Monday Muse - Cy Twombly

Another abstract artist that I love is Cy Twombly. His works have a frenetic energy about them that makes them so delightful to look at. Some of the paintings can be described as minimal. The color palette and strokes and marks are quite restrained in terms of variety. That doesn't mean to say his works are boring. Other paintings have a lot of variety and there is a strength to the painting as a whole, as well as lots of little interesting moments happening within the canvas. The canvas has so much movement and rhythm expressed on it. There is also a childlike quality to Twombly's art. It feels as though he approached the canvas and experimented with different colors and strokes and let the composition flow freely. My favorite paintings by him are ones that have a lot of little brushstrokes and colors that make your eyes dance across the canvas. I see a lot of elements that I would like to incorporate into my work in the future. 

I hope you enjoy these works by Cy Twombly!

Intermediate Figure Drawing Portfolio - Spring 2017

 

This is collection of my favorite pieces I have created over the course of my Intermediate Figure Drawing class at Academy of Art University, Spring 2017 with instructor Mark Jason Bowen.

Gesture drawings:

Sketchbook Assignments:

Class Assignments:

Monday Muse - Motonaga Sadamasa

Viewing the work of Japanese artist, Motonaga Sadamasa (1922-2011), my eyes dance across the surface of the canvas. The images do not really do the pieces justice because there is so much texture on the surface, due to the artist's use of gravel, sand, resin, and oil paint. The paintings harken to Abstract Expressionism, but with an undertone of psychedelia from the Sixties. I am so inspired by Sadamasa's seemingly random use of different media, which I know was actually very controlled and applied with care. Some of the areas of the paintings remind me of internal organs or the mixing of bodily fluids. The paintings are both beautiful and grotesque at the same time. There is also something about their simplicity which reminds me of Japanese ink drawings (sumi-e), especially the splashed ink drawings of Sesshū TōyōAll of the paintings are quite fascinating in their overall impression, as well as the little moments of magic that happen countless times when one zooms in on the way that two colors are juxtaposing one another or how colors have dripped and entangled on the canvas.

I hope you enjoy these selections by Motonaga Sadamasa and that they inspire your Monday

No One Is Listening - Collage Art Series and Art Show

This February I exhibited No One Is Listening, a collage art series I created, at La Loupe Vintage in Normal Heights, San Diego. 

This series began with the materials I wanted to create with. I knew that I wanted to use thrifted album covers as the canvas for my collages. I went to a local thrift store and found some really cool records that I got for 50 cents each. The records are relatively unknown, which is why I got them for so cheap, which got me to thinking about how our culture thrives on content and how much is published to media outlets and consumed daily. It got me asking, how can anyone experience everything that's being uploaded? What is it all worth? It also got me thinking about things that happen rarely. It got me interested in juxtaposing the two phenomena. For example, the way 350,000 tweets are sent per minute against the fact that it takes the Hale-Bopp comet 2,392 years to orbit the sun. 

I started the collages by obscuring part of the records with paint, creating interesting shapes. Then, I looked through some of my old Life magazines for more imagery to add on top. I found some great images of people gathering, protesting, or yelling. It provided a great metaphor for the message of being drowned out by a crowd. Next, I added some text that I found in the magazines that I felt spoke to my theme, but almost in a broken or poetic way. Each group of words would help to lead the viewer to their own conclusions. Next I added some different paint textures to the top, to give more movement to the piece. Finally, I added some text using my label maker. I wanted to present the viewer with a few facts to contemplate while they looked at the piece. I also wanted to viewer to be reminded of their interactions with these various phenomena. It might be interesting to them that they had sent a tweet or Facebook post multiple times that day, but would probably never see a Hainan Gibbon in their lifetime. 

