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Evolution of an artist.
January 8, 2008 6:17 AM   Subscribe

Evolution of an artist.
posted by loquacious (66 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was neat, the about-face into psychedelic new age stuff seemed inevitable in retrospect.
posted by sciurus at 6:26 AM on January 8, 2008


I . . . I dunno. He seems like an interesting guy with with an interesting story (and, frankly, he's hot as hell if you shop on that side of the aisle), but when you look at all his later work it's so pretentious and juvenile I can't stop cringing at it.

He had a few interesting ideas in 1999, but his trips abroad do not seem to have helped. Quite the opposite, in fact. Entirely the opposite.
posted by Ryvar at 6:30 AM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


He's got tickets on himself.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 6:30 AM on January 8, 2008


He improved markedly after 2000, obviously art college. His best work is the stuff without people in it.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 6:32 AM on January 8, 2008


but when you look at all his later work it's so pretentious and juvenile I can't stop cringing at it.

One thing I noticed was that he was actually selling stuff on eBay. I bet that would have a pretty strong 'market effect' on an artist, really pushing them to paint stuff that sells, refining their craft based on what people want to buy.

So I'm not sure it's entirely fair to blame him for his rather bland subject matter :P.
posted by delmoi at 6:35 AM on January 8, 2008


I was with this guy's progression right up until the nose-dive into hippie-dom. "I got high in the amazon for a year, then started painting pictures of eyeballs." Ugh.

The candle at the end was nice, though. And the advancing-age picture box of the artist growing up was really entertaining.
posted by Pecinpah at 6:35 AM on January 8, 2008


Obviously, I mainly posted this for the interesting progression - but I also like the simpleness and sort of honesty of the art itself.

It kind of illustrates how art isn't really dark magic or anything. It really can be reduced to something as simple as messing around with pencil, ink or paint until you get something you like. It doesn't have to be more. It really is all about the process, experimentation and your own personal experience with it - and practice.

And everyone starts out with scribbles and doodles.
posted by loquacious at 6:42 AM on January 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


I also liked his candle painting far more than his other work. He should continue in that vein of careful naturalistic observation, IMHO.
posted by bullitt 5 at 6:44 AM on January 8, 2008


"I got high in the amazon for a year, then started painting pictures of eyeballs." Ugh.

I'm not so sure I see a problem here, much less anything worth expression in the form of a pensive grunt.

I wish I would have cataloged more of my old stuff from childhood, the last scraps I could find were pulled out of my old roll up desk from elementary school stored in my folks basement, dusty and bent out of shape.

I agree that it's also clear invested a lot more time in his craft studies or attended a traditional school after his commitment to service duty, you don't get an eye for landscape or logo design by doodling on linepaper day after day unless you are markedly more exceptional at conceptual rendering from the outset.

Thanks for the interesting post, loquacious!
posted by prostyle at 6:50 AM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


The candle looks like it was painted from a photograph (nothing wrong with that).

I like some of the sketchy watercolors the best - but after years of art school myself (blech) I tend to prefer simple, honest artistic expressions to overwrought serious stuff any day.

-- interesting to note...I remember making a lot of swirly patterny things when I was about the same age. Must be a teenage art-boy thing.
posted by device55 at 6:55 AM on January 8, 2008


"The candle looks like it was painted from a photograph"

The photographer seems to agree with you.
posted by effbot at 7:10 AM on January 8, 2008


This is really lame.
posted by xmutex at 7:12 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


"The candle looks like it was painted from a photograph"

The photographer seems to agree with you.
posted by effbot at 7:12 AM on January 8, 2008


Interesting to see how the aesthetic sense develops over time. But art-wise, the Hyde Park railings on Bayswater Road await.
posted by WPW at 7:14 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is all pretty jr - senior high art class... Glad he's getting work, but... meh.
posted by stenseng at 7:17 AM on January 8, 2008


Dear every artist in the world,
Take a month or so and make one of these. I know this may mean that you have to call your estranged parents. Omit nothing! I know that your results will be, like this fellow's, intermittently embarrassing and breath-taking, though probably not in the same places where you expect. I could seriously watch these for days.

