Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Art of the Steal

It's been over a year since my last entry.  I'm sure my seven followers have been anxiously waiting, although I think one my mom's friends (whom she coerced to follow me), has moved off the grid.  So, six.  But I have the best web designer, Somxay Thammas, who always encourages me to blog.  Also, I am starting to realize that what seems so logical and obvious in my work to me, may not be so to viewers.  So here I am.

I’ve started a new painting, and of course it starts with a dog…

This time, I am inspired by the work of the anime artist Katsuya Terada.  I saw this warrior girl in one of his books, and I wanted to capture her… to be her!

Image by Katsuya Terada

Growing up in 1970’s Japanese pop-influenced Hawaii, I loved it all - Hello Kitty, the Five Rangers and the cute, red Robocop to name a few.  I was so drawn to the vivid colors, collecting the stickers from Long’s and Shirokiya, and drawing them obsessively on my brown bag book covers.  When my ten year-old self wanted to own something, I copied it. 

The Five Rangers
Stickers from my 1970's album collection

To this day, I wholeheartedly embrace appropriating, referencing, stealing – whatever you want to call it – other artists’ images.  Contemporary art is one big, noisy, and manic conversation full of retold jokes and stories.

So my initial idea is to start with the Terada girl and build my own story on top of it. The dog is comprised of armor-like body parts – representing various aspects in his life, near bursting by so many thought balloons and party colors – so excited he can barely contain himself.  Of course this reflects my own life… me trying to do everything all at once, and obsessing over what I haven’t done, or can't get.

I'm also making an attempt to keep true to my original vision - instead of re-working a painting for years, now I just start a new canvas.  Keep posted and I hopefully I will have a finished work soon!

My new work in progress!!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

I started this painting about four years ago when I had just moved to California.  Homesick for Hawaii, my inspiration was my sister, Cori. I had this initial vision of a fun, '80's style painting.  She always reminds me of a Nagel girl, and I had an AC/DC song I once performed to ("You Shook Me All Night Long") to further set the mood.

The top image is the first version.  It captures the easy grace of my sister at eighteen - tall, stunning, and always confident.  It was hard not to feel insignificant around her.  It remained this way until this past spring; another move cross country, this time to Connecticut.  Again, I felt like my heart had broken open. Looking at the work with new perspective, it felt too shallow.  This time, I was able to dig deeper and be more raw about the way I feel about her/me.  How much I care and depend on her.  How challenging it sometimes is - being around someone who knows the best and worst of you.  How when we were kids, my greatest fear was that something would happen to her.  And everything complicated I feel about us getting older... Dramatic life changes have tested us, leaving their scars and marks, but ultimately our relationship is one of my most cherished, and this painting is one of my favorite works ever.