Saturday, March 18, 2017

endangered kingdom series, 44: trinidad piping guan


Here's another one of those drawings that would fall into the serendipitous category, since the shape of the bird's profile seemed made for the piece of watercolored paper. As with all of these, I had made several painted papers, and chose this one before choosing the animal to draw. After choosing the bird, in this case the critically endangered Trinidad Piping Guan, I noticed the face, and particularly the beak, was waiting to be drawn onto the colorful paper in front of me, after looking at it from all four angles. I decided to carefully document the making of this one, and present it in backwards chronlogical order, starting with the completed piece (above) and ending with the painted on paper, made before any drawing was done. 





You can also see the Splotch Monster Island version HERE!



what's happening over at splotch monster island?


Yes, what exactly IS happening over at my other blog - the Isle of Splotch? Well, a whole lot of things, including the ongoing Endangered Kingdom Meets Splotch Monster Island project, which will soon come to an end. Recently, I worked a brief process post, which always helps folks gain a little more insight as to how I make these things I call Splotch Monsters. In fact, the picture above is a detail from the piece I posted about, which you can read more about right HERE!

Friday, March 17, 2017

2017 alchemical vessel exhibit, opening night at the joan hisaoka healing arts gallery, 3/2017, 7-9pm!


Tonight, the 2017 Alchemical Vessel art exhibit opening reception will take place at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, in Washington, DC from 7-9pm. I'm honored, once again to be a part of this amazing, annual event. Hope to see you there!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

an interview with kris loya, at swatch and repeat!


There's a great new interview with my wife Kris at the Swatch and Repeat site! Since Kris has decided to devote more of her time to her art, she's been doing wonderful things. In the meantime, read the interview HERE!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

hilma af klint atc


This morning I made a portrait of artist Hilma af Klint, for an ATC mail art exchange. It's baffling to think that Hilma's work, which pioneered Abstract art, even before Kandinsky, was nearly forgotten, and barely acknowledged up until recently. Even Hilma herself, who was an accomplished realist painter, said her visionary abstract work, some of it enormous in scale, shouldn't be shown to the public until decades after she dies, as she felt people simply were not ready for it. It's these people I tip my hat to - the unsung visionaries, whose art, music and brilliant ideas will always be one step beyond. #hilmaafklint #art #artist #atc #artisttradingcard #drawing #drawings #watercolor #abstractart #visionaryart #womenartists

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

tryst gallery interview


I had a great time answering interview questions from Lisa Strout, of Tryst Gallery, in Leesburg, Virginia. You can read the interview HERE!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

getting involved with the fundred dollar bill project


It was only last week that I heard of something called the Fundred Dollar Bill Project, conceived of and initiated by artist Mel Chin. Some friends who are fellow artists and teachers attended the official Fundred ribbon cutting ceremony last Thursday night, and posted pictures and info on their Instagram and Facebook feeds, making me curious as to what this was all about. Then, last Saturday we all got together and they talked about the Fundred Dollar Bill project some more, getting me excited about trying this with my art students at school as part of both our One To The World, and STEAM lessons. Seeing how it all tied in with art, science, and community, and seeing just how much fun this looked like, was a no brainer. 


Originally I wanted to try this project out with my students a little later on in the year, but when I learned that Mel Chin was an artist-in-residence at the Corcoran in DC, and the fact that I had to drive out to DC to drop off some art work yesterday, made me wonder if I could get at least a few classes worth of Fundreds completed by my students, so I could personally stop by and drop them off to The Fundred Reserve, currently held at The Corcoran. That, however, all depended on the proximity of the Reserve to the gallery I had to drop work off to, since Washington, DC is a big city that can take over an hour to get through, or more. Fortunately, it wasn't even a two-mile drive from one stop to the next, so I put the plans in motion. After spending my free time on Monday printing out the templates for both the front and back of a Fundred, I spent more of my free time at the copy machine making double sided copies of Fundreds for my students to work on. The first Fundreds I had folks make happened to be made by a couple of students I tutor in art, on Mondays after school. One student is a third-grader, and the other is in fifth grade. Both of them were very receptive to the idea of making Fundreds, and both did a really good job, so it gave me some confidence in trying this with my students on Tuesday. 