Please and Thanks,
Little Bobby Pleasanthanks
posted by es_de_bah at 7:30 AM on January 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


delmoi, I think you misunderstood what Ryvar was saying. It's not the stuff he was selling on eBay that was cringe-worthy. It's the stuff he did after trying to find the secrets of life in the Amazon. I agree, as it just smacks of the "Xavier, Renegade Angel" new-agey mentality.
posted by piratebowling at 7:30 AM on January 8, 2008


The only painting I liked for itself was the candle. But while I was a little disappointed that this guy has not (yet) turned into someone with work I find really interesting, I love the fact that he keeps working on his art and has obviously progressed in several ways. A lot of people have some natural talent and don't have the work ethic or confidence that he has, so he's ahead of the pack for that alone.

It would be interesting if he just kept that page going. I'd want to look in every year or so to see where he's going.
posted by maudlin at 7:33 AM on January 8, 2008


Well he seems to have definitely traced that candle.
posted by dobbs at 7:46 AM on January 8, 2008


Given that the candle painting appears to be a Photoshop job (see the link I posted earlier, and the GIF animation on that page), I'm not sure "work ethic" is the right word to use here.
posted by effbot at 7:48 AM on January 8, 2008


Loquacious, you kinda blew it. This isn't evolution; it's obviously intelligent design. :)
posted by Malor at 7:50 AM on January 8, 2008


I was referring to the work ethic shown by his portfolio as a whole. Yeah, it's ironic that the only thing I liked was the one with the least effort put into it, but on the other hand, the other stuff all looks lovingly home made.
posted by maudlin at 7:52 AM on January 8, 2008


So somewhere in 10th grade, in between the tank and the swirly red sunset-and-cactus-type-desert scene, he discovered drugs?
posted by kcds at 7:57 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


here is a comparison I did in Photoshop. He definitely traced it pretty exactly, although some of the details are different.
posted by delmoi at 8:10 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I liked the progression, and the portrait he sold to low-rider, but when he got into the pretty trees all in a row and the psychedelic stuff, I lost interest. Still I wish I had kept my own sketches from back in high school now, because this is a fun idea.
posted by misha at 8:20 AM on January 8, 2008


MetaFilter needs to Holden Karnofsky this guy over the candle picture. Get him fired, demoted, humiliated, make a lot of smug self righteous MeTa posts about it. Who is game?
posted by xmutex at 8:21 AM on January 8, 2008


Well, you could at least make sure that all the money he made from that photograph is donated to some worthy cause. Oh, wait...
posted by effbot at 8:37 AM on January 8, 2008


I'd say his art pretty much sums up ayahuasca, only he left out the giant insect gods and the jeweled jaguar.
posted by iamck at 8:38 AM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


His artistic peak was May 18, 1983. It's the last one with any real emotion coming through. Everything else is surface play.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:47 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Get him fired, demoted, humiliated, make a lot of smug self righteous MeTa posts about it.

• Holden wasn't fired
• He was demoted but has the same salary
• He was not really humiliated, at least based on the number and strength of apologies made for his behavior by his friends and colleagues
• There were two Metatalk posts about Holden, neither of which appear to have been smug or self-righteous
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:48 AM on January 8, 2008


Regardless of the quality of his current work, it's neat to see it lined up chronologically like that. Next time I hear someone say, "I just can't draw at all," I think I'll direct them to this page. No one can draw at first -- they can only push the pencil around and hope to arrive at something recognizable by accident.

Maybe his work wound up kinda mediocre, but this webpage is rad. Also, the teenage pride evident on his Wolverine portrait, signed twice, is adorable.
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:49 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Evolution? He's 30 years old and hasn't learned or mastered the very basics of drawing. It's a bunch of doodles about marijuana and Metallica "evolving" into some commercial paintings - horrible Tuscan trees which were popular on mouse mats circa 2003.
posted by fire&wings at 9:00 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't know. That age 5 self portrait is pretty rad.
posted by aftermarketradio at 9:05 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


then move to Santa Cruz

that was inevitable . . .
posted by panamax at 9:07 AM on January 8, 2008


I like how you can tell the exact point in high school when he started smoking pot..
posted by jokeefe at 9:10 AM on January 8, 2008


The Self is Within.