You can read my full artist's statement here:

“No One is Listening” is a collage-based commentary on the digital age and how the overabundance of information is precipitating a breakdown in meaningful communication. By juxtaposing electronic phenomena and the exponential expansion of the internet with slow moving and rare natural phenomena the series underscores how the daily and interminable avalanche of digital content falls onto deaf ears – after all no human can experience the 60 million images uploaded to Instagram every day. “No One is Listening” is not meant to cast a judgment over this electronic way of sharing information, but rather to bring a facet of modern communication to light and to beg the question “If a status is posted to Facebook, and no one gives it a like, did it really exist at all?”
By using a static-nearly-obsolete canvas to ironically preserve the digital impermanence of the Internet “No One is Listening” speaks to the ephemeral nature of the information age. Each collage is made using images culled from vintage magazines on top of vinyl record covers, both of which are dying forms of communication and expression. Both are far too “slow” for our fast digital world and require space or clunky equipment to use.  The records themselves were chosen for their humble place in musical history. Most of the records failed to chart on any Billboard hot list outside of their respective musical genres.
 
Stardust Coyote is a collage and mixed media artist based in San Diego, CA. Using primarily found materials as the bases of her collages, she works with themes of identity, self expression, and what it means to be an individual in modern culture.
 

La Loupe Vintage was the perfect venue for No One Is Listening. Vintage shops are full of goods that harken back to a slower time of life, pre-Internet. They are little niches of artifacts from a bygone era. Also, La Loupe Vintage supports many local artists and artisans by exhibiting and selling their work in the shop. The owner, Brandi, is super passionate about cultivating community with her business and making a positive impact in the neighborhood. If you ever stop in San Diego or find yourself in Normal Heights, La Loupe Vintage is a great shop to visit for some one-of-a-kind vintage or goods made by local artists. 

In addition to having a great venue for my art show, my friend, Sean Burdeaux played an awesome set of live music with his band, Paper Forest. Sean is one of the most talented and creative people I know and is always working on a new project. Everyone enjoyed the show and the music blended perfectly with the art and space for a magical night! Please check out Paper Forest, as well as Sean's many other projects, on Bandcamp. 

Although it was raining cats and dogs that evening, so many friends, family, and new faces came to enjoy a night of art, vintage, and music. I was so happy with the turnout and the way that Brandi and Sean helped me to put on an awesome show. 

If you are interested in purchasing one of the No One Is Listening pieces, No. 2-8 are still available. Fill out the form below for pricing and shipping details.

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Abstract Painting Portfolio - Spring 2017

This is collection of my favorite pieces I have created over the course of my Abstract Painting class at Academy of Art University, Spring 2017 with instructor Catherine Saiki.

I am also including some of my favorite sketchbook pages and sketchbook assignments from the class here. 

Hope you enjoyed!

The Sketchbook Project - April 2017

Over the last several months, I have been filling up a blank sketchbook to be included in The Sketchbook Project. The Sketchbook Project is a sketchbook library housed in the Brooklyn Art Library based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York that houses sketchbooks from thousands of artists and amateurs alike. You can search different topics that pique your interest and find artists who have tagged their book with that subject. Artists from all around the world submit their sketchbooks to the library. The Sketchbook Project also digitizes their sketchbooks, for a fee of $35, so that people can experience the sketchbook library on the web. 

My sketchbook, Indigo Visions, was submitted to the Sketchbook Project in April of 2017. I have digitized it here for you to see and experience. 

Color and Design Portfolio

This is my Color and Design Portfolio from the Academy of Art University, Spring 2016. All the work was completed by me over the course of February 2016 - May 2016.

Art History - The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch

I want to start a new series incorporating some art education on my blog. I am studying to receive my BFA in Art Education, and I am making this space into a place for art history, art experience, and learning about art theory and art making. I want my curriculum to be heavily based in art history and observation. Each week, I will talk about a piece of art from prehistory to the modern era and talk about some elements that can influence your art process.

