Saturday, October 01, 2016

October Unicorn Of The Month: Raul Mejia

Before understanding any of my art I feel you should know my reason, I was born in Mexico, Mexico City to be exact, I was brought here in my mother's arms across the border as an immigrant, “illegally”, whatever that means... Anyhow I have always lived in two worlds America and Mexico at home it was all Mexican as soon as I stepped out into the streets it was all American the contrast is pretty big so no wonder most my life I was confused and conflicted. My art comes from my roots in Mexico my branches in America both strive for the kind of freedom that America offers. My art is reflections of Mexico and America like my little girl Isla whom it seems I do it all for these days.

I'm an American citizen these days since the amnesty act in the 80’s introduced by Ronald Reagan, that has not changed my ideals or even my feelings towards people from other countries. I still believe that we're all people and we all want the same thing on that note I feel that there was a large gap between American and Mexican culture and art and so in my life I felt like they were always missing pieces to the big puzzle of feeling represented, Mexican hero’s were not represented in any textbook I read growing up.

As a Mexican American, I've always looked for artists musicians even actors to somehow represent me or somehow look up to as a role model, I didn't see many so I decided that I would be that missing piece that I would create the artwork that I feel would bridge that gap and I don't know if I am or am not successful but the process gives me peace of mind. I feel as though in someway it helps I think; maybe somewhere out there there's a kid that feels like I once did and now can look upon my work and see that there is a middle and we the underrepresented are beautiful, strong,empowered. 

I use line work because I am self taught with no formal training, just practice drawing and for whatever reason illustration’s are innate in me. I use wood panels with acrylic paint, I use panels because it’s lighter on the wallet and I want everyone to be able to afford my art. 

Lastly I am having a Dia De Los Muertos celebration October 22 at the Latino Cultural Center 2700 Front Street in Sacramento CA. 95818 from 7pm to 1am along with a Dia De Los Muertos coloring book release on Oct 1st!

More of Raul's work can be seen on his website, and his instagram account.

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