No... that's impossible.... but, wait....
YOU JUST BLEW MY MIND DUDE.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:20 AM on January 8, 2008


• He was not really humiliated, at least based on the number and strength of apologies made for his behavior by his friends and colleagues
• There were two Metatalk posts about Holden, neither of which appear to have been smug or self-righteous


Perhaps you and I have a different yardstick for smug and self-righteous. I am certain that this is the case.
posted by xmutex at 9:24 AM on January 8, 2008


Dugg for the Alfred E. Neuman in the sixth grade.
posted by fungible at 9:26 AM on January 8, 2008


Y'know, I quite like the Tuscan landscapes. It doesn't look to me like they were intended as SRS BIZNEZZ ART; it looks like he was trying out some technical ideas.

That being said, I quite like the sense of loneliness and emptiness and horrid rigid conformity in them. Quite different from the usual imagery you see of Tuscany.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:43 AM on January 8, 2008


Dugg for the Alfred E. Neuman in the sixth grade.

That was the only one I really liked as well. That and Snoop.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:53 AM on January 8, 2008


Evolution of an illustrator.

His portraiture is weak.

He traced, or projected the candle.

2002 "testing the limits of his imagination" resulted in a square on a rectangle.

The Mondrian looking thing confuses me, doesn't he have anything else to show?
posted by Max Power at 10:18 AM on January 8, 2008


Alfred E. Neuman, stippling, contours, bug-eyed buck-toothed doodles, wonky portraits of celebrities, hours spent shading copies of magazine ads with a 2B pencil, it's that bad dream that came true when this isolated awkward boy with the practical but unexciting goal of becoming an accountant was asked by a Grade 12 art teacher, who was probably a lad when Charles Dana Gibson was still being invited to all the best parties, if he'd ever considered becoming an illustrator.

[46 years old and still gets tripped up by the very basics of drawing]
posted by TimTypeZed at 10:19 AM on January 8, 2008


Evolution of a [dreadful] artist.
posted by QuietDesperation at 10:26 AM on January 8, 2008


46 years old and still gets tripped up by the very basics of drawing

That's too bad, I'd love to see you pen something down so that when you displayed it in public someone could walk along and stop for a minute to kick you in the teeth over it.
posted by prostyle at 10:43 AM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


What's with all the hate! That painting of the fingerprint with the words in it (deep words like GUILT, DEATH, and FEMALE) is profoundly moving. He's baring his soul to us with this paintings of fingerprints and eyeballs.

Honestly, do you people understand art at all?
posted by aladfar at 10:48 AM on January 8, 2008


Good lord what is wrong with some of you. You don't like his art. Fine.

How often do you get to see the progression of an artist like this? Never.

Too bad we can't all be as skilled as the rest of the critics in here, who obviously know art when they see it. Sheesh.
posted by Big_B at 11:16 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Needs more urine-soaked crucifixes.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:18 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm not feeling the hate either.
A little derision, maybe, but nothing out of proportion.
Sure, he's not one of the great artists of our time. But it's interesting as a glimpse into the life of someone I wouldn't otherwise have encountered.
posted by bassjump at 11:28 AM on January 8, 2008


I don't know art, but I know what I hate.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:30 AM on January 8, 2008


I'm unimpressed with the art, but that's perhaps taste. I did love the progression--though it was strangely spotty. Some leaps forward and a lot of steps backward, which I think shows signs of a willingness to learn. I hope the new agey stuff shows some progress, the rainbow-eyeball was pretty grim and the candle is now a bit disappointing given its likely origin. The abstract stuff seemed to be someone who had heard of abstract but didn't really use their imagination to take it anywhere.
posted by maxwelton at 11:52 AM on January 8, 2008


Totally enjoyed that progression, thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 12:09 PM on January 8, 2008


Thank god for Ayahuasca. Those trees were going to end me.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:16 PM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was just out buying groceries at my local supermarket and I saw one of his trees paintings for sale.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:28 PM on January 8, 2008


His black and white sketchbook stuff from his 'drawing for black-light posters period' around 96-99 is good for what it is. His stuff since then is a real let down. It is like he decided to be artistic and that meant doing stuff that other people were doing. I really like the site and his work isn't bad. It is just a shame he couldn't apply the better drawing techniques he acquired to stuff that it seems like he liked to do.

