arthead sf

arthead sf blog was created to bring readers the meaning behind the art. These are not critiques or interviews with artists. Each feature is written entirely by the artist, revealing only what they feel and want readers to know about the featured piece. If you see a piece of art you'd like to know the meaning me. And subscribe to my blog below to get updates when new features are posted!


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Nathan Stapley

"The Night Gallery"
11ft x 6ft
black and white acrylic gesso

"Here is a painting I did that was recently in a show at a gallery here in San Francisco called ARSPACE, run by a cool guy named Trevor. The show was based on an old TV show from the seventy's called Night Gallery. Rod Searling made that show, Rod Searling also made a show called The Twilight Zone, which is probably the best show in history next to Sesame Street, Pee Wee's Playhouse, and Kids Incorporated. Just kidding about that last one, Ha!

Each episode of The Night Gallery revolved around a painting somehow. Sometimes it seemed like Rod had to throw a painting in there somewhere just so the episode would make the cut, but in others the painting was almost the main character. It made for a great way to start an episode, Rod would stand there with his awesome 70's hair cut, hands crossed in front of his waist, talk about "grey hues of death" or some shit like that, and then pull the red blanket away from the painting and let the camera man zoom into it and than the episode would start, radical.

So as you can see I got pretty literal. I painted a gallery with paintings on the walls of some scenes from my favorite episodes. In that middle one; some mean, rich, blind lady paid Tom Bosley 9,000 dollars for his eyes, just so she could see for 11 hours, what a bitch! She got her come uppin's though, don't worry. The one on the right is about a rich dude who dies and his bratty half nephew or something tries to get his inheritance. It would have worked too if it wasn't for that crazy painting that kept on telling the future and making everyone have a heart attack, including Ozzie Davis(RIP). Roddy McDowell was in that one, and he is awesome. He also looks like my friend Paul Allen. The episode on the left was my favorite because Rod wrote it, and it's about a bunch of astronauts who think they are on the moon and talking to Huston and stuff, but it turns out they are actually on a huge piece of swiss cheese and they all get eaten by a big ass mouse in the end. Bummer!

The little people that are looking at the paintings are self portraits, you can tell because they are wearing the same shoes that I own."

By Nathan Stapley

Nathan's work can be seen at the December 2007 small painting show @ Linc art. 100 or more small paintings

A few things about Nathan:
Your age? 33
Where you live/work? ocean beach san francisco
One thing that people don't know about you? my parents are mormon

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Heiko Mueller

"Never Wake Up"
7,8" square
oil on wood

"I'm fascinated by classical Christian motifs and always like to be inspired by the old Flemish masters. One particular topic that continues to show up in Christian painting is "The Four Last Things": Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. In this context Death is usually depicted as an ill person lying in bed with a skeletal, scythe-brandishing Grim Reaper beside him. A scary predicament – one that always reminded me of a child's fear that a monster might be lurking under the bed.

I painted this picture for an exhibition called "Don't Wake Daddy" – a title that inspired me to finally try my hand at this motif. And it occurred to me that I particularly like the idea to escape the clutches of death by only sleeping long enough."

By Heiko Mueller

The exhibition "Don't Wake Daddy" opens on Dec. 2nd, 8 pm, at Feinkunst Krüger, Ditmar-Koel-Str. 22, 20459 Hamburg, Germany.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Ellen Jantzen

23"H x 50"W
digitally manipulated photo assemblage

"I have a varied background; originally my emphasis was on graphic arts and I obtained my first college degree in this field. I became disillusioned with the basic nature of art for advertising sake and dropped out to become an organic gardener and cheese-maker. I raised goats also. But this became unfulfilling as I really longed for creative outlets and interactions. I then went back to college and got my second degree in fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, California. I became quite fascinated with using fabrics in innovative ways which led me to work for several major corporations designing clothing concepts and products. I also briefly taught product design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California. Alas, I again became disillusioned with the corporate/academic climate and longed for something more creative. I have been making my current body of work with digitally manipulated photography for over three years now and find great satisfaction and excitement each day as I work. This is the perfect marriage of two dimensional graphic sensibilities and my need to create “things”. Because I create ephemeral assemblages to use in my photography, my desire to work three dimensionally is fulfilled also.

