Sunday, August 31, 2014

the needle in the haystack

CAI, California Art Institute is closing,  I have modeled there and been allowed to use their facility for awhile.  This place has been very rich in it's educational history molding artists for a decades.  It's a shame such a business is closing.
Above also is the painting i've been working on most of the week. It's on the easel.  

I had two wonderful plein air days. Below is one quick study.

A page from the sketchbook :)

I modeled @ CAI this week.  Here is some artwork;
 artist; Charles

 artist; Wendy Salin

In other news I discovered i received a grant from the Art Renewal Center.  Thank you!

I will be taking classes at LAAFA (two) this upcoming quarter. They are having an open house on September 14 with demos from two excellent teachers. Bilmes and Zanganian.  (Starts 10am)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

What's your story?

This weeks post won't have much.  I intended to tackle the subjects of perfection and vulnerability but alas, i'm not sure it would amount to much, because, right now i don't care, i don't think you care, so i'll leave it with the art and a general overview of stuff.  Much more fun.

I began to paint a larger piece this week (meaning 20"l) but i found my thoughts on starting these new pieces more interesting.  Yea, i manipulated references a good deal for these ones, abstracted the forms, created my desired pattern.  The figures are tiny but i love doing the studies so much i couldn't help but sketch them out anyway.  Here are the greyscale studies for my future paintings. They differ from the ref, the first was me trying to create a more organic pattern, i found it looked disorganized and 'muddy', so to clarify my thought process i decided to have some fun and make my ideas clearer by using straight lines.  The end product won't look like it but at least as far as a study goes it gets a point a across, and it pushed me towards considering factors i wouldn't normally think about.  I found it to be a great exercise and fun. 

Portrait Project; what's your story?
The more i build friendships and get to know strangers the more i get interested in people.  I'm inspired by them.  They (usually) allow me to take their portraits and i draw them, perhaps paint them and send them a copy.  It's evolving into a project and a very unique and fun one with every experience.  Here are a few.

Note; the 'oh shit' on the drawing below is not in regards to the story, but the fact that i thought i really screwed up the sketch at a certain point.  Can't erase with pen n ink.

Some quick sketches from this week. 2min and 5 mins for the portraits. Two diff sessions.  One was at Los Feliz drawing group which the incredible artist Jennifer McCristian hosts with Ben, the other is one a group of buddies and i have made up.  We are all artists and rotate on the stand as models.

 Last but not least, some quick plein air sketches from this week.  The beach was beautiful.

thought this was funny; particularly relevant since i'm so fond of animation.
Words of wisdom; If you're down or at any point want to feel inspired, listen to these.  Forwarded to me by Samantha, thanks Samwise!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A little of column A, a little of column B.

The finished version. 'backlit', 20"x16", oil on board

I'd like to to clarify some things.

What is my definition of an artist?
Dude, I don't know.  To be perfectly honest i think it's someone who seeks to express an honesty within themselves (so long as it doesn't hurt anyone, if it does hurt others then you're a sociopath and you should probably seek to connect, it's the beauty of life, everything, after all, is connected).
Many artists start out copying others, specially in the beginning and i think that's perfectly fine and natural, humans are masters of imitation and it's how we learn but that shouldn't be a means to an end.  I'm not here to judge, i either get inspired by something or i don't, do what feels right.

Something i'd like to address from my last post;
Regarding my exposure, sometimes the quality/aesthetic of my work is not what a venue is looking for.  I'm not judging them for it, i'm saying i get a rejection.  There are more reasons why my career is where it is and i have everything to do with it. Cookies for everyone.
I'm just gonna keep creating and hope that my hard work will progress professionally.   I dare say also that i've not considered changing what i do because of lack of approval. I love what i do, i connect with it. It's my reason for being here. I'll also mention that i've had my successes. So.  On we go.

