Tag Archives: Artists

Flying Planes and Talking Paint With David Molesky

I met David Molesky on a flight headed out of San Francisco to Atlanta. Somewhere between ascendance and landing, the two of us got to talking. Although naturally subject to the gloss of travel-laden body heat and far too cramped quarters of the airplane, I managed to acquaint myself with the D.C. native turned San Franciscan that sat next to me. He told me of his years as a painter, sharing anecdotes of the artistic journey and where he found himself situated today. Only when the wheels at last touched the Georgia turf did we cease the conversation. Days later, I found the words exchanged still on my mind. I felt compelled to share their resonance, the personality behind, and the accompanying, captivating body of work he called his own.

Before even seeing his paintings, it was quiet obvious that Molesky was a credible artist. As far as I am concerned, the character of the artist is just as valuable as the art; in his case, neither team seemed to be lacking. He painted as much a verbal picture as he did with that on the canvas. So, when the iPhone was finally pulled out and the paintings themselves were at hand, the enthralling visuals fell not short of my expectations. Matching the actual depiction with his prior descriptions – the raging waters, engulfing fires, busied cities, lone owls, or mystical horses that he had spoken of – all translated with a graceful ease and bountiful brush to the canvas.

 

Telling of long days and mad nights painting in his San Francisco studio, Molesky’s passion feels more like a forever rampant force. With years of painting and traveling behind him, a Berkeley education in Fine Arts and Molecular Cell Biology to boast, and a mass of work that has touched continents and art aficionados worldwide, the breadth of the artist resides as enchanting as the art itself.

 

The rest, I leave to the artist himself to share. Read below as I talk with David Molesky about his art today, his inspiration, and the craft that he can’t seem to contain.

Art Nouveau: How did David Molesky the artist come about? When and where did you plant your artistic roots?

David Molesky: I was a serious but goofy kid.  I sometimes wore a tie and blazer to elementary school.  I cleared out my parent’s coat closet and converted it to my private studio, after squeezing in my toddler-sized desk.

I got into painting in high school.  Me and my friends would hang out and paint together.  The learning curve was the quickest then and I still pretty much paint the same, only I have more tricks up my sleeve.

I went to UC Berkeley for undergrad to give my passions for art and science and equal chance.  Painting won as it always does.  Later I moved up and down the west coast following loves and art and landing in different scenarios by magical chance with one great practitioner of painting after another.

 

AN: What was a particularly defining moment for you?

DM: When I was living on the Big Sur coastline, I fell in love with painting water and this is where I had my first taste of real commercial success.

 

AN: From where do you draw inspiration? 

DM: I draw inspiration from the act of painting and drawing mostly.  Reading also introduces new ideas that I might not have otherwise.  And now the internet, even just my Facebook news stream from my many artist friends packs a punch of interesting ideas.  But I never feel more inspired than when I am in my studio, laying out a new palette, starting a new painting, with music going, good lighting, some warm espresso or matte.  That’s really the best.

AN: How do you formulate and expand on the content of your collections? 

DM: As I am working on a series of paintings, I begin to hone into certain aspects and qualities more than others.  For me, a sun nap on the roof after lunch is often the best time to have dream up a new idea.

 

AN: What are you working on at the moment? 

DM: Finishing the painting Girl with a Dead Raven.  Its going into a show in less than a week.  After that, I’ve got to make some new paintings for a show at the Long Beach Art Museum that will provide a transition to a new body of work with an apocalyptic theme.

 

AN: Who or what is your muse? 

DM: Nature

Derek Gores stays afloat in a sea of images

In a sea of images, Derek Gores is making unique pictures that stand completely on their own.  Their blend of abstraction with such interestingly familiar portraits and stills create a dichotomy that really works.  Derek took a minute to sit down with us to talk about his process while getting ready for Miami this year.  If you are out here be sure and stop by to check out the amazing details in his work!

Art Nouveau: You are in Florida right?  Do your surroundings play much of a roll in the images you create?

Derek Gores: I’m sure somehow… I’m in the unique spot on the planet where humans reached out to the moon and could also go to the beach. There’s a combo of problem solving and patient daydreaming around all the time that gives me new fuel.

AN: I have heard you say like to see how far you can deconstruct your subject.  Can you talk about your process some?  Do you sketch your work out or work spontaneously?

