Sunday, September 11, 2016

Beware Of Art Scammers!

I hate the promotion part of art making, as I suspect many artists do. Even if you have financial backing, like an agent or a gallery, being an artist is tough. It's also disheartening when people try to scam you out of your blood sweat and tears. 

I'm sure many of my fellow artists out there have been hit with something similar to this scam, but in case you haven't, here is it. It has the same feel as the mysterious Nigerian Lawyer who contacts me from time to time about my unknown "billionaire uncle/aunt/cousin that made a killing in the construction business, but died suddenly, and with no living heirs, I am somehow the recipient of this said unknown uncle's fortune." 

Here is how it unfolded.

Starts of innocent enough. But immediately my BS meter is starting to twitch. First the name, Rob Smith. I know it's a legit name for millions of men, but still, it's TOO generic. Second, every piece on my website is listed as either "Private Collection" or "Price Available Upon Request." But maybe he just skimmed over the paintings and didn't really look. It happens. So my reply was this:

To which he replied:

Now the BS meter is in the yellow/orange border. Either this motherfucker can't read or, it's a scam. Why must I do extra leg work for you Rob? My website is user friendly and VERY easy to understand, just give it a look, take some notes on which ones you like, see if they are available, then inquire about the price. 

How difficult is that? 
But still, I gave Rob the benefit of the doubt:

His reply:

Now I know it's scam.

I could have unleashed a flurry of hate and fucks and such, but I kept it classy. And guess what "Rob's" response was? Silence. Nada. If this person was legit, they would understand my position and make proper arrangements if they REALLY wanted a painting.

This next one, isn't really a scam, but it's definitely shady.

Sounds interesting, but why would I pay Artblend money to work with them?  Artblend "sincerely welcomes the opportunity to work with you" but I would have to pay YOU money in order to do so?

Y'all contacted me!!!!

A day or so later, they followed up with this:

So what, I'm just "Dear Artist" now? 
No more "Hi Jeff?" I thought I meant something to you guys!
Again, why do I have to pay money to sell work with you?

And what are their "prices and discount plans?"

Are you fucking kidding me? 

Again, this isn't exactly a scam, but it does raise some major red flags with me. And yet, there are over 50 represented artists on the Artblend website. Which means Artblend is doing quite well. Maybe their artists are doing well, but I don't recognize any names, and the work, in all honesty, is really just "Meh." But good luck to them.

Anyhow, be on the lookout for scammers kiddies, and if you have any experiences with art scammers, let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

September Unicorn Of The Month: Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz
The work I make isn’t exactly for everyone. Or maybe it is. Maybe it’s just the idea that the “everyone” that I’m talking about is not the “everyone” that is counted as important. Maybe its because I’ve made work about the folks we don’t see… the chambermaids in hotels or the inner city mother of three that is thrown in a tizzy because she can’t seem to get a cab for her and her kids.

A shot from the "Porcela Reina, Queen Series" Performance.
A shot from the "Porcela Reina, Queen Series" Performance.

I have built my artistic career by creating works that investigate notions of otherness as a Latina in the US. Starting from personal experiences, I set out to dissect aspects of my heritage from varying points of entry- from within my own family, home, neighborhood, intersecting Latino cultures. These investigations in turn, became larger studies on otherness as a whole in American culture. 

In regard to her Queen Series she says,
"Each royal archetype is created as a physical manifestation of specific personal anxieties. Through their creation I aim to untangle the complexities of these fears, attempt to understand why I have them, and why I've come to revere them."
Bargain Basement Sovereign.
Bargain Basement Sovereign #3.
"This is My Crown" India Ink on Latex.

Video Performance: "Bargain Basement Sovereign (Queen Series)"

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz is also a teacher at University of Central Florida in Orlando. More of Wanda's work can be seen on her Website, Instagram, Facebook, and her Youtube Channel.