Yesterday i had an interview at T radio V with two lovely ladies, Polina and Kira.  Everyone at the studio was fantastic and super friendly.  I will reveal here though that it wasn't my proudest moment.  Since i've stopped drinking and swearing as means of being social I've been getting reaquainted with the art of conversation and sometimes i get nervous (a part of my personality stemming from childhood experiences).  Anyhow, when that happens my brain races and i say stupid shit cuz i can't organize and keep track of my thoughts. I'm like that guy that feels it was a good idea to strap himself to a rocket and light it.  So,  it happened in the interview, hence i will never watch that interview.  There is a big difference between nervous kat and collected/chillin kat.  All i can think of is me running around that recording room naked with flailing arms trying to catch the words that i want to come out of my mouth which is basically what happened.  At the end of the day though, you know who really cares, no one.  And in that case, i'm perfectly safe and satisfied with my life :). 

 Polina, Kira, Kiel and mystery tech guy, thank you so much for having me on. It was a pleasure. :)

It is no secret that i'm a passionate person, the trouble with that is that it can push on manic. I have a lot of energy and without the proper cares it can be intense in a negative way. I used to let that energy out in a physical and verbal way, but more recently it's taken up the quite psychological role.  
I have learned enough about myself and come to enough peace to be fairly balanced, stable and consistent.  This has been achieved through much hard work on my part, discovery and the willingness to learn and change for the better.  So, for self maintenance i need to at least do one physically straining activity a day, this is usually running, but other activities which really push the body work too, i've added meditation to my list, so there is that, and at least one legit social connection a day.  I keep track of my moods in a calendar and note their root to see if there is a pattern i need to be aware of.  Smooth sailing now... but it wasn't always that way, specially the past 4 years. I'm pretty sure my calendar went black and red for months.

In the end...  remember to play, to have fun, to enjoy every moment regardless of the past and the future.  Don't rush through life. People make mistakes, we screw up, shit happens, and so what?
Move on, learn from it, and commence anew with a positive perspective. Be good to yourself and to others. Cookies for everyone.

The remainder of the week has gone fairly well. Studied drawing, did some paint copies, quick and small of R.Casas and A.Zorn, finished a painting and went plein air with some buddies. I've been working a good deal from photos recently i was really happy to go out and paint from life.
Nothing compares to it, in the end it's really working from life that drives me as an artist, hours can pass and they don't matter and i don't feel them.  You're a part of that reality, breathing it, touching it, internalizing it. 

Getting ready in the next two weeks to apply to some upcoming shows. So, we'll see how it goes! Ciao!

Sunday, August 10, 2014


 two works in progress.

 Some miniatures.

I've applied to a many competitions and magazines, and... am still getting solid rejections all around, including the '21 under 31' by Southwest Art, which, my turning 31 this year means if i wanted to make the cut this was my last year.  Collectors, if you're reading this, don't be dissuaded, this is artist life, i'm just giving some skinny on the ropes. I swear to god though, i have no idea how i managed to make this far in my 'career', out of everything i apply for, grants, scholarships, competitions, etc etc, i get the green light on about.. 2% of them and with that it's of little wonder i've managed to get as little exposure as i have.  Oh, and out of the 2%, i decline 1% of that because i don't agree to the terms.  Awesome.  So it's not as though i neglect the business side of being a fine artist, never the less, the answer is clear, i should have become a mad scientist.

Stopped by San Diego Museum to check out Sorolla.  Amazing. Stop by if you haven't. I think you have another 5 days to make it. 

Focusing solely on creation is hard when you have to survive.  It doesn't take very long till you look at your bank statement and go 'oh s***, i need food money'.  So.... i'm gonna have to make ends meet.  Snacking on fingertips is not an option, i need those.