There was a guy in the BFA program where I went to school who painted nothing but cowboy elves. Like wild west people with pointed ears, big oil paintings of them. Sort of anime even. He shouldn't have done what he liked to do.
posted by I Foody at 2:24 PM on January 8, 2008


How often do you get to see the progression of an artist like this? Never.

They have these things called art history books where they do exactly that. Some of them even go on for a couple of thousand pages, each one building off the last, slowly progressing through history.

Except in art history books the paintings tend to get better over time. Everything on this guy's site looks like it was a last minute 2-D Design 101 project done by a freshman art student who stayed up too late smoking weed at the local drum circle.
posted by bradbane at 3:21 PM on January 8, 2008


He shouldn't have done what he liked to do.

What?

There was a guy at my college who liked painting Bea Arthur, and Abraham Lincoln as superman, and did a whole show of only paintings of Edward Norton. Fucking freak, right? Do what you like to do or else why bother with art school??
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:33 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I agree, as it just smacks of the "Xavier, Renegade Angel" new-agey mentality.

Hmmwha? That show (made by the guys who did the gloriously transgressive and frequently deliberately crappy Wonder Showzen) is all about acid, dada, fucking with Poser and other 3-d modelling programs, and taking the piss out of that new-agey mentality with gleeful savagery. It veers between partially-polished speedball genius and total crap, not unlike the linked artist's work, it might even be argued.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:27 PM on January 8, 2008


said Big_B
How often do you get to see the progression of an artist like this? Never.
You may enjoy MindCandyMan's sketchbook. [Artistic nudity warning]
posted by theiconoclast31 at 6:30 PM on January 8, 2008


yes, stavros, that's what I was saying. What's the "Hmmwha?" about?
posted by piratebowling at 6:32 PM on January 8, 2008


yes, stavros, that's what I was saying. What's the "Hmmwha?" about?

Sorry, it sounded like you were suggesting that the show actually takes new-agey stuff seriously in some way, which blew my mind, man. Did I misunderstand, and you meant that this guy's art similarly intends to take the piss out of new-agery?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:36 PM on January 8, 2008


No, I meant he seems to be taking the stuff that Xavier makes fun of seriously. I guessmy original statement didn't make that all oo clear. Oh well, no harm, no foul.

I nearly typed up "no fowl." Must've had wonderchicken on the brain.
posted by piratebowling at 8:38 PM on January 8, 2008


to kick you in the teeth over it.

It's probably not clear from what I wrote, but I was referring to myself when I mentioned the guy who was steered away from a solid middle-class accounting career towards art school by a well-meaning but dangerous teacher. Because my life portfolio would also display this mishmash of styles and subject matter. And it would also identify me as a person with a minor hobby-level talent and limited visual imagination. I'm (at 46) still struggling with fundamentals, and always will be. I don't know, maybe people who excel at visual art would have similar portfolios from their youth, but my guess is that you'd see a flare in their work that just isn't evident here.

I wasn't trying to hate on the guy. I like his Tuscan landscapes (although he seems to turn it into a formula). I identified a little. Maybe he wouldn't appreciate that.

Just trying to save my teeth here.
posted by TimTypeZed at 10:37 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Tuscany landscapes are pleasant.
posted by nthdegx at 12:38 AM on January 9, 2008


He should give up art. Everyone should give up art. After all, when was the last time someone complained about art not being created by someone? Never happens. But take up a pencil or brush and people will line up around the block to tell you how fucking horrible you are at what you do.

After we get people to stop drawing and painting, then we can move on to stopping people from creating music or writing novels.

Think about how glorious it will be once we've eliminated all these horrible assaults on our senses!
posted by Bugbread at 7:23 AM on January 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


His artistic peak was May 18, 1983. It's the last one with any real emotion coming through. Everything else is surface play.

Whoa. That's exactly what I just thought.
posted by humannaire at 12:15 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Everyone on this thread's favorite artist sucks.
posted by not_on_display at 7:06 PM on January 12, 2008


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