New print release this Thursday, July 20th. Details will be posted at http://elmac.net
. 'Winter in America': It seems that much of this country, if not the world, has been experiencing a growing climate of fear and confusion. Daily tragedies overwhelm and desensitize as we grow accustomed to hearing constant reports of killings by terrorists, criminals, and police. We face obscene and ever-worsening economic inequality alongside countless social and environmental problems. A dismal and surreal political atmosphere have contributed to a collective feeling of frustration and powerlessness.
I started working on this portrait of a woman in despair late last year as a response. This piece is also an homage to the great German social realist Käthe Kollwitz, who was known for her melancholy drawings and prints depicting the struggles and suffering of the working class from poverty and war. She was born 150 years ago in July of 1867, and her work is still just as powerful and relevant today. The figure was modeled after my wife's grandmother, and like most of my paintings it was not intended as a specific portrait of just one person but a representation of many people. It is a simple, direct expression of grief and fatigue in troubled times.
. "It is mid-winter in America; a man-made season of shattered dreams and shocked citizens, fumbling and frustrated beneath the crush of greed of corporate monsters and economic manipulators gone wild (...)
We must all do what we can for each other to weather this blizzard. Now more than ever all the family must be together; to comfort, to protect, to guide, to survive..."
-Gil Scott-Heron (1975)
Life can be filled with so much suffering, it's a gift when we can brighten it by helping each other and sharing real love.
Saichai had a warmth, creativity and vitality that shone through despite the hardships life had given her. In her last few years it was inspiring to see her find joy in making art, gardening, or exploring the city on public transportation. I don't think she considered herself an artist but she really was. She lived in service to others. She had a beautiful spirit, and I'm thankful we were friends. God bless her.
"The Mother Creator II" .. Finishing up some more devotional work for the great city of Los Angeles. Putting some serious time, soul and energy out there for the people. Striving to create good, uplifting public art in these strange, troubled times. This is a companion mural to last year's 'La Mère Créatrice' in Montreal, my homage to feminine creative force. This one's a tribute to artistic mothers, and their capacity to not only make people but art as well. I am an artist largely thanks to the influence of my mother, who is a great, inspiring painter, and my mother-in-law, who passed away recently, though she probably wouldn't have considered herself an artist was as prolific and creative as any. The figure depicted in this mural is based on my reference photos of Jane Choe, the fiery artistic mother of my friend David Choe. It was a pleasure working with my talented young crewmate, brother, and local neighborhood resident @aiseborn who assisted with the extra Alphonse Mucha-inspired acrylic embellishment on the halo designs..
"Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit; so let it be done! "
-excerpt from abolitionist John Brown's last speech after his trial and conviction in West Virginia in 1859 after raiding a federal armory there. His unsuccessful attempts to begin a liberation movement among slaves ultimately sparked the Civil War.
Spring of 2009, south central/mid-city Los Angeles. Working on 'The Knight' with @retna while young @delfin watches.
It's been amazing and inspiring to see Delfin and his equally talented brother @kohshinfinley progress and grow as artists over the years, taking on classical portraiture and figure painting and finding their own voices with it. Congratulations to Delfin and the Finley fam on the new exhibition in Santa Monica! Looking forward to seeing more beautiful, powerful work from these talented brothers in the years to come..
Photo: Yuri Hasegawa @candidho )
My bodyguard holding it down in front of 'Kosoom by the Mekong' in Saigon, Vietnam back in 2010. Portrait of my wife's grandmother outside the old Sàn Art/Propeller Group headquarters .. Made possible in part by @the_propeller_group @tuan.andrew.nguyen @mc_lucero @phunamenon .. Another collaboration is in the works.. @seewhatyouthink
Close-up detail of 'Juarense y Poderosa' in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua 2014 @ Juarez Contemporary .. Photo: @maintainstudio .. Made possible with assistance from @3rdshifters @arielbrac @ericheights @jellyfishcolectivo @amorporjuarez @ricafer80 @juarezcontemporary @culturestrike