 It's funny i feel great about many aspects of my life which i have changed and grown in ways which have exceeded my own expectations, but my marketing and business are plummeting.  I fail that class.  Truth be told i have been digging my own grave in alot of ways,  starting with, i've been opposed to participating in shows/galleries/etc which request 50% of the total sales of a selected piece of art.  I do not agree with this and hence, have been turning down many opportunities which were presented to me, including being in the L.A.Art Show earlier this year which is a pretty big deal.  So taking my stand on that has not benefited me.  I've spoken to many other artists about this and they've all been ok with it, i guess it's been the norm for awhile, i don't see how.  As artists we are submitting ourselves to getting taken advantage of by compromising our worth.  Yea, i get it, galleries pay bills, work hard to sell our artwork and have the connections, but as the CREATORS, and dedicating our lives to this craft, you think we've EARNED more then 50%! We also do our own share of marketing, networking etc etc.  Being an artist is a business.  You may label me a 'self rightous rookie', and you may be right.  I'll also mention here that unlike other types of arts,  fine artists do not receive royalties if our artwork gets resold or used in promotional campaigns.  One go and that's it. 

I've started learning Russian.  Starting with the alphabet, to reading and writing, pronunciation will take a little longer.  Love it though, i'm having a blast.  Why russian you may ask; well, my name is russian, i'm named after a WWII russian bomber plane and a song about a girl, anyhow, the language has fascinated me for the longest time so off i go.  If you see me and you speak the language, strike up a conversation (simple, remember, this is my first week).  Still practicing a little Italian since i got to know so many awesome Italians while traveling through there.

One of my professions is being an art model, i used to do it alot more, but my focus on my own artwork has taken priority so i'm no longer modeling as much.  Here are some examples;
Glenn Vilppu drawing

Mark Schwartz

April Conners

Matt Durante

Kirk Shinmoto

Lin Hua Zheng

Daniel Bilmes

Tim A.

Kelly McGraw

Jose H.

Ryan T.

Vadim Zanginian

Bill Perkins for a video for New Masters Academy

Richard B.

I worked on a portrait commission this week for a video game character.  I can't post it but it was fun, and hence, my working alittle less on my own stuff.

One more thing, next Saturday i'll be on a radio/tv show!  To catch the interview go to this site;

Gotta get crackin.  Finish some paintings! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

opening statements

Some of this weeks artwork.

My process now constitutes of live landscape studies, quicksketch at starbucks, good reference material, drawings, reading art books, guaches, small oil paintings, both in values and color, and the larger final piece after ironing out most other questions which may occur in the process.  An underdrawing and painting, an underpainting, then building my texture and final piece. 

Now, bare the following with me, it's an experiment.

Women merit respect (as everyone does). If someone doesn't respect you and treat you well,  then they don't deserve you, and you don't deserve them since the combination is clearly not a good one.
If in any situation, don't sell yourself short by being an asshole or thinking you don't deserve happiness because everyone deserves happiness, respect, love and beauty.  It starts in yourself.

For better or worse since i've arrived back in town i've been mostly focusing on the process of creation, and some meeting up with friends, running, yoga and stuff.  Point being, the art 'business' has not been on the forefront.  I figure, when i have a good hand on this new portfolio i have developing i'll hit the stops and do the other half of the job so i don't stretch myself out too thin prematurely.  And you may say, What!? A social life!?  Yea, i used to say that too. I have a passion, I don't need a social life.  Uh, no. Tried that, it sucks. As an artist we observe, study, and sit in a studio alone day after day week after week. It can be madning.  Humans are a social species, there is a good balance to be achieved to maintain a state of psychological health.  So. I'm doing a little more of that as wonderful as making art 24/7 can be there are days when other stuff gets to you and streaks a dangerous line.

 I'm also seeking a sort of 'enlightment', and connecting that concept with everything i'm interested in and doing.  I've had a pretty chaotic life and psychology.  I've been my own project for the longest time and now i think i can finally make it home.  It feels good, it feels right.  On we go with life, living and enjoying every moment.  I'll cheers to that, with my tea, which is really hot and barely makes sense to drink in this hot weather... but alas, i'll stand by it.

One last thing, if you're really excited and want to model for someone, i would love to draw/paint you (yes, portraits are awesome).  The trade off is you receive a drawing or painting by me (from that session), or we can trade modeling time or i can try to teach a thing or two about a chosen topic, or try to anyway.. can't say i know much about the habits of rabbits but you know, there's the internet. Contact me @

  :D alright.  Signing out. Till next week.