Inevitably someone in a gathering of artists and art educators will make the comment that "everything in art has already been done". While some people say it in a bemoaning tone, I embrace it, 'cause face it, all artists are influenced by art they've experienced, otherwise they wouldn't have wanted to be an artist. Very few of us are hermits living in caves without any cultural influence.
My number one inspiration for my art is going to art museums. I always come away with a refuel of my creative tank, and in retrospect, most of my more important works were inspired by special exhibitions here in San Francisco, specifically the Fine Arts Museums of SF - the De Young and the Legion of Honor. It's to the point that when a specific painting speaks to me, my brain immediately asks, "Can the vibe of this painting translate well into a LEGO® reinterpretation?"
There's something to be said about visual manifestation for what you want in life. A few months ago I made the decision to focus in 2016 on creating completely new one-of-a-kind art jewelry, separate from the reware ready-to-wear line. Meaning a year off from doing craft shows. Lo, and behold, wouldn't you know it, in the last few months I've been invited by two different curators/galleries to create work for color themed exhibitions, as my LEGO® material so well speaks to this kind of show.
Getting a head start on my goal, I've plunged head-first into a new series of jewelry inspired by painters I've long admired. Percolating in the back of my brain for ages has been the American painter Richard Diebenkorn, part of the Bay Area Figurative Movement in the 1950s-60s and known for his abstract expressionism. His Berkeley Series of landscape paintings and Ocean Park series left an indelible mark on me when I saw them at the De Young in 2013 and SFMOMA years ago.
Diebenkorn's works are super fun to translate in to LEGO®, while presenting an interesting challenge popping them out into the realm of 3-D and jewelry scale. A glimpse into the process of me at the bench: starting with a very basic line drawing based on the painting in a scale that will be reasonably wearable; changing the orientation what I'm looking at (counter clockwise looked more interesting); and taking lots and lots of phone pics to act as a second set of critical eyes, especially when it comes to editing color choices.
See the finished The Scape and The Table debut at The Gallery at Reinstein Ross in NYC (down the street from the new Whitney) for their holiday show, Kaleidescope, opening Nov 27 through Jan 10, 2016.
PLAYING TRIBUTE - WEEKEND PLAYLIST
Here's my playlist of Cover songs that pay tribute to great originals. If you're on Google Play you can listen to the set here.