Monday Funday: Signs by Chris Ballas

IMG_0107.JPG

Sign maker Chris Ballas‘ art show during First Friday Santa Cruz earlier this month reminded me of two things – all the signage I saw cruising around town on my bike as a kid and a list of my adult vices including beer and tattoos. Adorning the walls of Rosie McCann’s Irish Pub & Restaurant were hand painted signs from the young artist who values traditional hand lettering technique and exudes old school style.

Merging art and function, Ballas’ work is clean, simple, and approachable. His art showcases an attention to detail and honors classic craftsmanship. Not overworked nor complicated, his pieces are much more literal and still playful. With such a clear and creative point of view, Ballas is definitely an artist to keep an eye on!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Fresh Friday Finds: Caia Koopman

GreaseMonkey_CaiaKoopman
“Grease Monkey” Painting © Caia Koopman

I first discovered Santa Cruz artist Caia Koopman a few weeks after moving here in fall 2013. She was showing and selling some pieces at Rachael & Steve Caballero’s old Bela La Vie Boutique & Gallery in Campbell. I even featured that “Gear Up” show in an old blog post on .stART here. Little did I know I’d become such a huge fan after seeing Koopman’s surrealistic masterpieces in person that night.

DreamEscape_CaiaKoopman
“Dream Escape” Painting © Caia Koopman

What I find so rad about Koopman’s work are the rich dreamscapes and activist themes. She even refers to herself as being an “artivist” on her Instagram (super clever!). The majority of her art features women exuding femininity juxtaposed with being badass, ready to kick ass and take names. Gorgeously woven into the portraits are animals, like hummingbirds, owls, dragons, and unicorns. I love the ethereal approach she takes on realistic issues, and I basically want to be or be friends with every woman she paints! All inspired by her enthusiasm for skate culture, punk rock roots, and love of animals – I feel like we’re kindred spirits.

let-me-out_CaiaKoopman.jpg
“Let Me Out” Painting © Caia Koopman
moonrise-owl_caiakoopman
“Moonrise Owl” Painting © Caia Koopman

I often see Koopman’s work displayed at restaurants and galleries all over town. I’d be stoked every time I could spot her art, recognizing the symbolic look and feel. The same unreal style seen in collections of Caia Koopman products, like shirts, leggings, jewelry, and more.

BubotheWiseOwl
❤ my new watch!

I always regretted not buying a print that night in Campbell. I must have gone back and forth, in and out of the shop, trying to decide which print and what size about five times. In the end, I walked away with nil. It’s now three years since I first saw those original Koopman’s, and I finally own one as of earlier this week. It’s not a painting but rather a more functional, wearable piece of Koopman art – a Bubo the Wise Owl Sport from Modify Watches. It’s so sick, and I’ve already gotten tons of compliments the few times I’ve rocked it. Can’t wait to add to my collection with a painting one of these days!

Caia Koopman has work featured in some upcoming group shows here in California. First, at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles opening on August 27 for their 10th Anniversary Exhibition and Femme to Femme Fatale: The Feminine in Contemporary Art show at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco opening September 17. Do yourself a favor, and visit caiakoopman.com to check out this Fresh Friday Finds!

Hump Day Hot Seat: Anthony “weird*eye*one”

AnthonyWeirdEyeOne_HumpDayHotSeatPhoto © Jason Vasquez, Hump Day Hot Seat Alum

1. Who are you?

I’m Anthony “weird*eye*one” and I currently live at the beach in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. I’m originally from Newark & Roselle Park.

2. What do you do?

I’m an artist, muralist, illustrator.. and A street ninja (aka, street artist). For years, I painted my characters & art everywhere I could, and I made small panels with my art on them, then glued them up everywhere, high up on buildings, signs, trees, vans, trucks, wherever. I’m semi-retired from that now, but I still paint my art on walls at abandoned buildings, and I still put up panels every once in awhile too. It’s cool to know that people will put the effort in to collecting those little street panels.

