looking up a long rock ridge and your mind telling you to turn back. It urges you to return to the false safety of organized society and sends fear waves up your spine as you jump over crevasse openings. Ignore the fear, that premonition of failure and demise. It’s just your natural response to doing something dangerous, either in the world or in your mind. I don’t think of conquering fear, I like to walk along side it like old friends. We trade words back and forth before I jump off the platform of a rope park or let my feet dance over the edge of rock ridges.

I like to stand above a blank canvas and ponder the next step. The mind tells me to not even start, exit the room and go back to my computer and watch something on MTV. I say, “fuck you, I’ll take my chances.” Fear is a suggestion, something built into the DNA to protect foolish people from hurting themselves physically or emotionally. Don’t take it too seriously. The fear crops up in many places and sometimes unannounced. It might be there when you ask a girl out, do a presentation, climb a new route, jump out of a plane, apply for a new job or walk into a room full of people you’ve never met before. I paint because of the desire for a little adrenaline rush on a rainy Sunday afternoon, or just to see what come from it. Why did you take the picture? Becasue I wanted to see what it would look like.

ArtCast Painting – Lazy Art III

lazy_art_iiiMy experiments in Lazy Art paintings and ArtCasting are continuing (the first being Lazy Art II), we’ll call this one Lazy Art III. for the ArtCast I used more music from Kevin Mcleod, an original lazy artist would have picked something besides the Danse Macabre, but to be honest it’s the type of music with those specific rythems which play in my head, and moves in perfect time with my emotions, perfectly describing the mood in my head when I start mixing paint and get ready for an episode of splattering a nice boring white canvas with color. So, from a documentary perspectives, it seeme like I should maintain that authenticity for the audience. This piece of Lazy Art has influences from Zurich Graffiti, specifically the combination of abstract flow set against bits of rectangular geometry. The geometric patterns were planned to a certain extent, I put down some tape and then removed it before the final splatter fest. Amazingly, the ceiling of my apartment is not covered with small dots of green, red, and matte gold.

As a Photoshop-trained painter, I’m still slightly annoyed at the idea that I can’t add a levels and curves adjustment layer set to my Lazy Art while painting. My eyes naturally want to start adding a bit of smart sharpening, push the overall exposure, and increase the dark tone levels to get the colors my mind wants to see. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. I do these manipulations on the final image take with my Minolta 7D and Sony macro lens. I do some adjustments in Photoshop, then tweak the final exposure in Adobe Lightroom before exporting to Flickr. Is the painting the final product, or simply a template? The next step is to rent a Sony A900 and photograph my Lazy Art experiments with my 50mm tack-sharp macro lens. Then I’ll have a nice 24 megapixel image with fantastic sharpness and dynamic range to work with. From there I’ll have total control over color, saturation, and sharpness, but with the basic chaos of abstract painting. Printing would naturally be done on canvas or Hahnemühle German Etching Paper. Does this kill the idea of a real painting? The type where everything is done on the canvas, you know, like in real photography where everything is done in-camera without post-processing manipulation? Fortunately, I could care less what it means. I hunt colors and abstract images in my head and on the streets I walk in the world. The process of getting the perfect abstract shape-color combination is irrelevant.

Artcast Experiment – Lazy Art II

Lazy_Art_III love photography, I love Photoshop, I love the freedom to create and define a vision from my head. But there’s always that separation, that feeling of disconnection between the tool (cameras, lenses, lights, computers) and the vision (the one from my head). So it was logical step to say, screw it one day. At a shop in Zurich I found 1 x 1 meter square canvases and at the home improvement store I found latex paint for less than 7 CHF per 500 ml. I few more franks went to brushes and plastic to cover a room of my Winterthur apartment and protect my security deposit. I traded my Wacom tablet and Photoshop for the ability to splatter paint as I pleased without the “undo” button.

Music stopped in the background and I realized why artists go mad…because, what’s more frustrating than painting a black stroke when in your head you know it should’ve been green? NOTHING! Nothing compares to the idea that you start with a pure white nothingness and from nothing, without barely a forethought or premonition comes, something. That something is undefined and unknowable and abstract and everything that a fool can hope for when the mind is empty.

I documented the evolution of my Lazy Art with my Minolta 7D and a Sony 50mm macro lens. Lighting provided via a Sunpak 383 in a small Alzo softbox. The result is an Artcast, an experiment in communicating and showing the evolution of the vision from the first to last color addition. Music brings the madness, and this addition seemed appropriate.