The Garden of Earthly Delights, painted by Hieronymus Bosch between 1503 and 1515. This painting can teach many things about the elements and principles of art as well as encouraging the focus on narrative. Here are my three takeaways from The Garden of Earthly Delights:

  1. Use of color - Bosch uses a complimentary analogous color scheme effectively in this piece which creates a sense of balance throughout. The background of the piece is predominantly blues and greens which contrast beautifully with the muted, warm tints of the human figures as well as the pops of red that give the piece of sense of rhythm, which helps to lead the viewers eye around the piece.
  2. Repetition and rhythm - The repetitive forms of the bodies gives the piece a rhythm that the eye can follow around the work. The use of implied line and perspective also helps guide the eye through the work. There is a lot to take in in this painting, but the use of repetition to create movement as well as resting places for the eye, helps the viewer to "read" the visual story.
  3. Narrative - Many art historians believe that the triptych of The Garden of Earthly Delights is meant to be read from left to right, telling the story of the creation of Eve, humanities' fall from grace, and their eventual punishment. Art historians have conflicting interpretations of the center panel, some feel it depicts a sinful explosion while others feel it is the representation of the innocence of humanity before the Fall. Either way, Bosch is giving his viewer a message and something to contemplate. The visual language is rich with storytelling vignettes that portray a message to the viewer. Each part of the triptych can be seen as its' own story, broken down into many smaller stories, or viewed as a whole.

What other elements do you see at work here? I would love to know what artistic takeaways or inspiration you glean from Bosch's Garden. I am excited to kick off this series with my favorite artist and painting and am looking forward to bringing you more. 

Huge Etsy Shop and Society6 Update

Hi everyone, it's been a minute since I've posted on here, but I am going to get in the habit of being on here more regularly and talking about art. In the meantime, I have some exciting news! I have updated my Etsy shop with the 12 remaining original Girl Time pieces. They are for sale in my shop and I hope you check them out and if you're interested, get one! I want all of these to go to good homes since it was a special time and a special show for me.

Another exciting piece of news is that I have joined Society6 and uploaded some of my pieces there. In addition to Girl Time, there are some special ones that you can't get on Etsy up there, so if you're interested in my art check it out! I am so excited about Society6 and the prospect of seeing my art on lots of different products. If you're interested in a different size for any of my art pieces, this place is for you. Society6 is awesome because it allows artists to see their art on many different products without having to pay the overhead costs themselves. The site also allows artists to retain all rights to the artwork. 

I plan to update both of these spaces regularly so that you can get some new stuff and to challenge myself to create more. I have a lot more posts lined up for you guys, I can't wait to show you some ideas I've been working on! xx - Sierra

Early Aesthetic Influences

I think everybody has some great influencers in their lives that changed them in some profound way.  I wanted to share some thoughts about early influences in my creative life, that have had some lasting impression to my aesthetic brain.  There are a few artists, some works of art, and a music video that I can still recall the moment I first experienced them.  Not only did they inspire me then, they continue to inspire me year in and year out.  I honestly never get tired of looking at or listening to these works.

1. M.C. Escher

My dad had a huge book of M.C. Escher's work, and I can't tell you how many times I looked through that thing as a kid.  I was obsessed with looking at the tessellations, but I also loved his pencil drawings and woodcuts.  The Adam & Eve was a personal favorite, as well as his Self Portrait using his image reflected into a sphere.  There's something a little sinister about M.C. Escher's work.  The sinister and creepy has been something that has always appealed to me, even as a kid.  The dung beetle piece, for example, was an early favorite.  The thing I love most about Escher's work is the fact that everything is produced so meticulously, which really allows the detail of the work to be star.  I could spend hours looking at these works, your eye finds something new continuously.  

2. Titian - Bacchus and Ariadne

BacchusandAriadne

Titian's Bacchus and Ariadne was the cover art to one of my favorite albums, Crash Test Dummies God Shuffled His Feet.  My dad and I listened to this record so much, that I can still sing along to every word of every song, even though I don't listen to it much anymore.  All of the band member's faces we superimposed onto the faces of the characters in the painting.  I spent a lot of time looking at this piece.  There is just so much going on in this painting.  Bacchus and all his partiers just kind of roll up on Ariadne, and Bacchus falls in love with her at first sight.  I love how this painting show's her initial fear response.  I was fortunate enough to see this painting at The National Gallery when I was in London in 2010.  It is massive and awe-inspiring to be in front of.  I sure teared up a bit, finally seeing this piece I had been staring at my whole life in person.