These days, well, the last four years actually, I’ve been putting more focus on my studio work and painting murals, showing my work in galleries and doing commissions for my collectors/fans. Recently my art work has made it to galleries in Australia and Japan for a few upcoming group shows.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

Oops, I covered some of that in the last answer.. Well anyway, I was always drawing when I was a kid and making stuff. I went to Seton Hall for college, learned some stuff there, managed to keep my own style & vision through it all. Also, for years I filled up tons of sketchbooks, most of which I gave away, either the whole book or just individual pages. I stuck to this one character, which was kinda box shaped, sometimes he would look fun and friendly, and other times he looked downright evil. This character is what I started painting everywhere, on walls, trucks, abandoned buildings, freight trains. Eventually, the characters were joined by abstract patterns and this carried over to my studio work that I showed in galleries.

Now, over the last two years in my murals, I’ve been slowly dropping my famous characters and keeping the abstract patterns, and arranging them in some sort of shape and motion. My studio work has evolved into something different, but I still keep the style & patterns that I’ve always used over the years. It’s just more detailed now and I’m using the negative space more around the main images in my paintings. Another thing most people will notice and have noticed with my work in the galleries is there are the illustrated works that I do and larger abstract “mash-up” paintings, which are smaller versions of my giant murals that I do outside.

4. How long have you been at it?

Since 1999, doing stuff pretty much “under the radar” by staying anonymous whenever I would paint my characters on walls. The little wood panels I was putting up all over the place, I would write my name on them and they were pretty consistent with the art I was putting on walls, so people were starting to make the connection. So, when I started showing my work in group shows and eventually solo shows, I already had a pretty good following that came from my street art. I have taken breaks here and there from my work, and last year I took about 9 months off after Hurricane Sandy because I needed to get my house back in order. It was a good break for me though, probably one I needed at the time.

 5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

Besides being an artist & a muralist, I’m also a commercial artist too. I paint and design for the home fashion textiles industry, it’s something I do on the side throughout the week. It’s actually pretty fun and it allows me to change things up during the week so I’m not only working on my own art.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

Too many to mention… Well, I’ll start with the artists whose art work I’m lucky to own.. Alex Pardee (who I’ve actually become friends with. He’s one crazy talented guy, but super down to earth). I also admire Jeff Soto, Sylvia Ji, Nychos The Weird, ROID, Dan Witz, AMUSE, Meres, RIME (aka, Jersey Joe), ASKEW.. and The list goes on.. Oh yea, Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo.

 7. What other types of work are you into?

I like everything from graffiti, low brow, surreal to the classics and some sculpture type work. I also like comic book art and some anime.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

Well, hobbies, I guess photography and no that doesn’t only cover me taking pictures of my murals, haha.. I do on occasion go out and just take pictures of stuff.

Unique talents.. I’m an expert at roasting vegetables, all kinds and somehow they remain firm and crunchy! I make some amazing hummus and falafel from scratch, and probably the hottest salsa on the planet. I use ghost peppers and habaneros!! So yea, it’s pretty hot.

 9. What’s your favorite vice?

I would have to say art is my vice and painting my art on walls. That’s why I’m glad I got some abandoned buildings that are my “secret” spots where I go paint whenever and whatever I feel like painting, plus experimenting with some different ideas and techniques. I like having my secret spots to use when I’m in between the “legal” mural projects I get.. Or else I’m pretty sure I would be doing plenty of illegal painting elsewhere!

I’m also addicted to collecting vinyl toys from Kid Robot and I like all things dark chocolate!!

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

When I hit a “block”, I just relax, maybe do a little sketching. I’ll go do some gallery hopping, look around the internet at other artists, blogs and sometimes wander around Queens or Brooklyn looking at graffiti and street art.

I’m sad that 5 Pointz is gone, that place was so inspiring to me!

Luckily, I’ve been on a roll and full of ideas now for the past 14 months.

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

Yes, I eat food, haha!! I’m a vegan.. When I’m painting at a wall for an entire day or an entire weekend, I usually have bananas, a container of peanut butter and some granola. Just some easy snacking food to eat when I take short breaks from painting. I do like to cook food, but I suck at baking! My diet is plant based, healthy, yada yada, but I like my junk vegan food like the awesome vegan donuts I get most Sundays from Cinnamon Snail in Red Bank. They’re so good!! I even like to make tofu scrambles with chipotle peppers and seitan.

