Tuesday, January 01, 2019

January Unicorn Of The Month: Galen Cheney

Optimist, oil, acrylic, and liquid textile color on collaged canvas, 63" x 68."

Painting is a sort of heartbreak. Initially there’s the seduction—the painting seems to paint itself and everything is working. Then, the veil slips and all the flaws are revealed, one by one, and I have to undo everything that I at first thought was so beautiful. This plays out again and again in each painting until something new pushes forward, hopefully stronger, stranger, unanticipated. And by flaws I don’t mean mistakes, for I think any strength my paintings may have is born of the accumulation of shifts in direction, which manifest as surfaces that are built up, scraped off, carved into, and built up again. The painting is a record of its making.

Return From Exile, acrylic and oil on collaged canvas, 72" x 56."
The Heart Knows What the Eye Can't See ... textile color on canvas, 56" x 65."

That physicality is intrinsic to these process-driven works. I have long been drawn to abandoned city walls given over to graffiti as well as to the peeling frescoes of Pompeii and ancient cave paintings. I relate to them both aesthetically as well as emotionally. The work I was doing previously more overtly related to contemporary graffiti. I have since stepped back from that, though I am still hooked on bright colors and the combination of slick and gritty surfaces.

Light Falls, textile color, acrylic and oil pastel on raw canvas, 40" x 36."
Limbic, oil, acrylic and paper on collaged canvas, 60" x 44."

I had never before felt so foreign or out of my element. I was in a heightened state and I put all of my expressive energy into my work. With papers bought and found I got to work. The most potent expression of my feeling of being unmoored and disconnected yet very alive was to rip, alter, and recombine what became small mountains of paper in my studio. This is when I began working in collage in earnest. I felt like I was in a kind of trance, and when I came out of it I not only had a whole new body of work, but a new way of working as well as a path forward.

My current work has everything to do with a residency I had in China three years ago. I went there with only a few pencils and a couple of my favorite ink brushes, as my intention was to explore the beautiful papers and inks that I would find there. Being in China was an eye-opening experience for me; I was one of very few westerners in this small city, and, apart from a few phrases, I spoke no Mandarin.

Optimist, oil, acrylic, and liquid textile color on collaged canvas, 63" x 68."
Untitled (Chartreuse) Textile color and oil on collaged canvas, 60" x 48."

When I got home I wanted to apply the ideas I had developed with paper in China to canvas and other textiles. I am still working in this way—ripping paintings up, collaging them back together, adding paper, pulling elements off, adding others. It is creatively rich and satisfying and I see no end in sight.

To see more Galen's work, visit her Website and Instagram Page. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

4 Holiday Events in Sacramento

It's been a great year, and the holiday season isn't quite over yet! Here are four events you can still consider attending with family or friends to continue celebrating the holiday season in Sacramento. If you're looking for a way to get around town safely, be sure to consider Party Bus Sacramento CA

It's always a good idea to enjoy yourself responsibly, during the holidays and the rest of the year.

December 29

Giggle Bells Holiday Improv at All Out Comedy Theater

There are two holiday themed improv shows, and tickets are around $10. The later show is more suitable for adults, while the earlier show is more family friendly. The intermission will have refreshments and appetizers. The show is based off of suggestions from the audience, so it's sure to be fun.

December 31 

NYE Bar Crawl at various locations in Sacramento

This New Years Eve bar crawl is going to be a memorable time. Wristbands are $30 which gives you access to five different bars in downtown Sacramento, free NYE swag, an appetizer buffet, champagne toast, and VIP viewing of the ball drop. The selected bars include Republic Bar & Grille, Streets Pub, Firestone Public, and Amourath Patio.

December 31

2018's Last Laughs at Punch Line Sacramento

Are you looking for a low key New Years event to attend with friends? Here's another awesome comedy show to check out! This show is celebrating the end of the year with eight different local comedians. Tickets are only $11.50, and they're sure to come with a lot of laughs.

December 31

Motown New Year's Party at LowBrau

Are you a fan of Motown? It's going to feel like Detroit in Sacramento at this New Years event. There will be two DJ's spinning hits from the Motown era. General admission is $25, and the $45 VIP tickets include bottle service, a bottle of champagne, appetizers, and access to the VIP bar.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

December Unicorn Of The Month: Jacob Fossum

Artist, teacher, musician, and one of my favorite figurative painters working today. I first met Jacob when we were studio mates at the original Verge Center For The Arts location at 19th and V in Midtown Sacramento. He is a highly skilled draftsman and storyteller and when I feel frustrated with a composition I'm working on, I ask myself, " How would Jacob solve this problem?" His work deals primarily with the uniqueness of personal experience and what is lost in translation.

