Artist Review: Hazel Dooney

I have recently stumbled upon (no not using stumbled upon) the artwork of Hazel Dooney. To say the least, its inspiring. Hazel is from Sydney, Australia and has artwork on her website from 1995. From reading as much as I can of her blog, I understand why she claims she’s: “emerged as one of the Asia-Pacific region’s most controversial female artists.” This much is evident when her latest blog post starts off: “I am not a ‘joiner’. I am not a ‘people person’. I am solitary, prickly, and on most days absorbed in my work. I don’t like to be distracted. I don’t respond well to those who try.” Oh how this makes me squirm!

Her enamel stuff, one of which is shown above from her Dangerous Career Babes album, is not her stuff that I love the most.  A brief background on enamel: highly toxic and a carcinogenic material. The works of hers that I am awed by are her watercolor stuff. Its raw, very imaginative, and very free.

Her latest series is Flesh Eaters. I have taken a few of her pictures here that are the least provocative, yet still highly contagious. I highly suggest you go to her site to find more of her work, for I personally am in awe of this stuff. It’s just amazing. It reminds me of a the old statues with no arms and heads but just busts.

Hazel has received a lot of publicity from her highly suggestive and sexually extroverted works of art over the years, being banned from showing at certain galleries, which in reality only makes her work more stronger and interesting to the public; which is a good thing.

I have read on her blog that a lot of her work is being sold to China. I’m not sure what it means, but I really do associate the top enamel work with art that one would expect to see coming out of there. Its very precise, very exact, no errors, which is also why it shocks me to see them in contrast with her watercolors, or sketches. It’s very interesting to see such contrast.

From what I have read on her blog she is an extremely powerful and strong woman. She isn’t afraid to search what her mind can bring in a realm that most people blush and shy away from: Sexuality, nudity, feminism, and soft porn. To me, having an image, having a voice, having your own niche to sit in and dig deeper into the confines of (pop) cultures stereotypes or limitations is what artists are meant to do. Being able to spread the boundaries between what is thought, what is real, and what is something you have never dreamed of before is something I admire in an artist, and I definitely gravitate towards. This is what makes me sit in awe and amazement at the end of the day, and this is what Hazel does.

Her watercolor stuff, which I have only showcased one of, is simply amazing. When I sit looking at a raw blank canvas, this is what I wish would be accomplished. The colors are brilliant, and run in an amazing blending pattern that isn’t smooth, isn’t natural, but leaves so much up to the imagination its unreal how inspiring it is.

I hope you can find inspiration, as I have, from this work, for I’d like to ask you: what thoughts come to your mind when you look at them?


Pantera: A Lament

I remember when I was in gr 6 I got an older neighbor of mine to make me a CD. I knew he was into metal because he is also the same neighbor that inspired me to start playing the guitar. I said to him: “Make it as metal as you can, I want to learn the art.” And that, my friends, was the start. Shortly after I got an Epiphone SG and an amp, and well…

Now I know some of you dedicated readers (I know I kid myself into believing there are dedicated followers), you may be wondering where this is coming from. I thought this King Kabuz fellow was a sweet Jack Johnson loving hipster. Fear not, it is still me.

I was brought up on a steady diet of these guys. Friends of mind in High School thought it was cool to write the CFH you see on the skull’s forehead on their jean jackets, and prided themselves saying we were the ‘cowboys from hell’. Me, I’ve always been more partial to hellbilly, or just plain ol hick (of course I have grown up a little bit, now I’m more of a.. hmm. no idea..). But that’s getting into semantics, so we won’t dwell there.

Cowboys from Hell was my first album, I played that CD so many times. It would have been one of the CD’s I would take if asked the ‘if you were trapped on a desert island, and could only have 2 cd’s, what would they be?’ question. It was more of a way of life, an aggression that I had to get out of my system. Not to mention that it was very inspirational to me, making me want to go out and get shit done! Dimebag was, and shall always be, one of my most idolized guitarist.

He is one hell of a shredder, and I don’t think many would argue with that. But what I always loved about him was that he was all about having fun, supporting family and friends, and making damn good music! I read an article a long time ago with regards to his partnering with Dean Guitars. A lot of you may know that he had his own signature series, of the shape you see above in his photo, called the Dean Dimebag. I’ve watched countless videos on him, and he never fails to throw a plug in there for Dean Guitars. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of Dimebag.