12. Tell me about the last time a project blew up in your face?

Every single time I’ve tried to bake a cake, haha! For real, I’ve had a few paintings that I was simply not happy with and this happened when I’m about 90% done with them. The re-do ends up being significantly better, way better! However, I can count on just one hand how many times this has happened, so it’s a rare occurrence.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My parents, my sister, her new husband and my niece, so basically my family.

My camera. My two external hard drives that hold photos of every single piece of art and mural I’ve ever created. My Windsor & Newton paint brushes that I’ve had forever.

Hump Day Hot Seat: James Austin Murray

 

James

©Max Noy Photo

1. Who are you? 

My name is James Austin Murray. I used to go by Jim Murray, but if you Google “Jim Murray artist,” good luck finding me. Now I go by my full name.

2. What do you do? 

I build and make paintings, what I mean by build them is I make the solid substrates they’re on and shape them as a starting place for the painting.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start? 

I’ve been making art of some sort since high school. I studied Illustration at Parsons School of Design, and I spent a long time doing work that was in some ways illustrative, but now my work has become completely abstract. I find it so much more engaging and the work evolves differently than figurative work.

4. How long have you been at it? 

See above.

5. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?  

Richard Serra for his ability to do massive powerful works that have magic. I also admire many artists who’s names are not yet household names. A few of those are Diane Scott, Keiko Narahashi, Mark Zimmermann, Alex Couwenberg, Valerie Brennan, Susan Carr, Erika Diehl, Don Voisine and lots of other living, hard working artists. There are so many excellent artists working today.

6. What other types of art are you in to?  

I’m pretty impressed by all artists and artisans, particularly by people who believe in what they do and have found a way to do it life long. I have huge respect for the artist that never gets to show much and works their entire life. To me it shows that they are or were true believers in their artistic endeavor.

7. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?  

I collect art, it’s not so much a hobby as it is a love. I think it’s important for an artist to understand what motivates a collector and there is no better way of doing that than collecting. It’s also becoming a retirement account. I don’t know about stocks, but art I know what I fall in love with. Yet it’s something I hope never to have to sell. Lots of people think that collecting art is exclusively for the rich. I spend an average of maybe $1000 a year, that’s less than someone spends if they smoke two packs of cigarettes per week.

8. What’s your favorite vice? 

Lust and Italian wine!

9. How do you make it over the creative hump?  

I can’t relate to artistic block anymore. I have a daily studio practice, and it’s about getting work done. There’s always busy work I can do if I’m not feeling “on” so that when I am feeling clear headed and ready to rock, my studio is ready for me.

10. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?  

I would eat Japanese every day if I could afford it. I’m a decent cook. I learned initially from my friend June Chung who taught me how to cook Italian food in France. He had lived in Italy when he was learning to sing Opera.

11. What is your most prized possession? 

I think it has to be my workspace. I could loose everything and be OK if I could continue to have a space to make work. It’s my personal rabbit hole and my playroom.

 

 

 

 

Fresh Friday Finds: Alison Jardine

Contemporary visual artist Alison Jardine is today’s Fresh Friday Finds. This Dallas based artist, originally from Yorkshire, England, finds inspiration in nature and is an Artist-in-Residence at the Dallas Arboretum. Check out her gorgeous oil on canvas series, “Natural Abstractions,” here.

sunlight-silence-screenSunlight and Silence, 50″ x 50″ oil on canvas. © Alison Jardine

canopyofsunlightThe Pixel Tree: Sunlight Canopy, 36″ x 60″ oil on canvas. © Alison Jardine

Decypher-showimage-screenDecypher, 46″ x 46″ oil on canvas. © Alison Jardine

3995638880_4ccbcc1330

Starry Night Before Dawn, 50″ x 50″ oil on canvas. © Alison Jardine

From AlisonJardine.com:

In these contemporary reinterpretations of the traditional genre of landscapes, I use colors, light and composition to explore my own sense of wilderness, the environment we live in, people in my life and my sense of self. In this series, I began using the idea of the ‘pixel’ as a ubiquitous intermediary between our society and nature, altering not only our aesthetic palettes, but also our understanding of our place in the  natural world.As the series progressed, I developed upon my idea of digital media as an intermediary during my process of creation, and the image distortion this introduces.