DG: I do some wet drawing work that starts from abstraction and sometimes becomes an object, often figurative or spacial. However In the collage work I work it backwards, from a photo reference in a space I breathed, and then I do start with a simple sketch with a sharpie marker usually and then layer in the abstraction of the pieces of paper. I am after the essence of a real figure, often hinting at elapsed time perhaps, but I build the figure out of opposites. I like using linear, sharp, man-made elements you wouldn’t think of as art, like a schematic or a map for example, so that the life and the space you find is that much more surprising when it hits.

AN: Have you always worked loosely or is this a theme in your work?

DG: I was super tight as an 18 year old, but once I saw the end of that particular path I’ve loved anything that can distract or get in the way of that kind of accuracy. Water, using two hands, all sorts of outside influences, collaborations with the subjects, etc.

 

 

AN: It seems like this push towards abstraction is what allows your viewers to insert there own interpretation?

DG: True, I love ambiguous spaces and all kids of references in the recycled elements, so that viewers can use their own memories as they interact. The spacial play I would say comes especially from Franz Kline’s abstractions, and the Klimt/Schiele play with flattening spaces as a way to make their figures pulse out at you.

AN: What have you been pursuing in your most recent work?

DG: Two things especially. Lately I’ve been playing with transparency in the pieces, where shadows see through to another space. Also, this year I have played with a more involved narrative, even if it isn’t clear what’s happening. I’d say my subject has become the study of ‘fierceness’- the admiration of a strong individual woman whose beauty is the result of her choices and actions and lifestyle. The first several I’d say showed a weight in her eyes, and my most recent show the fun of living.

AN: I know you aren’t crazy about the word ‘collage’, what else have you been calling it lately?

DG: Cleverness, Advanced Scrapbooking, and it gets a little cooler with some European influence, see look: ‘cøllage’

AN: I know you have been really busy lately, what shows or projects do you have coming up?

DG: Select Fair at Art Basel Miami! Huge! and next big awesomeness is a show in the Spring at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles. And another in Barcelona. Details on the way…

AN: That will be awesome, are there any artists or galleries you are looking forward to seeing at Art Basel?
DG: I must locate Hush. My other favorites: Christopher Maslow, David Burton, Jeff Filipski. Check ‘m out!

Every Hour, Every Breath has Come to This
48″ x 48″ collage on canvas
Cleverness du Chat
48″ x 48″ collage on canvas

Five takes on the many shades of Dave

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Dave Brubeck, 1920-2012

For as long as I’ve been playing jazz, people have been trying to pigeonhole me … Frankly, labels bore me.

Legendary beyond compare, brilliant beyond boundaries… five takes on the many shades of Brubeck

Blue Rondo a la Turk” – Time Out, 1959

Brubeck heard this unusual rhythm performed by Turkish musicians on the street. Upon asking the musicians where they got the rhythm, one replied “This rhythm is to us, what the blues is to you.” Hence the title “Blue Rondo à la Turk.”

“Castilian Drums” featuring Joe Morello (Live) – Live at Carnegie Hall, 1963

“Summer Song” with Louis Armstrong – Jazz Impressions of the U.S.A., 1957

“Bossa Nova USA” – Great Big Bands, 1962

 

Take Five” (Live) – Germany, 1966

This was the first instrumental jazz album to sell over a million copies. ‘Take Five’ was even a number one hit on Billboard’s charts which is a serious feat for any jazz song (and any song in 5/4!). Brubeck used the rhythmic influences from Eastern Europe to create a very fresh sound previously unfound in jazz. The complex rhythms he uses sound very natural and are easy to listen to, probably the reason for his success. This one is guaranteed to please and intrigue its listeners. – The Jazz Resource

I Can’t Love You, I’m Too Busy Making Art

   what happens when “its not me its you” applies to everyone?

The writer Anaïs Nin once said, “I am lonely, yet not everybody will do. I don’t know why, some people fill the gaps and others emphasize my loneliness. In reality those who satisfy me are those who simply allow me to live with my idea of them.” How many times do we meet some extraordinary being, the ones who make us question if life prior to meeting them even qualified as living, only to find ourselves falling into the stereotype of the cursed artist who possesses so much unbounded love and passion, yet unable to apply these to anything and anyone other than our work. Why does the thought of healthy, sustainable relationships put the stamp of death on our artistic integrity?
Maybe love is best summed up by the Romantic period: inspiration from nature, solitude and unrequited love. Yeah, that’s it, we seem to love most the things that we don’t understand and cannot have. We’re always trying to discover the new, tap into the unknown, turn nothings into somethings, generally looking at life as an endless experiment of fucking things up and seeing what happens. As we wade through our existence shackled by adventurous truth seeking terms, how can we free our partners from our own nihilistic rules and produce a tangible and substantial relationship? Why can’t we see humans as they are, instead of dragging them along as vessels in our personal life experiment?