3. Madonna shot by David Lachapelle for Rolling Stone July, 1998

My parents had this issue of Rolling Stone in their office and I remember flipping through it countless times.  My eyes needed to consume this.  I didn't know at the time that I was looking at the work of epic photographer, David LaChapelle.  LaChapelle would become a favorite of mine, as I got to know more of his work, but nothing would arrest me quite like these photos.  The bright light, brilliant colors, and busyness is something that I continue to love.  I love the religious allusions as well, which would become a fixture of my artistic inspiration.  And I love Ray of Light era Madonna the best.  

4. Nine Inch Nails - Closer Music Video

I can vividly remember sitting on the floor at my grandparents' house, after they picked me up from school, in the family room, watching this video.  I remember how the carpet felt where I was sitting, and I remember changing the channel every time I thought I heard someone coming because I didn't want to get in trouble for watching music videos, especially this one, I was supposed to be watching Arthur.  But I remember furtively changing the channel back so I could watch more.  Everything about this was conscious altering to me, as an elementary school kid.  The sounds and the images blended into this perfect experience.  Not only did this reaffirm my love of creepy shit, I evolved to love electronic music and Trent Reznor as a musician as I grew older.  I could say a lot about it here, but I'll have to save it for another time.  I love also the symbolism in this music video.  

5. Dan Eldon - The Journey is the Destination : The Journals of Dan Eldon

This book is the compiled journals of photojournalist Dan Eldon, who was stoned to death in Somalia in 1993.  I read this book in high school and it inspired me to start art journaling.  I had always kept a diary, but after reading this, I began to make the pages into little works of art in themselves.  A lot of my ideas for pieces start out as art journal pages.

6. Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

When I saw this painting, it was game over.  This was instantly my all-time, favorite painting ever.  Look at all that detail, you can gaze for hours at every single little thing.  It's got tons of creepy shit in it which is my favorite.  And, last but not least, more religious symbolism and myth.  There are hundreds of little stories being played out here in orgiastic glory.  The only reason I want to go to Spain is because the Museo del Prado has a Bosch collection, including this piece.  This is something I've never got tired of looking at.

7. Francisco Goya - Saturn Devouring His Children

Another one of my favorite paintings is at the Museo Del Prado.  This painting started my obsession with Romanticism.  Romanticism is the creepiest of creepy stuff.  How different this version of Saturn eating his children is from the Ruebens' version done in the 1600s.  Less than 200 years later and art is starting to push the boundaries to the abstract and avant-garde.  Saturn is a deranged and giant monster, maniacally devouring his adult child in a bleak and dismal setting.  The crude strokes add to the frenetic feeling of the piece, the red blood a gash across the canvas, drawing your eye to the psychotic stare of Saturn.  Doesn't get more horror film than that.

8. Chuck Close

Chuck Close is one of the great artistic geniuses of our time.  You really cannot feel the power of these pieces by looking at them on a computer screen.  They are enormous.  I was lucky enough to see them at the SF MoMA when I lived up there.  I can't find a picture of the one that was truly my favorite, one of his mixed media pieces made out of thousands of circles of greyscale felt.  It was similar to the second picture here which is made of buttons.  I absolutely adore his mixed media work like this and it has been a huge inspiration for some collage work I've done.

9. Salvator Rosa - Witches at Their Incantations

This is another painting I got to experience at the National Gallery in London.  Any guesses as to why I like it?  If you thought antique painters painting creepy shit, you thought right.  If you also thought insanely detailed, you are also correct.  So much action and movement in this piece.  I spent quite a long time with this one when I was at the Gallery.  The deeper you start to look in the background, the more you see.  Everything starts to have a face.  It's one of those grotesque paintings you can't stop looking at, but can appreciate aesthetically as well.  This is way sicker than The Craft!

Those nine pieces and artists have been so influential on me.  These are my favorite pieces of art, ones which I return to over and over again, or that have influenced my own art in some way.  What are your most influential pieces?  I'd love to learn about them or maybe we have some in common!