Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Last Elephant

The Last Elephant
I made this piece after seeing photos of Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of Jimmy John's, killing endangered animals on safari in Africa.  I was enraged and disgusted!  I'm happy I've never eaten at a Jimmy Johns and after this I never will.  Thanks for bringing my attention to this Lisa.  The company that is responsible for these killing "adventures" is Johan Calitz Safaris.  I can't stand to look at those pictures, they're just vile.
My mother's family was from a rural part of Vietnam.  My grandfather was a hunter and both my mom and grandmother have done their share of slaughtering chickens, fish and I think pigs and goats.  I'm an omnivore so I don't want to step on a soapbox and pass judgment on the killing of animals.  But I'm 100% against animal cruelty and senseless acts like this.  It's just a pure ego stroke, lacking in any compassion or consideration.  You want to shoot something get a camera!

The Last Elephant closeup
I wanted to make something beautiful and sad.  I feel his loneliness.

The Last Elephant closeup
These closeup photos aren't as crisp as I'd like.  It's hard to see but all 4 legs and the trunk are separated.  This is a really delicate piece, I hope it survives the trip to Milan!  I had a hard time getting good photos of this piece with my 17-55mm lens.  I think I need to add a 100mm Macro lens to my arsenal of gear. 

The Last Elephant
The Last Elephant 2012
carved carpenter's pencil (graphite & wood)
5 1/4"h x 5/8"w x 1/4"d (13.3cm x 1.6cm x .6cm)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Raven & The Sun

Raven & The Sun
I've been preparing for a 2 person show in Milan that opens in September.  I'm very excited about this show and hope to be there for the opening.  I love folklore and myths.  I wanted to make something for Milan that reflected a bit of where I live and what I love.  Seattle is a small city, but one rich with cultural diversity and heritage, especially Native American traditions.  This piece is based on the Native American myth of how the Raven stole the Sun and gave light to the world.

Raven & The Sun 2012
carved carpenters pencil (wood and graphite)
5 1/2"H x 5/8"W x 1/4"D (14cm x 1.6cm x .6cm)

Galleria Patricia Armocida
via Lattanzio n°77, 20137 - Milano

Raven & The Sun
The raven's beak and round bead is carved from graphite, the rest of the bird is carved from the pencil's wood.  When I carve graphite everything I touch turns black from the dust.  I thought I'd use this to my advantage and coated the bird's body with graphite shaving.  I love how shiny and reflective this surface is, almost like a Raven's feather. 

I feel I have to give a shout-out to one of my favorite folk artist, Dalton Ghetti.  I'm a great admirer of his work and the fact that he's self taught.  It's difficult to work in such parallel to another artist and not feel self-conscious.  I try to make work that is true to the self and reflect my perspective.  I feel as an artist you need to put blinders on sometimes and "just do it".  Don't think too much or else you'll shatter those fragile ideas, especially in the initial stages.  I hope I've brought something new to the pencil carving world.

I almost had a show with Dalton Ghetti last year in San Jose, but the timing wasn't right.  Such a shame, I hope our paths cross one day!  Maybe we can swap Exacto injury stories.  LOL