As Bill Withers once said, “we all need somebody to lean on.” Of course we do Bill, but at what point does this “someone” become more than a walking, breathing post to cry on? Can that special someone ever be more valuable than the object we scream our “its complicated” rants at, and evolve from the default muse we turn to when inspiration stops coming from everywhere else? Everyday I wake up plagued by this, wondering will I ever have enough time and patience to devote to a lasting relationship without compromising the energy I put into my writing?

My own relationships always end because right as honest feelings blossom, you know the ones that demand staying up all night to talk them over together, I suddenly remember that tending to the wild contradiction of fire I call my soul is more crucial than making effortless attempts at trying to understand someone else. I’ve realized this discovery and mastering of self can only come about through experiences induced by everyday interactions with the hordes of people that encompass this earth, a category into which relationships rightfully fall under. See, this unraveling of society and piecing it back together is all a process, and artists have to keep moving with the momentum of it all or get left behind boasting about our greatness with nothing to show for it. There’s no time to complain that life isn’t like the old fleeting days of youth when the only things to worry about were what magnitude of peanut butter chunkiness satisfied our deepest desires or what outfit most effectively displayed our heart’s temperament. There is no spare time for the pleasures of falling in and out of relationships, and having to listen to someone complain that they’re not the most important thing to us anymore, because we’re spending too much time with ourselves creating “art,” or whatever it is we do all day.

Unearthing the holy high that the production of art evokes unfortunately is not easily replaced, however good the stand-in may seem. Yeah, it is comforting to take someone along for the ride, but they have to be down for the times when we aren’t speaking to the world for extended periods of time. They have to be down for us not always being available, because we’re down in the (insert ill-suited cliché that describes your sacred place here). Does that make us selfish, cynical and disillusioned? Maybe. Effective relationships aren’t about compromising one’s artistic values to submit to another persons needs, they’re about hinging flaws together in way that allows both people to continue their lives as effectively, if not better, than they would alone. If that isn’t happening in a relationship, well, my good friend Jack Kerouac seems to have a logical solution, “therefore I dedicate myself to myself, to my art, to my sleep, my dreams, my labors, my sufferance, my loneliness, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger – because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being.”

OK wait, before surrendering to a life of solitude, what about Picasso and Maar, Khalo and Rivera, Lennon and Ono, Ike and Tina, Cobain and Love? Their relationships all seemed productive, actually they were more of a self serving effort at combating craziness by getting with another crazy person. Are relationships different when the involved parties are artists who understand the debilitating and never-ending process of having to understand the world in its entirety because its the only way we can make sense of anything? Is it easier to be with someone who is as muddled as us, who realizes the alienating difficulty of constantly debating the importance our own lives, let alone attempting to care about another’s? Its no wonder the only couples that make international headlines and set pop royalty standards are of the notorious artist-famous person combo. No one bothers to pay attention when an artist has a relationship with a “regular” person because deep down there’s the sense that the facade of a relationship is doomed to fail because artists only understand each other, which really isn’t true anyways because no one really understands artists, do they?

#WatchThisSpace Find this piece and much more in Art Nouveau’s 9th issue entitled SKIN. Click here to get your copy!

Foreword Story: But, I’m an ARTIST!

“If you take your clothes off, it’s amazing what will happen,” said pop superstar Lady Gaga on her 2011 David Letterman appearance. Gaga spoke of playing in a club in New York pre-fame, when her name was still Stefani Germanotta, and commented that no one paid attention to her during her set until she stripped down to nothing but bra and panties. Of course, that was just the tip of the iceberg for Lady Gaga’s attention-catching fashion choices and controversial stage performances. But it leaves one to wonder, is a complete one-eighty-degree flip in image and performance necessary in order to follow one’s dreams? And more commonly, with enough shocking and captivating pieces to make headlines for the next five years, is it shock value, or is it art?

Continue reading Foreword Story: But, I’m an ARTIST!