Monday Funday: Art Openings

I’M BAAACKKK! I’ve been on hiatus since my west coast move in September but am back at this blogging thing with my first official Cali-based post, a Monday Funday feature. These are friendly Monday reminders to always live in the moment, get out and have fun!

Today, I’ve got my hand picked calendar of this week’s events across the country.

NEW YORK CITY 

March 6th – 9th: The Armory Show at Piers 92 & 94 from 12p – 7p

TheArmoryShow

The Armory Show is one that I’ve always wanted to check out but constantly said, “next time.” This annual contemporary and modern art fair is the largest in New York City, showcasing over 2,000 artists from hundreds of galleries around the globe. So if you’re in the area and can treat yourself to sensory overload at its best, go for it! Tickets start at $40 day passes to $75 run of show passes. For more information, visit www.thearmoryshow.com.

JERSEY CITY, NJ

March 7th (JC Fridays): E. Tittlemouse & Co. presents “Women Power JC” at 246 Bay St. from 6p – 8p

Women Power JC

Who run the world?! Girls. This event presented by E. Tittlemouse & Co. features the diversity of Jersey City female artists and their talents. My friend, Rika Gunawan, will be there with her unique collection of handmade, limited edition hair accessories for women and children of all ages, Republic of Pigtails. Stop by and say hi!

This is just one of many events during this month’s “JC Fridays” presented by Art House Productions.  For a full calendar of events, visit www.jcfridays.com.

JCFRIDAYS March7

BOONTON, NJ

March 7th: Anthony “Weird Eye” One’s “Something Wild” at Speakeasy Art Gallery 816 Main Street from 6p – 9p

AnthonyWeirdEyeOneI first met Anthony “Weird Eye” One back in March 2012 at his “Colorful Eye Candy” solo show and quickly became a fan of his work. Two years later, this painter, muralist and street artist takes his intricately patterned style of “movement and motion” and evolves into “Something Wild.” Watch “Weird Eye” One discuss the upcoming show presented by Speakeasy Art Gallery and check out a sneak peek here. For more event information, visit www.weirdeyedesigns.com.

SAN JOSE, CA                                                                                                    

March 7th: “Tangible: a handprinted exhibition” at Seeing Things Gallery 30 N. Third Street from 7p – 10p

127_SEEING THINGS_PRESS

127_SEEING-THINGS_PRESS-2

I finally got to check out Seeing Things Gallery, owned and operated by photographer Jai Tanju last month. I caught the current “Let’s Meet in the Middle” show featuring individual and collaborative mixed media artwork from husband and wife, David Imlay & Ana Carolina Pesce Imlay. This Friday, a new show, “Tangible” opens where the artists “have created photographs in the traditional sense, using their hands to make a physical object.” For more information, visit www.seeingthingsgallery.com.

FIRST FRIDAY SANTA CRUZ, CA

March 7th

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 2.12.02 AM

I couldn’t be more thrilled that Santa Cruz has tons of talented local artists and an abundance of inspiration to offer! I’m stoked to see as much as I can this Friday but really interested in trying to check out the following:

For a complete event listing, visit www.firstfridaysantacruz.com.

Art Opening: Caia Koopman’s “Gear up” at Bela La Vie Boutique & Gallery

The “Gear up” show featuring paintings by pop surrealist Caia Koopman at Rachael and Steve Caballero‘s Bela La Vie Boutique & Gallery is this Saturday, October 19 from 7-10pm at 311 E. Campbell Ave. in Campbell, CA. Come support local shops & artists if you are around!