I managed to have the majority of students in all three of my morning classes complete a Fundred. Third-graders did well, though quite a few were anxious to jump in without reading or attempting to follow some of the instructions. Some worked somewhat quickly, as well. Still, it was an overall success, and of course the kids had a ball making their own imaginary money. Fourth-graders seemed to have the most success at this, as they were mature enough to slow down a little, read through the instructions and work carefully, yet they didn't get too picky and caught up in the details. Fifth-graders did some fantastic work, but at times seemed to get a little too methodical in trying to render things a certain way, causing some kids to need another day to complete their work. In the end, I think it was very satisfying for my students to get involved in a project that raises real awareness about lead poisoning, while making some super fun art in the process. 


While I regret not knowing about this project earlier, and missing the ceremony last Thursday night, it worked out for the better that I could drop in to personally drop off over sixty Fundred Dollar Bills, including a rhino-themed one that I worked on for over two hours on Tuesday night. Upon arriving at the Corcoran building, I was amazed at the cool sign above the building's entrance, as well as the big vault door entrance in the building's interior space. The fact that they made this all look so very official showed how much care and love was put into this project. I later learned that Mel Chin actually designed and cut the sign in foam, himself!



In the back of my mind, while planning my visit, I thought about how great it would be to be able to present this first batch of Fundred Dollar Bills to Mel Chin himself, though I also imagined it was most likely a pipe dream, and I'd simply hand the stack to one of the museum workers and be on my merry way home. To my pleasant surprise, Mel had returned from a lunch break and had a small gap of time to speak with me before having a meeting to attend. I couldn't believe it when he came over to introduce himself and shake my hand. He was so kind and nice to talk to - you can tell how passionate he was about getting the word out about lead poisoning in children, and helping children, as well as adults have a voice through art. Him taking some time out to talk with me, made my day.


The other thing I had in the back of my mind was how cool it would be to know that mine and my students' work would get hung up for display, right there at the official Fundred Reserve, at the Corcoran building. Sure enough, the Fundred workers, in their spiffy, official-looking uniforms were there hanging our work! There's no doubt my students will be excited to learn of this news.


Part of the sense of urgency that I had about getting my students' work to the Funded Reserve asap was knowing that Mel Chin's residency at the Corcoran in DC was ending very soon. The good news is, there are still some things that folks can participate in at the Corcoran, regarding the project, all of which can be found HERE. In the meantime, I highly recommend getting involved and making and sending in your own Fundred!


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

2017 alchemical vessel is complete and ready for delivery!


This is the third year in a row that I've been asked to participate in the annual Alchemical Vessel exhibit and benefit at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery in Washington, DC. I call this piece "Surrender to the Night", as it goes with this year's nocturnal theme. The title was inspired by former D.C. band Trans Am's album of the same title.

ARTIST: Stephen P. Loya


STATEMENT:

Not long ago I began work on a series of mixed-media pieces I called "Entities". These were made at a time when very close family members were passing away all within a relatively short timeframe. The series helped me deal with the loss I felt back then, and was a way for me to attempt to make sense of things. I ended up resurrecting and reconfiguring one of those pieces into my vessel called "Surrender to the Night". I don't claim to know the answers to life's great mysteries, and I'm cautious about jumping to any final conclusions about what happens when we pass on. In fact, I find immense beauty in the incomprehesibility of our vast universe, and choose to embrace the great unknown with reverence and optimism that in the end, everything will be alright, and work out as it should.

TITLE: Surrender to the Night

MATERIALS/MEDIA: watercolor, archival pen, collage, wood, acrylic paint and paper