I recently had two pieces in Swarm Gallery's Digital Print Show; and at iDEAs 2006 (at the IDMAA convention in San Diego November 9-11, 2006 at National University, San Diego CA. IDMAA is the International Digital Media and Arts Association.
The Title of one of my pieces in the Swarm Gallery show (see image) is HeteRogamy (23"H x 50"W). It is a digitally manipulated photo assemblage. What does it mean? Well, it is part of my series Anomalies - things that deviate from what is standard, normal, or expected….In this series I strive to create images that evoke animated beings; completely made up life forms with personality.

I am also dealing with symmetry and all its symbolic references.

In general I am intrigued with parallel universes, space/time warps and other manifestations of altered, alternative realities. I am intrigued with the exterior/visible aspects of reality and how it manifests the interior, the hidden/unknown realm.

I begin by staging “landscapes” of a variety of objects, either man-made or of a natural nature; the set-ups are essentially ephemeral “sculptures”. I take digital photographs of these assemblages then alter the images using various drawing and photography software programs. I layer, re-color then re-manipulate even more until I’ve achieved my particular goal with the piece under development.

Working with my computer allows me to see in new ways; it allows me to be surprised by the outcome and the possibilities."

By Ellen Jantzen

Some background info on Ellen:
Born and raised in St. Louis Missouri, USA • Currently lives in Valencia California1992 Graduated Summa Cum Laude from FIDM(Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising), Los Angeles California

Monday, November 20, 2006

Scott Radke

Octopus #3
mixed media

"This piece is one in a series that came about through a recent commission i did for Dele Costa- a new restaurant in chicago. it was a big commission including 11 marionettes and other sculpture. the restaurant has a costal theme to it so i thought i'd make some fish and octopuses. i took an old doll carriage and turned it into a fish cart to hold them. i don't really like to do commissions but sometimes when i do do them, they spin me off into another direction i might not had originally pursued. i've since put my marionettes down to work on more animal/hybrid type sculptures."

Fowler's Modern English Usage states that "the only acceptable plural in English is octopuses"

By Scott Radke

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Miranda Lloyd

The Three Phases of Love, 2004
Digital C-Print, Edition of 3

"The Three Phases of Love was inspired by the catharsis necessary for uniting one’s self with another and the visceral process of attraction and apprehension transforming into “Love”. Using physical mutation to display both an exterior as well as an emotional evolution, I hope to covey the vulnerability inherent to the origins of the new and unknown. This is represented by three phases:

Phase 1-The kiss, a taste of the beginning.
Phase 2-Turning away. The gesture of fear of the unknown.
Phase 3- Symbiosis. The creatures again engaged in a kiss emblazing the symbol of infinity.

In fabricating this very simple portraiture of my personal experience on love and the continuum of loving, I wish address my own intent in relationships with others.

This photographic series originated as a sculpture, “ Ecosystem #2, 2001”. I purchased “food” at the market (octopus and chicken) and dissected the flesh to rejoin them into a single creature. It turned out to be a very unsettling experience. After I cut and sewed the chicken-octopus creature to completion and set him in formaldehyde I actually had to leave the room because a guilty stir in my stomach had overtaken me, almost as if I were a kid who had done something wrong. I couldn’t go into my studio for several hours. Of course I came to terms with my initial revulsion and ultimately have been inspired by people’s reactions to the installation. It seems to have a universal accessibility. Children respond to it the same way adults do; the physicality of the work begs for inspection. My decision to make the Three Phases of Love a photographic series was a purely practical decision. I had recently moved to New York and had limited space to produce larger installations. It was the beginning of a photographic phase of my work. I have discovered that sometimes the confines of a situation can push you further than you might push yourself."

Ecosystem #2, 2001
8'x4'x2' deep
installation size varies
Plastics, wax, resin, glass, metal, flesh

By Miranda Lloyd

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ryan Malley

Oil on Canvas

"This painting is called "gazebo" it's the first piece in a series i'm working on for a show next year. Most of the work i've been doing lately is photo based and centers around the tenderloin/tendernob neighborhood that i've been living in for the past two years.

All of the work for this show will be based around the idea of group interactions and how the individual contributes to the larger picture. Another thing i want to concentrate on with this series is action outside of what the viewer can see.