I think that without Vinnie Paul things would never have been the same. Having that family tie in the band just makes it that much more stronger, if you ask me.Not to mention how great of a drummer Vinnie Paul is.

Another member of the band, Phil Anselmo, is a god in most metal heads minds. He has fronted this power band, but also gone on to do his own projects, most notably Down with the boys of Corrosion of Conformity and Rex Brown, the bassist for Pantera, but also fronted Superjoint Ritual, Arsen Anthem, and Necrophagia. I honestly have never heard the last two bands there, but Down and Superjoint are amazing!

Phil’s voice is what many have come to try and copy, its powering, thundering, and scary aggressiveness is unlike any other out there. It’s the perfect fit for any metal band.

But then, tragically on December 8, 2004, while doing a gig with Damageplan, a raged fan decided to storm the stage for reasons: ludicrous, and shoot Dimebag. I guess he felt that killing Dimebag would make right the splitting up of Pantera that he blamed on him.

This death was felt world wide in the metal community, fans, supporters, and fellow musicians alike all felt the pain of this.

But, forever shall his music remain in our minds, forever shall our spines tingle with furious motivation when we hear the killer guitar licks in 5 minutes alone.

Pantera, you shall always remain in my heart.

Vancouver Art Gallery – Robert Adams, Song Dong, Emily Carr

Today I finally used my two year membership to the Vancouver Art Gallery (aka VAG) for the first time since I got it in October. To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed. I have been a membership holder before, and I will most definitely be again, but the show this time wasn’t to the caliber I had hoped it would be.

To me, an art gallery is there to illuminate marvelous pieces of art, expression and meaning into a whole new world of wonder. One should leave wondering what they had just seen, and how it was even possible. AND, with an incredible urge to attempt that art themselves, or at least write a lengthy blog about it. But this time, it wasn’t until I reached the 4th floor that I was mesmerized. This is the first time this has ever happened to me at the VAG, but no doubt, something of the sort will happen again.

I often ponder how I can be a critic, when art itself is pure creative. It’s everything from preparing, thinking, seeing, believing, and determination that goes into each piece of art, but there is also something about great art, and something about just art, which I feel there is a line between.

In the same breath, how can I dare criticize something so delicate as the past? It is not really my part in this world I don’t think.

Please don’t misunderstand my sentiment; there were many many pieces of Robert Adams that absolutely floored me as pieces of extreme beauty. The one above wasn’t in the collection, but many others were. It was explained that Robert spent most of his time photographing North Americas West, but there were other photographs in there too.

Apparently his work is interpreted to be of how man has altered nature. Glorious (some may think) blemishes on the otherwise vegetative landscape that are labelled with the words of progress. Do you believe this is progress?

Who knows. I do not dare decide that answer for myself, for I feel if I were to say no it’s not progress, I would be turning my head away from everything that is in my day that builds up to bring me here today. I am in fact writing this to you on the premise of progress: a computer. And if I were to say it is progress, how could I explain the way we neglect mother nature, blindly turn away from the facts of overpopulation, or waste, or poverty. Or what about the great class spread that we (my fathers and mothers before me) have worked so laboriously ahead of me to eliminate?

That shall be my rant for today on the world.

On to the rest of the gallery. The second floor was an instillation done by Song Dong. They say he’s an ‘avant guard instillation artist from China.”

Walking through his exhibit, it felt like I was walking through one of the millions of pawn shops, or junk stores you come along on the road. It was amazing how it was organized though, like a maze of dominoes. It was all just JUNK, displayed along the floor in neat symmetric matrices arranged according to function. From toothpaste tubes, to gardening tools, to old cardboard boxes used for pills, to teddy bears, to shoes and clothes, and plastic bottles or even the re-useable bags they’re making us buy at the grocery stores now. It was pretty wild to see how he arranged everything. Just taking the random things we all know and see and turning it into a fantastic spectacle of absurdity!

