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Why I do what I do

This website will give you a glimpse into my work as an artist,  community builder and activist. I have been negotiating the world through the lens of a creative entrepreneur for the last two decades. It's been a wonderful journey with a lot of learning and collaborating with people I deeply respect.
In the coming years, I believe that creative thinkers will be crucial to document, stitch, hold and present the world. We are at the very edge of collapse on one side, and of a future that can spin out into unimaginable wonders on the other. I believe we can get to the happier side by working together!

Completed: Medusa Folds | Hi-Gloss

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February 10th, 2008

Medusa | Oil on Canvas | 15″ x 22″

This one I think was successful. I am happy about the palette, textures and overall composition. Of course, there is tons left to be desired…but success is here measured only by the fact that I achieved what I set out to do with this. In that I am happy. Now girls – rip it to bits :)

Folds | Oil on Canvas | 15″ x 22″

This was a struggle. Im not too happy with the end result, but I’ve decided to call it quits on this one! I am particularly happy with the background. I think the experimentation worked out well and will be very useful in future works. The ‘looming’ blueness was exactly what I was after. The part that I think I failed on was in resolving the drapery. The texture, the starkness of white and red, as opposed to the comfort of cream and pink that I settled for…nope – it didn’t hit the spot. Also I am particularly unhappy about the way I have rendered the lotuses – there is nothing delicate, hopeful or beautiful about them. Thus a complete failure I feel :(

Incomplete: Hi-Gloss | Oil on Canvas | 12″ x 12″

Ummm…this little piece was started more as a stop-gap while hanging about obsessing about the above two. Its just the first draft and more an exercise in understanding the oil medium and how to make the colours deep and shiny. I am trying to make it glossy and slick like a crimson red lip-stick chick. Self portrait again, although this is more a mythical version of me. Much like something that the capitalistic, advertising world would want me to think I am.

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  • hey arch, dont be so harsh on yourself. I know we are our own worst critics, but i think we can be too harsh sometimes.
    In your first piece, I love the texture on the face and hands.. almost scratched out…you have a nice way of modeling the face, as also evident in the second piece.
    These pieces remind me of folk art in one sense, and I think it might help to look at some folk art. The reason being, that I feel that you are looking for such a literal translation, which a lot of folk artists incorporate in their works as well. Combining several meanings into one piece.
    Your thoughts are great, but consider that although there can be a lot of things going on in a piece, it still needs to read as one. By focusing on each part individually, you are making the task more difficult for yourself. Example, the face as one component, the drapery as a second, and the background as a third. I think it will help to first deal with the whole painting, and then what you want to accomplish in each part after that will come naturally.
    Another thing is, on the last piece, I could kind of see the canvas you are using. It looks to me like a loose weave. Not very tight. If you want to achieve a tight glossy finish, you could start with the canvas base. Since you get your canvases ready-made, I suggest that once you get them, put on a few more coats of gesso (textured white) to make it more smooth. Also, I think you would enjoy working on wood panels, for a smooth, glossy work.
    Keep at it Arch.

  • hey pooj – thanks, your comments are really useful and insightful.
    I will look at some folk artists, point me in any direction that you think relevant…girls peek at our scrap book, and add add add :)
    I feel a little blind to my own work these days, you know? I mean I can’t see the flaws clearly – especially the fact that the parts look disparate. with my new work i will exclusively try to address this…in some way i have been feeling that things are not meshing well…
    And hey, that idea of working on wood panels really sounds good. what kind of wood would you suggest – light, dark, grained, etc. and what is the base treatment on it?
    again – i really cant thank you enough for your candid and clear comments…gah! now that goes and sounds all formal. oof! i tell you, words so suck sometimes.

  • hey sweet. i try and really look at the work so i can give constructive feedback. i would like the same, and i believe our work expects that kind of respect no?
    For wood, try something with a clear grain.. plywood, birch (which I think is expensive -at least here). You can start by just coating it with gesso. you can sand down the first coat, and put on a second and even third coat. There are other methods as well, using glue to get a super smooth finish. I’ll be happy to give that recipe to you, but it involves some work, and I dont know if you are getting the stuff made.
    Basically look for some panels that are smooth, or get them cut to whatever size you want. Also, you can use masonite panels – which are thin, so you will have to gesso the back with a big “X” so it doesn’t warp. Another thing you could do, which i actually like, is you can get a piece of wood and stretch the canvas on to that. This will give a sturdy support, and feels nice to paint on because you still have the feeling of canvas, but the sturdiness of wood.
    We all get blind to our work at times. Believe me, i can relate 100%. I will put in some images in our scrapbook. Sorry I am so bad with that. I just get intimidated by all this technology!! AHHHH

  • wow – you know your stuff! ok Im going to set out and figure out where i can get some wood. i think initially i want to work directly on wood…perhaps i will do small experiments, and if it suits me, go large.

  • its all stuff from school!!
    exciting to hear you’re going to try the wood. good luck!! cant wait to hear about your search, and see what results come from it!

  • hey Arc, As I told you, I like the your Folds work. I like the texture you have got. I think these paintings will work work out well as a tryptich. Though they are well-rendered, they seem a little incomplete. Three of them together will really wotk super. I just feel… that maybe you can use a little more of black too (to create a depth, dimensionality and shadows) Just an observation….
    hey, do bigger works, you are good… just get more confident!!

  • ya-yo, I’m getting bigger…in more ways than one 😀 sitting on my ass and painting is certainly improving my proportions in every which way you look at it.