Caia Koopman Gear Up Art Show Bela La Vie Boutique

From CaiaKoopman.com:

From the land of surf and sea, Caia Koopman has emerged as one of lowbrow’s preeminent female artists.

With a well-rounded background from her years spent obtaining her BA in Fine arts from UC Santa Cruz, to her time spent in the skateboarding and snowboarding scenes, Caia’s environment has both molded and provided an eclectic background that makes her paintings come to life. With her fine detail for beauty, inclinations toward nature, and collectiveness of the female spirit, Caia has quickly become one of the quintessential artists fully encompassing the elegance, strengths, and vulnerabilities of femininity.

Her work is alluring and has a hint of whimsy. It delves into the fascination of women, in both our conscious and subconscious ideals of the feminine role in society. Caia consistently submerses herself in subject that matter that is ingrained and full of cultural connotations.

Caia’s work is infused with a variety of cultural, political, environmental, sociological, and dreamscape references. Her influences serve as an amalgamation bringing her world to life through deliberate references and reverent imagery, with the finished work deriving strength and beauty from the artist herself. Her playfulness in her brush strokes is a constant struggle with the reality and solidity of the paint itself which comes across in her work as complimentary forces bringing together a gorgeous and powerful masterpiece.

Monday Funday: PULSE Contemporary Art Fair at The Metropolitan Pavilion

IMG_5652

New York City played host to a trifecta of art fairs that brought in hundreds of gallery owners, artists, and contemporary art work from around the world this weekend. Frieze at Randall’s Island, NADA at Pier 36, and I was lucky enough to attend the third, PULSE New York at The Metropolitan Pavilion. I arrived there with my friend Skims, and we were immediately drawn in by the first booth of exhibitors, The West Collection (Pennsylvania). I gravitated toward the two pieces below and complete sensory overload commenced.

IMG_5735

Photo ©Bernadette Cruz

IMG_5737

Detail of 2011-24, watercolor, acrylic, gouache, screen print. ©Alex Lukas

IMG_5736

Detail of 2011-26, watercolor, acrylic, gouache, screen print. ©Alex Lukas

I knew very quickly that I was going to walk through the rest of the art show as if I was in a dream. I was in art heaven, if I believed there was such a thing, floating on cloud nine taking in the photographs, sculptures, installations, paintings, and all the hard work and emotions that come with. After meeting up with more friends to enjoy the show with, Skims and I left cultural stimulated a little more than two hours later. We grabbed a bite to eat nearby, and I didn’t even need a drink – now that’s rare!

See more photos I took of the gorgeously inspiring artworks below, including a friend of .stART here. Allison Green‘s “Everything Changes” series, which chronicles the life cycle of sunflowers, with exhibitor Susan Eley Fine Art (New York).

IMG_5676

Sunflowers, Oil on Canvas, 60″ X 48″. ©Allison Green

IMG_5726 IMG_5727

©William Betts at Richard Levy (New Mexico)

IMG_5704

IMG_5706

natural pigments and acrylic on canvas. ©Salustiano at Kavachnina Contemporary (Florida)

IMG_5724

IMG_5722

Embassy, mixed media on heavy paper. ©Abel Barroso at Embassy Pan American Art Projects (Florida)

IMG_5693

IMG_5690

Las Conquistadoras, acrylic on paper in artist frames, dimensions of installation vary. ©Carol K. Brown at Nohra Haime Gallery (New York)

IMG_5670

Discipline Considered an Option, c-print mounted on aluminum, 45″ X 69″. ©Rune Guneriussen at Waltman Ortega Fine Art (Miami – Paris)

IMG_5713

Piazza San Marco, hand cut archival paper, 50″ X 85.5″. Thomas Witte at Davidson Contemporary (New York)

IMG_5708 IMG_5707

©Scherer & Ouporov at Kavachnina Contemporary (Florida)

IMG_5674

Focus, Tulle. ©Irfan Onurmen at C24 Gallery (New York)

IMG_5672
Give Me Everything, acrylic and enamel on canvas. ©Charles Lutz at C24 Gallery (New York)

IMG_5725

YO. ©Deborah Kass at Richard Levy (New Mexico)

IMG_5714
Untitled, acrylic on paper. ©Adam Parker Smith at Davidson Contemporary (New York)

Allison Green’s “Everything Changes” at PULSE New York

PULSE New York 2013 opens tomorrow, May 9th at The Metropolitan Pavilion, and runs through the weekend until Sunday, May 12th. For more information and to buy tickets now, visit http://pulse-art.com/new-york/.