The journey inward is much like Terrence McKenna’s description of the psychedelic experience: “It’s like building a bonfire bigger and bigger only to discover there’s an awful lot of darkness.” As a child raised in the Mormon faith I experienced a great sense of trauma when I came into my sexuality as a gay man.

I associated that trauma with a darkness, but I have since discovered the limitless creative potential in its exploration. My work is a response to the profundity and boundless complexities inherent in darkness, and results in a series of questions without answers. It is an infinite cycle of inquiry perpetuated by my creative process.

I create multiple bodies of work that draw from Non-duality, the New Age movement, and the Mystical experience. The process of creation and close observation induces a spiritual journey of form, color, and space rooted in the Biocentric Principle, in which external and internal perceptions are inextricably intertwined and inseparable. In this realm, truth exists only as self-realization, and the individual assumes the role of Shaman, Guru, Priest, Witch or Artist.

To view more of Jacob's work, check out his Tumblr, and Instagram Account.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

November Unicorn Of The Month: Enrique "Kike" Congrains

Like last months Unicorn, I met Kike this past July in New Orleans during Kolaj Fest. Often when I meet artists for the first time, there is this " too cool for school vibe." They watched footage of Warhol acting aloof and coy during interviews, and it seemed to work for Warhol, so they imitate it. But once they find out I'm also an artist, they instantly want to compare their exhibition history to mine own or blurt out EVERY project they are working on without taking a second to ask, "So how is your day going?" Kike was not one of these artists. Matter of fact, no one at Kolaj Fest had an attitude.

His first words to me, after I asked him what he was drinking, were, " I can't fucking believe I made it! I just got in from Peru, and I don't know where I'm sleeping tonight, but I'm so happy I'm here!" Even before I saw his work, that kind of enthusiasm let me know I had to find a spot for him here.

" My name is Kike (short for Enrique), I’m from Peru and I’m a self-taught artist. I come from a family of writers and always had and interest in telling stories. I started in collage as a hobby but slowly began taking over and now I’m a full-time collagist.

I wanted to combine the visual aspect of collage with my storytelling skills so I created a universe called Canson City, a fictional town where each collage is part of the mythology of the city, whereas is an illustrious citizen, an historical moment or customs and traditions each collage has its own short story that connects it to the city. I try to keep the stories short and funny, I write them as an improvisation exercise, just the first thing that comes to my mind after the piece is finished. "

(Rain) Historical moments file No. 19

True story: It's a rainy night in Canson City. A man walks into the city hall with a thermonuclear bomb in his jacket ready to detonate it and erase the city from the map. On the threshold of the building sees her, soaking wet. Then he decides to use the thermonuclear energy to dry her and walks her home. Quits terrorism, marries her, have children and no one dies. True story.

(Fishbones) illustrious citizens file No.27

Hidden in the watery depths of Canson City live the bubble fishboys, aquatic creatures that feed on bubbles produced by colorful deep-sea mollusks. The bubbles are collected and cooked in a variety of ways, among the most popular are bubble stew, bubbles in oyster sauce, crispy bubbles with roasted carrots, bubble casserole, bubble teriyaki, grilled bubbles with cucumber salad, bubble ceviche and bubble flan.

" I like to keep it colorful, I use cardstock paper as much as I use old magazines and I use knives more than scissors. "

To see more of his work, visit his Facebook Page, his IG Page, and on Behance.

Monday, October 01, 2018

October Unicorn Of The Month: Chelsea Dean

Faith Is Forged In The Unknown. 2017. Hand-cut photograph, watercolor, decorative paper, wood veneer, wall paper, foam core, and found objects from abandoned homesteads on panel. 12" x 14"

Chelsea Dean is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work embodies and embraces systems that erode. " For the past four years, I have been combing the Mojave Desert, wandering in and out of abandoned homesteads taking pictures and collecting artifacts. 

Faith Is Forged In The Unknown, detail.

These relics have served as reminders that someone used to occupy these once hopeful spaces. It’s here that I find myself drawn to the multitude of textures, colors, and patterns that live within the detritus."