With most of my work i try to bring attention to things that people tend to overlook. On a day to day basis we just do our thing, pretty wrapped up in our own little worlds, too busy to take the time and see what's really going on around us. So i figure i should maybe show people what they're missing. . The corner depicted is jones@o'farrell in front of the Gazebo smoke shop. On a seperate occasion i went back to shoot some reference and almost got into a fight with a crack dealer whose pic i snapped. fun stuff."

By Ryan Malley

Friday, November 10, 2006

Micke Tong

"Fate Be the Hand Spike"
Digital Illugraphy - giclee print/wood/resin

"The name "Fate Be the Hand Spike" was taken from a quote from Captain Ahab in Melville's novel, Moby Dick. I believe he lets fate be the destiny of his existence. In this piece I'm trying to tell several stories at once. Two lovers are the only ones to escape a sinking cruise liner only to be possibly smashed by a massive Sperm whale (symbolic for Procreation). Inscribed on the side of the boat in Arabic is "Love of God" which adds to the age old controversy of politics and religion. If you look closely the two lovers kissing are a Muslim woman and a Jewish man. With the Love of God who can stop us? mmmmm, maybe fate?

Much of my work is painstaking hand drawn with a computer mouse, why I haven't moved on to a Wacom tablet is beyond me. At times preparations come from photographs that I have taken or templates from hand drawings. Although a lot of the times I just end up freestyling the illustrations. Those digital stars have become a style trademark for me the past few years and have complimented my work; functioning as sky, clouds and motion. Digital art has come a long way and its in my interest to develop new techniques in this contemporary movement to tell my stories."

By Micke Tong

Micke Tong's work will be on display at Lab 101 and Project galleries in LA in December and is currently on display at Swarm Gallery in Oakland.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Beth Bojarski

"What lies beneath..."
12 1/2" x 16".
oil painting on wood
Currently on display at Varnish Gallery, SF thru Dec. 9th

"I paint mainly in oils. I have just begun using acrylics as well, but I love the feel of oil paints as you move them around the board. The work I have created for Varnish is for a show entitled "Life Aquatic". After sitting down to begin painting with this theme in mind, I knew I had to start off with a piece about how I hate the water. Why? Because a boyfriend once told me while we were splashing around in Lake Michigan that there was a body that hadn't been found from days earlier somewhere in the lake (he made this up) and if I felt anything touch me, it might be that.

Hence, it's years later and I still don't like the water.... "

by Beth Bojarski

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Josh Keyes

"To Whom It May Concern"
Pencil and gouache on bristol board
Currently on display at 111 Minna Gallery, SF thru Dec. 2nd

"Utopian and dystopian or anti-utopian narratives fascinate me. It is curious to see on a daily basis, the signs and forms of perfection and the promise of temporal happiness in advertisements, commercials, billboards, and places of amusement. Las Vegas and Disneyland embody this promise of satisfying every desire through their hyperrealist environment. My work explores the polarity between utopian and dystopian ideas. I like to play with images, to organize them in such a way that the relationship between them creates a new reading or an unanticipated narrative of unfolding events. This piece was a response to seeing a mailbox covered in graffiti. I was thinking of letters, messages, and information. Forgotten and misplaced dialogues. I was also thinking of what the world might be like with an increase of global warming. Animals would migrate to new areas depending on the change in temperature. Ecosystems would begin to merge and overlap. new relationships and interactions would evolve.

I envisioned a future where society had broken down into a feudal system, people had become nomadic and tribal, hanging on to the remnants of technology and culture. The title refers to a letter that had been written long ago warning of the events to come. "To Whom It May Concern", poses the question, who is the "Whom" that should be concerned about the state of increased consumption and degradation of the environment? The grass is overgrown, litter and debris salt the landscape. The diagrammatic quality of my work allows me to incorporate the narrative of time, such as that strata of the earths layers, to lift or cut through layers to see the structure and root systems, like skin. I have experimented with incorporating backgrounds in my work but I find the white space is an effective device for creating a feeling of detachment and objectification that supports the subject matter.

My intention is to create work that asks questions about the implications of urban sprawl and its impact on the environment. I am interested in creating psychological narratives set in closed systems that express the behavior of and the interaction between humans and animals. The dystopian model creates a dynamic playing field where I can experiment with these ideas and forms."

by Josh Keyes

A little info about Josh: He's 37, lives and works in his apartment in Oakland and can break dance! although, he says he's a little bit rusty.

GO CHECK OUT THIS PIECE and more at 111 Minna Gallery until December 2nd!