1. Say Yes To Drugs

As far back as any sort of art has been produced, there is very often a strong connection that has been forged between said art and the use of drugs. Today there is much dispute as to what constitutes as ‘drugs’ and what lies outside the often debatable definition of the word itself. Several everyday occurrences and practices owe their initial fruition to the use of drugs, yet nowadays, due to strict regulations, the use of drugs is seen as taboo and often a crutch in relation to the artistic process.

However, though drug use has spelled tragedy to many modern prevalent artists, it has proven to be a powerful influence in the creation of some of the most revolutionary artistic movements, singular pieces, and personal transformations that have been recorded in the past many centuries.

In modern pop culture, the public is very aware of the use of drugs, mostly in modern musicians, and more recently with Hollywood celebrities. This is very much due to excessive media coverage, which has erupted in the most awful ways in the form of paparazzi and hyperbolic tabloid periodicals. This disturbing disruption of privacy has led to dramatic meltdowns of public figures within the past decade or so, often publicly and unfairly embarrassing those involved. Yet beyond these public humiliations there is much drug use that is often overlooked in all media outlets, sometimes with devastating results.

In the modern age there have been many instances where drugs have been used to enhance art. Dating back to the 60s and 70s, many musicians have used psychedelic substances to expand their minds and thus their art, creating a new and fascinating psychedelic movement, stretching the boundaries of classical musical expression to create something different to be perceived as something beyond the norm. The use of drugs in music have had a monumental impact on the music we hear today, shaping everything from the Beatles to Pink Floyd. Rock and roll would not be the same without the use of marijuana and basically other psychotropic in the book.

Drug use has also had an incredible influence on the pain reflected in music. Dating back to the days of early blues artists, artists have used drugs, namely opiates, not only to numb the pains of loss and heartbreak, but also to amplify those emotions that are often oppressed. With the aid of these drugs, these emotions are more easily accessed (as is with the use of alcohol), thus the music that comes from these drug-addled artists is often incredibly soulful and heartfelt, especially when listened to by people with similar addictions, as they often tap into those forgotten emotions in the same effect.

Back when drugs weren’t such a big deal (i.e., the 60s and 70s), the most prevalent artistic figure that openly used drugs was someone named Andy Warhol. With his revolutionary pop art movement and the creation of his Factory, he deified many unknown figures like Edie Sedgwick and Jean-Michel Basquiat, using their art or person as an avenue towards fame and fortune. These often primarily innocent artists were driven to fame and, in turn, madness and addiction, due to this man. Very often those who worked with Warhol were thrown into a destructive symbiotic relationship with the media mogul, for not only did they become severely addicted to the physical substances that Warhol was a prevalent advocate of, but they seemed to become addicted to the fame and fortune that he personified. Unlike with the drugs that they were hooked on, no luxury rehab treatment center can cure them of such an addiction. In the same effect, Warhol became likewise addicted to these disciples, until he unceremoniously tossed them aside as a heroin addict tosses aside the junk while trying to go cold turkey.

The use of drugs in context of the artistic process these days is baffling. In some effect it relates to the evolution of the body in conflict with that of the intangible mind. There are those who say that we as humans cannot access a majority of our intelligent brain. It almost seems that those who use these substances inexplicably open these previously unattainable areas of the mind that allow us to tap into forgotten emotions and conceptually esoteric perceptions of reality. Unfortunately the physical properties of these substances far surpass our corporal capabilities and often tragically take the lives of those who entertain the prospects afforded by the use of drugs. It is so often unfair that great art comes at such a great price, but without tragedy, there would almost be no place for the awesome beauty of this world that goes so often unappreciated.

Artist Appreciation

Talent is an art that only the chosen few possess, whether it’s writing, singing, playing an instrument or being able to bend your legs behind your back. Having a certain talent separates you from others who may or may not possess it in the same way that you do, so when a person decides to capitalize on their ability, it is something to be admired.

Continue reading Artist Appreciation

“Boxed Lynched,” A Short Art Film by Mike Pecci

Drawing for most artists is a warm up to a more elaborate work. For Dave Lynch it is his version of a highly realized end result. Dave has been drawing since he was a child and recently he set out to fill a blank sketch book with over 400 cartoons. This mini art film, shot and edited by Mike Pecci, gives insight into the man behind the sketches. Take a closer look below and find out about his work, and what some might call his therapy.