Monday, August 01, 2016

August Unicorn Of The Month: Amy Fleming

Amy Fleming
I spend a lot of time in the woods near my home in north Florida, digging through old dump sites and collecting bones after deer hunting season ends. There is often a theme to the discards I find out there: a toaster next a coffee percolator and a shot up refrigerator, or a busted up typewriter with a ruined time clock, maybe a side view mirror and a piece of a car horn. There are plenty of interesting discards around the city as well: broken bird baths, vintage floor waxers, and damaged toys left on the curb to be either rescued by my pick up truck or carried off by city services, whoever gets there first.

I pull these things out of the ground and off of the curb, and imagine the stories behind them. Sometimes my own stories find their way in. I continually revisit themes from past work to further expand them as I delve deeper into the meanings of discarded and recovered objects and materials. 

Favorite items occur and reoccur, such as a shot up refrigerator, banged up vehicles, smashed household appliances. Imagery cycles through depicting objects, to taking rubbings from the objects, to using the objects themselves, and back to depiction. If it’s banged up, damaged, rusted, or been through a few fires, I’m interested in it.

More of Amy's work can be seen on her Website.

Friday, July 01, 2016

July Unicorn Of The Month: Zachary J. Williams

I am not sure long how I will be back in California, but most likely, I will be returning to Shanghai in the fall. Until then, I have this fantastic studio here in the Landpark area of Sacramento. A special thank you to Darling Neath for letting me use the former studio of Laureen Landau.

So much room! Weeee!
Track lighting!
Patching these up.

Much more soon. 

Zachary J. Williams 
 Crazy for God. Oil on canvas. 80” x 64”

My work is an exploration of the many absurdities of modern American political and social life, spanning religious and economic motivations underlying aggressive American nationalism, to the numbing epidemic of gun violence, to the hypnotic cacophony of the real and the imagined.

Bedtime Bear. Oil on panel. 20” x 30”
These works illustrate a literal fragmentation of societies. With each painting, I confront and plead with my viewers’ emotional state, to provoke a dialogue surrounding the obstacles, illusions, and uncertainties of our environmental future.
After Dark. Oil on canvas. 40” x 28”
Too Many Puppies. Oil on linen. 50” x 60”
The Oceans Wide. Oil on canvas. 24” x 78”
Angry Bombs. Oil on Panel. 15 1/2" X 19 1/4"
More of Zach's work can be viewed on his Website, Facebook Page, and Instagram.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

June Unicorns Of The Month: Jiba Molei Anderson & Lorraine Heller-Nicholas

Jiba Molei Anderson
Comics truly have the ability to touch people across the globe. Comics know no boundaries; they are truly democratic. A good story educates. A good story inspires. A good story transcends race and culture because comics, unlike other forms of entertainment, are a personal experience. 

My work examines the root of the superhero, mythology, thereby taking an esoteric approach to the genre. Mythology allows me to craft a story featuring people with abilities that though they use those powers for good, they are still subjected to the same feelings and frustrations we all have living in these modern times.

The worlds I create are populated with characters from multiple cultures, which reflect our diverse reality. From my original creations like The Horsemen to The Song of Lionogo: An Indian Ocean Mythological Remix, which I developed for the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, I create positive visions of heroes of various ethnicities performing amazing feats of courage and bravery, instilling a sense of wonder and pride to the viewer. 

My work is defined by pop culture. From Alphonse Mucha to Frank Frazetta, from comic books and animation to “Grindhouse” films, these “low-brow” creations sparked my imagination. Their bold and shameless design and marketing aesthetic inspire the way that I make images and bring my message to the masses… And they are a lot of fun.

More of Jiba's work can be seen on his Website, his Twitter page, Facebook, Blog, and his publishing company Griot Enterprises.

Lorraine Heller-Nicholas 

Couple Stalking. 2014-2015. Acrylic On Paper.

I have been looking at representations of romance, innocence and the concept of ‘possibility’ in contemporary culture. Previous work has examined the representational mechanics (particularly in cinema and television) governing the depiction of romantic love and how it can sour. As this work evolves, I am becoming increasingly fascinated with how these images contrast with real-life romantic experiences where arguments are rarely romantic.