The one thing that caught my eye, at the very end of it, was a chalk board, with a girl drawn in chalk on it, partly smudged out along the edges, but for the most part still very visible. I wonder how he came to have these things?

The 4th floor had an exhibit that was ‘In Dialog with Emily Carr‘, which was astounding. Over the time that I have spent getting to know Emily through the Art Gallery, it has made me greatly respect the woman.

Today there was a place to sit down and you could hear a dialog between one of the artists and her (I suspect it was an Emily impersonator since she’s been dead for some 60years) about the difference between now and then. It was amazing to hear her amazement about how one of her paintings sold for just over 2million dollars! Apparently there was lots of time how her paintings couldn’t even sell. Where she had lost all hope, and how she struggled to make ends meat. I guess this is the woe of all artists isn’t it?

$2.16Million Piece

The guy illuminated how green never sells paintings… It kind of made me think a bit about my next paint purchase!

Emily‘s work is both exact and abstract to me. It has a remarkable beauty in that it illuminates certain aspects of the life, without forgetting the other parts of the picture, while still remaining somewhat… well, just amazing I guess is how to explain it. Her work has now become very recognizable to me, since the VAG houses the biggest and most extensive Carr collection known.

What makes me sad is knowing how an artist like this was never appreciated in her time because of the fact that a. she was a woman in a mans world, and 2. she bridged a racial barrier that hadn’t ever really been attempted or valued at the time.

One is very tempted to say we will never come across something like this again in our time, but that would be much to naive for a person that knows better. Most certainly it is happening now as we speak. Who knows, maybe we already know the person personally!

Artist Review: CT

Today I’m going to showcase a dear friend of mine, CT. He’s been painting for a while now, and his stuff is stunning in a strict kind of way. Usually I’m more into abstract messy stuff, but this is really good, solid work that I like, so you get to see.

These are the three photos that I have, you can contact me if you’re interested in buying anything.

How do you like the works?

Artist Review: Chris Jordan

Simon Fraser Universities Burnaby campus art gallery is currently showcasing work from the artist Chris Jordan which is titled “Running the Numbers: An American Self Portrait” which I felt was an astounding step towards opening the eyes of the consumer, in a way that makes them realize the extent of the damage done by being such.

His work exhibits the scale at which America consumes items such as Barbies, cell phones, plastic bottles, cars, and so on. Each one is labeled with a time frame, like America retires 426000 cell phones per day, and it shows the expanse of the waste that is built up. With a situation like this, our world will slowly be piled higher and higher with plastic and consumed garbage that will overtake us and we will have no choice but to immediately start resistance action.

I will showcase a few of his photographs here, but it really doesn’t do the expanse of his projects. These should be viewed on 20ft x 20ft prints and still you have to go in really close to see the exact detail of the photograph because the extent is simply far to great.

If you go to his website, but you can view interactive photographs that let you zoom in to really see the intricacies of them.

Above is some crazy number of inmate uniforms in the USA per day.

To be honest, I really haven’t detailed what the photos all mean, and hopefully you will find them interesting enough to check out his website to find further information.

If nothing else, I hope you take this as a warning: STOP CONSUMING!

Terry Richardson

I would just like to say that I think Terry Richardson is one of the luckiest men in the world. He is an inspiration, clearly a solid character, and clearly gets to go all over the world taking photos of some of the most beautiful, creative, and talented people around. Not only that, but he gets to get out of them what very few are invited to do, a photograph.

I first learned of who the man behind the photos were through tumblr. He posts a lot of his current stuff daily on there. Its really cool to see how and where he travels. I think at the time of writing this, he has posted from France. I’m seriously on a kick to learn how he does what he does, and how I can start to do what he does. I read an article interviewing him a while ago, and he just said that he jumped into it while he was in a band in LA, and just took over from there. Apparently his dad, Bob Richardson, was already a fashion photog and introduced him at a very young age to the world. I guess it just kind of stuck for him.

As you can see from the pictures I’ve posted here, he gets everybody.

I found a great article interviewing Terry. His mom actually dated Jimi Hendrix…crazy. Wild story with his father though. His mother got in a car crash when he was nine, I guess she was handicap since then. Wild.

How do you like his work? He’s inspiration to me. Thats a given. 

