February 23, 2010

An Elephant for Elephant.

A few weeks ago, Waylon approached me at elephant’s Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art Open Wall event, where I had a painting on display, and asked if I would be interested in blogging for elephant on topics of art and culture. Initially hesitant, due to my lackluster writing style, Waylon reassured me this would be an informal platform where editorial judgment is kept to a minimum. In his trademark relaxed manner he said, “I hate exclamation points, but other than that, you can pretty much write however you want.” To this I immediately replied, “Wow! Sounds great! Can’t wait to get started!”

Writing to all of you Elephant Journal readers about gallery openings, noteworthy artists, and local art events seems easy enough… but talking about my own artwork is one of the perks of this gig. So for my first post, I thought it would be fitting to talk about one of my oldest, and most popular pieces, the “Teapot Elephant.”

Teapot Elephant, 1997

In typical self-deprecating artist fashion, I’ll admit to you that this drawing really irritates me.

It’s become my one-hit wonder, and I can’t seem to convince anyone that the body of work I’ve produced since its creation 12 years ago serves a greater purpose in the world than my so called “cuddly M.C. Escher rip-off.”

Don’t get me wrong, from a technical standpoint, it’s quality work to be proud of, but this piece is cursed by what I suspect strikes fear in the hearts of all struggling artists—maternal adoration. That’s right, people; my mother loves this drawing. Of course I’m not insinuating it’s a bad thing for parents to be proud of their children’s artwork, but trust me when I say my mom’s taste in fine art peaks with the likes of Thomas Kinkade and Mary Engelbreit.

Man, what a total downer for someone who thought they were more aligned with the artistic genius of Frida Khalo and Alphonse Mucha.

It might surprise some of you to hear me blast a piece of my own artwork, but I assure you there is a method to my madness. In fact, allow me to let you in on a little secret: there are many reasons you will hear artists complain about their finished products, but here are a few from my personal arsenal:

1) I am an artist, and therefore afraid of criticism, so to protect myself from your harsh words I will beat you to the punch line.

2) Pent-up resentment towards a piece of artwork I’ve suffered over, enables me to sell the original to a sleazy bar owner for a mere $100, who then hangs it on the wall above the men’s urinal.

3) After three or four months of no sleep, a diet consisting of chocolate chip cookie dough, cold oatmeal & Nyquil, and a $700 hospital bill from a rabid squirrel attack, sometimes you just need something to bitch about.

Well, there you have it, a swift introduction to the art universe as I’ve come to know it.

Next time, I promise to highlight something my mother would totally disapprove of.

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