PULSE_NY_ArtFair_2013

.stART here.‘s Sunday Funday and Hump Day Hot Seat alum Allison Green is one of the featured artists showcasing her newest series, “Everything Changes” with Susan Eley Fine Art at the fair. I will be there to check out what’s new in contemporary art so be on the lookout for more in an upcoming Monday Funday post.

Cheers!

Hump Day Hot Seat: Tara Metzler

Fresh Friday Finds alum Tara Metzler is in today’s Hump Day Hot Seat on .stART here. Get to know this animal rights advocate and artist whose work you can find on pigdogonline.com as she answers some questions provided by Finch & Ada. Thanks for chilling in the Hot Seat, Tara!

stella_me

Photo courtesy of Tara Metzler © Megan Khichi Photography

1. Who Are You?

I am a tiny, fun and feisty individual who goes by the name of Tara

2. What do you do?

I do lots of things but my job by day is Graphic Designer and on nights and weekends I like to draw and paint for my side project, Pigdog, amongst many other things.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I have always been a creative person or into creative things. Outside of school and work I would always draw little characters that people seemed to love but I had never done anything with them. After rescuing my Pit Bull, Novia, and having multiple bad jobs I decided to go for it and started Pigdog (named after said Pit Bull). It’s basically a portfolio of my artwork with the option to purchase. A percentage of all sales go to a local animal organization. I never wanted to have your typical 9 to 5 job forever and although I still have one, I am now pursuing something that I have always loved to do with a cause that I am passionate about…helping homeless animals and animal rights. I really need to thank my family, friends, and boyfriend for supporting me and pushing me to do what I love.

4. How long have you been at it?

Pigdog has been a thought in my head for quite some time but did not officially start until 2007 when I did my first Hoboken Art & Music Fest. There have been a lot of bumps in the road and lessons learned since then but I am happy to say that I stuck to it.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I am a lover of all animals and will kick your ass if you hurt them.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

I admire anyone that has the drive and passion to do what they love rather than settling.

7. What other types of art are you in to?

I love art done by children. Illustrator Dave DeVries did a book called The Monster Engine. He took children’s illustrations and painted them. It’s absolutely fantastic! I am also a big fan of photography, Edward Gorey, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I like gritty, dark and cute. I am not drawn to perfection.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

I have lots of hobbies but, no, none that I would call crazy.

9. What’s your favorite vice?

Macaroni and cheese. If you know of any great recipes or restaurants that have it on the menu email me. 🙂

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

Wine…just kidding…sort of. I can’t say I have ever been on a creative hump when it comes to my personal stuff. My brain is always in fast forward and coming up with whacky ideas. I write those ideas down and come back to them when I have the time and am ready to move onto the next project. The problem is there is never enough time to get to all of those ideas. Maybe my creative hump is my full time job?

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

Of course I eat food!!! Indian food, by far, is my favorite. My mouth waters any time I go into an Indian restaurant. I absolutely love to cook but hate to clean up the mess afterwards. It’s an ongoing battle.

12. If someone was to write a craigslist missed connection about you, what would it say?

Blonde haired girl with large sunglasses driving a very dirty Nissan Versa, I saw you sitting in traffic on the GSP completely oblivious to my honking.

13. What is your most prized possession?

I would say my dog, Stella, but it doesn’t sound right calling her a possession. I have many little sentimental things that I have held onto over the years but I would have to say a teddy bear my great Uncle gave me for my seventh birthday is my most prized possession.

Don’t miss Tara and her pit bull, Stella, at the Annual Hoboken Arts & Music Fest on May 5th where she’ll be selling her original artwork, prints, NEW! Pigdog branded notepads and more.