You Can't Forget Me. 2018. Hand-cut photograph, metallic foil, etching, and foam core on vintage tile. 8" x 8"
When Patterns Are Broken. 2017. Hand-cut photograph, decorative paper, gold foil, and foam core on monotype. 29" x 31"

I salvage history, suspending the architecture of Southern California in time with a process of carefully controlled chaos. By combining my photographs with experimental printmaking, drawing, and collage techniques, I elevate the conflict between order and entropy. My most recent body of work focuses around my fascination with these abandoned homesteads in Wonder Valley where I continue to meditate upon the allure of beauty and decay.

Reflected In What's Left. 2018. Hand-cut photographs, watercolor, contact paper, foam core, and found objects from abandoned homesteads on panel. 36" x 48" (diptych)
The Peril, But Also The Promise. 2018. Hand-cut photograph, watercolor, and 24k gold leaf on panel. 36" x 48"

"By gathering and incorporating discarded elements from these abandoned ruins in the remote reaches of the Mojave Desert, I layer and build them back into my work, assigning new meaning with the addition of gold elements and embellished patterns. I carefully document then reconstruct these spaces, offering the viewer a spatially rich experience that responds to the original site. Memorializing architectural histories, I emphasize sites in transition to re-contextualize and illuminate their inherent value."

Fool's Gold. 2018. Found objects from abandoned homesteads and gold enamel paint.
12" x 35" (triptych)
Purportedly Mystical. 2017. Hand-cut photograph, color-aid paper, decorative paper, and vintage wallpaper on paper. 7" x 11"

To view more of her work, visit her website, check out her Instagram account, and her Facebook page. If you happen to be in Los Angeles, go see her work at Fellows of Contemporary Art in Chinatown until November 2nd. FOCA is located at 970 N. Broadway, Ste 208, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

September Unicorn Of The Month: Ryosuke Kumakura

My work is observational, focusing on the spirit within or behind possessions and memorabilia – seemingly everyday objects that hold their own special character, their own storage of memories and stories existing beyond the usage of human ownership. The intention is that these objects – socks, t-shirts, handkerchiefs, etc. – be portrayed in their own singular and momentous light. Further exploring this idea of presence, I've also been working on a series of cat portraits. The paintings capture the subjects, always sitting, in their own states of observation. 

Regarding process, I’ve always been interested in learning from the practices of past masters. From stretching my own canvases – a technique emblematic of the common but somehow sacred custom of folding one’s clothes – to various styles of underpainting, my methods serve as a history lesson as I work. From there, ideas arise organically; for example – the pointed tips of canvases resembling ears and thereby inspiring the series of cats.

To see more of Ryosuke's work visit his Website, on Instagram, and visit Patron Gallery in Chicago to see the work in person.  

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

August Unicorn Of The Month: Lin Fei Fei

"The Study of White Horse" Oil On Canvas. 48" x 48". 2018

As you know, I have been neglecting this portion of my life for a few months. I will get into details later, but for now, enjoy UOTM Lin Fei Fei. 

Lin Fei Fei is a professional artist from Shenyang, China. She moved to America after completing her Master’s degree in Oil Painting at Luxun Academy of Fine Arts. She has experience working and painting in over a dozen countries and has participated in exhibitions in Europe, Asia, and the United States. 

Her work has also been collected by Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, Oslo National Art Academy, Blue Roof Art Museum, Wang Shi Kuo Foundation, Eland Foundation, Laforet Summer Vacation Project in Italy, and many more.

"Collecting The Warmth" Ink On Paper. 102cm x 72cm. 2013
"Breaking the Walls."  Installation view from "Beyond the Frame" at the Museum Of Northern California Art.

The themes of Fei's art revolve around freedom and the mixture between emotions and the real world. Many of her pieces combine abstract techniques and realism to explore the energy of life and the varying atmospheres that people live in. Fei also as a part time curator, organizing many international art shows including most recently the "East Meets West Exhibition "and "The 2nd Annual of Borderless Contemporary Art Exhibition", " Put it above the Table". Whether by painting or curating, Fei’s goal is to bring art and cultures together to spur further inspiration and the growth of international art.

"Bound by Explanation" Oil On Canvas. 282cm x 223cm. 2014
"Lost in Thought, Found in Meditation."Acrylic Cut-Out, Three Layers Of Acrylic Glass,  and Led Light.
80cm x 80cm x 40cm. 2014

To see more of her work, hist here Website,  Instagram, and LIKE her FB Page. She is also taking part in the Wide Open Walls Mural Festival from August 9- 19 in Sacramento CA. So go see her paint live and bring her water!