Loves Me, Loves Me not. 2010. Digital Print.

Love Story. 2012. Ink On Paper.

Of all popular narrative forms, Romance is perhaps the one we experience most poignantly and personally. Regardless of whether we have felt intense feelings of romantic love or not, we are encouraged to yearn for it, from chocolate commercials to music videos. Yet despite the emphasis upon the individual’s experience of romance, the stories are often similar, and stories of romance are spoken of as a universal theme; crossing language, distance and culture.

Precious Little One. 2005. Digital Print.

Romance Writers Phrasebook. 2014. Pen On Canvas.

I have a cross-disciplinary practice, which includes drawing, print, digital and animation. I studied animation and imaging at RMIT as a Bachelor of Arts - Media Arts and drawing, painting, printmaking at Swinburne as part of a Diploma of Visual Arts. Since I started exhibiting in 2001, my work has been shown around Australia, as well as in the US, Taiwan, Iceland, China, Brazil, Germany and Singapore. I have previously completed residencies in Taipei, Shanghai, Iceland and in Australia.

More Lorraine's work can be seen on her WebsiteInstagramTumblrTwitterFacebook,  and a selection of video work below.
Advice to those in love, 2005
Loves Me, Loves Me Not, 2010/12

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

April Unicorns Of The Month: Annika Connor & Nicholas Papadakis

I know, you missed me.

The residency is China over, the paintings are back in America, my vacation in Bali was glorious, and Art Basel Hong Kong was a blast. Special thank you to Scott Dietrich and Isaac Leung at Videotage for the hospitality while I was in Hong Kong.

SAIC Alumni reunited at Art Basel HK.

I will post an update about the China Paintings soon, but for now, it’s time to bring back something I started in July of 2015, Unicorns Of The Month! 

Not only are Annika and Nick accomplished artists, they just published a gorgeous art book called 
Point Suite.

If you’re a lover of books, art books especially, you should really pick this up. The easiest way is through Amazon but if you’re old school, you can visit these various bookstores to see the publication for yourself:

420 King St.
Charleston, SC 29403

Los Angeles:
1407 Ocean Front Walk
Venice, CA 90291

San Francisco:
50 Second St.
(Between Market & Mission)
San Francisco, CA 94105

1400 18th Street (at Missouri)
San Francisco, CA 94107
415 255-8802

599 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

900 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

Annika Connor
Marilyn Multiplied. Watercolor On Board.

Her work depicts a fascination with beauty and decadence. The paintings portray fragments from a daydream and a longing for a time of romance and pleasure.

In 2002, Connor received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied painting and philosophy. Connor has worked professionally as a painter in New York, London, and Stockholm. 
Camus. Watercolor On Board.
Colette. Watercolor On Panel.

In 2006, Connor founded Active Ideas Productions as a means to explore ideas outside of the studio. 
Today Active Ideas Productions is an innovative artist-run organization committed to the education and development of emerging artists and the art community. Connor is currently based in Brooklyn where she maintains an active studio. 

More of her work can be seen on her Website, Facebook Page, Instagram, and Twitter.

Nicholas Papadakis
Precession. Oil On Panel.

The works in Nicholas Papadakis’ ongoing series of metaphorical portrait paintings strive to capture signature moments in the lives of people with whom he’s familiar. These moments that flash or recognition remind us of the individual’s unique charm (and often times reveal life-changing states of mind) are ultimately expressions of universal human qualities.

Gilded Age. Pigment and Gold On Panel.

In his attempt to explain these archetypes through metaphor, he has chosen to represent each vignette as a montage rather than a literal portrait; by layering imagery culled from the public domain along with his own drawings and photography, Papadakis shows his intention to introduce as much shared reference as possible while still retaining the original portraits that are both familiar and unique.

The final synthesis as transparent glaze oil paintings solidifies these ideas for Papadakis into a seamless whole. By translating the entire original source material into one medium, and residual contextual barriers are removed: the result being a unified vision that transcends even the brush strokes.

More of his work can be seen on his Website and Instagram.