Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Meet me at Flax

If you’re in San Francisco, come by Flax on Saturday, June 2 between 1-4 p.m.
I’ll be giving a demonstration of some of my mixed media techniques and will also bring along a few of my newest pieces.

Flax Art & Design is located on Market Street at the corner of Valencia.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Small Art Sale – Fifty For Fifty or Less

Going through my archives this weekend I have put together a nice box of 50 small works.  They are from 3”x3” to 6”x6” — I am having a little online sale with these 50 pieces from $10 to $50 each.  You can check them all out here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

La Luna

La Luna, mixed media, reverse collage on plexi, 6”x6”

The effects of last weekend’s annular eclipse still have not worn off.   Going up to the nearly empty shore of Pyramid Lake in the Nevada desert was the perfect place for the event.   Yesterday I was sorting out some of my older work and came across La Luna — one of my reverse collages from an earlier series.  Appropriately there is a little bit of Yma Sumac embedded in the collage.  No desert road trip is complete without Yma.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Future in Hayes Valley

There’s a new piece of temporary public art in Patricia’s Green in the heart of Hayes Valley.  Every time I walk through there, it gets harder and harder to remember the old freeway.    Kate Raudenbush’s Future’s Past is one of the best offerings we’ve seen from the Black Rock Arts Foundation.  I love that there are so many angles to appreciate this piece from.  Including getting inside the sculpture.  Call the DPW and bolt this down extra tight.  We should keep this one.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Lotus Has Landed

Choi Jeong Hwa’s kinetic sculpture, Breathing Flower

This week the Asian Art Museum is opening a new exhibit titled Phantoms of Asia.  As part of the show a sculpture titled Breathing Flower by Korean artists Choe Jeong Hwa has been installed across the street in the Civic Center Plaza.  There’s more about the piece on the museum blog.  It’s really fun.  My only criticism is I wish there was more.  Imagine about 50 of the flowers filling Civic Center.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Majestic Mandala

Majestic Mandala, mixed media on canvas, 10”x10”, 2012

I’ve often put a few old postage stamps in my mixed media pieces.  Recently I acquired a big bag of old stamps, many of them British and Canadian.  Most of those feature the profile or portrait of Queen Elizabeth. After sixty years, she’s been on a lot of stamps.  Her Majesty has probably been on more stamps than anyone else.  With these new works, I have used stamps in the same ways I used pieces of old maps.  But with stamps, there are crisp borders and perforated edges.  The final result has a feel that harkens back to quilting and other textile arts.  It brings me back to the mapquilts I was creating ten years ago.  More examples can be seen at tofuart.com.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lunar Map

Lunar Map, mixed media on canvas, 10”x10”, 2012

After the all years of using maps in collages, I’ve normally kept things terrestrial.  I do like the space exploration sections you find at the beginning of an old atlas.  They are obviously dated, but have a certain corny charm.  I used them for an outer space piece for the 2011 Project as well as one with moon maps.  But here it is, my first moon map collage.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I can say with confidence that today I saw what is the best art installation we’ll get to see this year in the Bay Area.  The Israeli artist Zadok Ben-David’s Blackfield installation is breathtaking. 

Prior to the work being installed, I saw the artist give a talk about the piece.  He discussed how growing up in rural Israel as well as coming from a long line of craftsman who made fine jewelry has informed his sculptures.  For Blackfield he uses thin aluminum.  With his assistants he makes hundreds of delicate, hand-cut aluminum flowers inspired by older engravings of flora.  They are all about 2”-6” tall and each is painted black.  They are installed on the floor, set in a field of white sand.  The initial effect reminds one of lace or even toile.

Imagine seeing an empty space, a circle filed with a layer of white sand.  And it’s filled with hundreds of these fine, hand-cut, metal flowers, all painted black.  You bend lower.  You realize you will have to get down on the floor.  The experience at eyelevel is totally different.  In his talk, Ben-David mentioned viewers comparing it to a forest after a fire.  Yes, it could be interpreted that way.  I saw winter and the leafless trees and black twigs sticking up through a layer of snow.  I stood up, and was taken back to winter on Cape Cod, with barren twigs poking up through sand dunes.

There is more.  All the individual pieces are installed, evenly, facing forward.  You slowly walk around to the backside and see that each individual hand painted plant and flower is no longer black.  The backside of each one is painted in intense, bright colors.  It’s dazzling.  Again you are drawn to the floor, needing to appreciate the piece at eyelevel.  The riot of color is spectacular.  Your eyes play tricks on you.  There is the allusion of movement.  It’s like a Monet come-to-life or a springtime California field in bloom after a very wet winter.  From the floor it’s seems as if there is a haze of color floating above the installation.  It’s an effect I have seen before in the Anza-Borrego Desert.  It happens when hundred of ocotillo bloom and create a blur of red haze.  You see the effect when you look towards a group of the  cactuses from a distance. 

Visiting Zadok Ben-David’s website will give you a good feel for his work.  It truly has to be seen in person.  Make a point of visiting the Contemporary Jewish Museum before September 9th to experience Blackfield, the Bay Area’s best art installation of 2012.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

California Dreamin’

California Dreamin’, mixed media on canvas, 24”x24”, 2012

In the past year I have been working on a series of mixed media collages I call postcard deconstructions.  This is the latest one.  Until now I have mostly used vintage postcards from between the 1920’s and 1950’s.  This new piece is later postcards, mostly the 1950’s to 1970’s – colorful, glossy and all California.  There are approximately 1,500 little pieces in all.

California Dreamin’, (detail) mixed media on canvas, 24”x24”, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Add some art to your iPhone

Go to tofuart.com and you'll find eight wallpaper images you can download for free.  They are formatted for the iPhone.