Under Feet Like Ours by Tegan and Sara

Under Feet Like Ours was Tegan and Sara’s first full length album, after the Orange, Yellow and Red demos. I’ve recently been on a big Tegan and Sara kick, and came across this gem in my library, and was simply moved. I was crying by the end of the album.

Its a very strong, acoustic rhythm album that plays with vocal and guitar arrangements in such a way that it makes me feel like I’m enjoying the good times, sitting in the back of an old Cadillac convertible, the kind with the big wings, sailing down the highway on a nice sunny day with my sunglasses on and great company.

Its not the singular talent of one specific instrument in the band, but the girls singing is what moves me. Of course they do have great rhythm and chord progressions, but its the way they pack it into a song that I love.

I love Freedom, the one part where who ever is singing, I can never tell, does that drop. If you’ve heard the song, you know. And Proud just fits in perfectly after it.

Seriously, I listen to This is Everything, song 8, and I immediately feel an immense longing and sorrow and desire to be the everything I can be, and it brings tears to my eyes. Maybe I’m just emotional right now, but the chord progression will forever be in my mind. Heavy also gives me the same emotion. Just speaks so much emotion that I don’t know how to express sometimes, except with silence of my mouth, and open ears.

Today is their birthday, they’re 30. Wikipedia says Tegan lives in Vancouver, Sara in Montreal, when they’re not on tour, and are originally from Calgary. They sell out tours, internationally, and totally kick ass. Just like to say if you read this Tegan or Sara, I’m in Vancouver.. gimme a shout and we’ll play guitar.

I’m definitely proud to say that I’ve been a fan of these girls since around 2002 when I first heard of them going to college at SAIT in Calgary, reading the local culture paper.

I need to see them more. I need to hear them more. I hope you all like them as much as I do, I’d be interested if its just me that likes Under Feet Like Ours.

They have a new album thats out, Sainthood, which anybody in their right mind should already have in their possession.

Artist Review: David Choe

Sometimes you come across things that just make you think to yourself: “I need to step on the gas, shift into a gear higher, let my mind free from all constraints, and become more totally awesome than I already am.”

Looking at art by David Choe does this for me.

His interest in not only in abstracting the normal, but in blending that with colors and angles that make you feel like your in a weirdly distorted mirror room simply amaze me.

I’ve just recently read an issue of Juxtapoz magazine, where he was featured, and guest edited the entire issue. It is chalked full of art, thoughts, reminiscences, history, and antics of David that inspire me in their own right, let alone the art that graces the pages.

Who really knows where an artist starts, I guess it would be some time between your parents deciding to not use a condom, the sounds you hear in the womb, and the influences you have at the time of puberty, but for David, it seems he’s grown up on a steady diet of graffiti, porno’s, and mixed media. Looking at his website, you’ll find he uses every type of medium possible: oils, mixed, walls, sculptures, fotos, and drawings… which I guess is what an artist should and does create with.

Gambling problems, sticky fingers, women, kindness, and amazing dedication to living a life for the sole purpose of exploring your mind seem to be David‘s characteristics; which inspire me a lot.

I don’t think its that he just uses a lot of different mediums, or that he has exceptional talent, or that he’s not trying to fit into a type of style, but its that he tries with the vigor of a porno star with everything that he tries; he lives, breathes, fucks, drools, and smells of art… and I love it.

Check out his stuff, be influenced, and tell me how much you adore him just like I do!

Oh, and by the way, he’s a world wide traveler, but in LA from all that I can gather at the moment.

Charlotte Gainsbourg

So, I just recently read a SPIN article on Charlotte Gainsbourg, and instantly got on my horse to go get her albums.

Apparently she just did her first ever live show in USA I think?

I’m listening to it now, and I’m a fan. She rocks with electronics just enough to make it funky, and yet still folky, with a silent ambient sort of flavor to it as well, and I’m only three songs in!

I’ve been a giant fan of hers for a while, but the one role that is creeping into my mind right now is her role in I’m Not There, a Bob Dylan movie of sorts… you have to watch it to understand. She plays in a scene with Heath Ledger. Love it. Her style is amazing.

Find her here: