Friday, August 31, 2012

Shame on me!

Twerk Laser (12x12in, aerosol on canvas, 2012)

Ok — shame on me!! Leaving for so long without a single update, without even announcing the winner of the Broken Arrow contest!? Ridiculous! To be honest, I haven't been feeling great for the past while, but that's definitely no excuse. Well, now that we're here, onwards to the Broken Arrow contest results! The mystery prize, Twerk Laser, can be seen above. Please give it up for the winner, one Alex Ross of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This was actually a hella tough decision. I was lucky enough (thanks so much everyone!!) to get a ton of thoughtful, well articulated, original and insightful submissions. I was totally overwhelmed by both the number and quality; I was driven into the lab like a madman wanting to create more work, stronger work. Alex's submission got the win because it was poignant and concise (something I often struggle with in my own writing), and powerfully honest. It gave me a totally new perspective on Broken Arrow, and the Singularities series in general, and how it could be read. I really want to thank everyone again for sending something in, I learned so much about the work I create through how you saw it. I've read all the submissions at least 9 or 10 times, some more, and so many people putting time, energy, and thought into their responses is seriously gratifying and hella motivating. Much love!

Broken Arrow (36x24in, aerosol on canvas, 2012)

I don't have room to share all of the submissions in full, but I wanted to share excerpts from a few of my favourites (I've left any minor spelling or grammatical errors in):

"...seems like a cave painting that was left in Neverland. A story that would be passed along almost as an urban fairy tale. Something that would be discovered post apocalypse. Where the street artists were the cavemen and the lost boys are us."

"Yo this painting gives me a reminder of my long struggle with addiction and alcoholism. The tan backround is the blindfold of alcohol and how little i see and enjoy in life when i drink, it seems calm and has the appearance to have a greater message, but it doesnt. The real joy and journey through life is along the arrow, with all sorts of colours representing balance in life. Too much of anything makes you an addict right, life is dull with only a few colours, too rigid and stagnant. I like how its got flow, still water stinks. I need to remind myself to always move forward and have variety. For me, my arrows been broken, split and gone all sorts of different angles. Each break in my arrow has led me places i would never had known exsisted that have made me a better person. So far, the arrow keeps goin, i just cant forget whats in my background or i might just be blindfolded again."

"To my eyes, I see some tags and graffiti on a wall somewhere that's been painted over (presumably by some social authority, suggesting all sorts of narratives about power and marginalized expression). The sharp lines and bright colors overlaying the the staid tan layer resemble the geometry of a circuit board, suggesting that digital tools offer a means of combating wheat colored repression. Most importantly, while the color palette revealed by the transformer-style circuitry is probably brighter and more saturated than it was prior to being painted over by the tan, it's not an entirely new palette. In other words, the tools of the digital age don't fundamentally alter the original expression, but increase its power and make it much harder to paint over and sweep under the metaphorical rug. All the oblique angles suggest that the circuitry is dynamic and growing... In other words, it's just getting started." (Snap, homie!!)

"It reminds me of what Jimmi Hendrix would see while tripping out on acid while doing a live show."

"I get an almost Native American feeling from the brown and tan colours in the piece, tagged "thieving s(w?)ine" as if in retort for the land that the white man has stolen from them, and indirectly created the art form that is being used to create the piece itself."

"The first thing that stands out to me is a theme of chaos among order; specifically I immediately noticed that although most of the 'circuit' lines seem to follow a clearly defined path/pattern, there are a few that are not entirely parallel with their neighbors. The fist stands out next, representing to me resistance, rebellion and non-conformism. The overall design is reminiscent of a circuit board and similarly-derived themes (e.g. Tron), signifying transmission of information and automation of calculation - building blocks in human advancement. Bland foreground colours with bits of words I can't make out are reminiscent of Soviet-era opression, and I imagine a cicuit-shaped Band-Aid being ripped away to reveal the bright, colourful existence that lies beneath - the future. Perhaps this suggests that it is communication/transmission of information that is the vehicle in beginning the dismantling of oppressive regimes. Although the circuit lines in the top right are still composed of straight lines, they are some of the only angles in the piece that are obtus (greater than 90 degrees), making them seem nearly organic compared to the carefully structured other lines. It almost looks like an eagle's wing to me, symbolizing liberty/freedom. The location of this 'wing' so close to the defiant fist further suggests rebellion/defiance for the sake of freedom from oppression."

"What I see in it is essentially the growth and evolution of consciousness.  It's always there, but only can be tuned into on certain frequencies, rhythms, and codes.  Everywhere that has not been transmitted into it is still there (the tan, textured background), just not nearly as vibrant or soulful as the rest of the environments or entities that enable consciousness.  It's almost as if it is there, but after it's searching for patterns, or ways to organize itself, the consciousness reveals that it's really just created it's own pattern of consciousness in the process." (Deep!)

"When I look at this painting, I can't help but feel pumped. Like, as good as you feel when you win a contest. Yeah, that's exactly it. It makes me feel like a winner. Of contests. The bright colours and sharp lines that really solidify that for me, they have the same internal energy made even more invigorating but also anxiety inducing by the neutral yellow that is quite predominant in the piece. Although it's not completely neutral, so sorta like when someone first tells you about a contest and you get visibly excited but you don't want to get fully excited like you just know that if you get your hopes up that it'll really suck when you don't win because it'd be the best feeling ever to win without a doubt, the best ever, and your trepidation shows but it what truly it shows is that you're not letting yourself fully feel your inner, lurking, more excited excitement in anticipation because you're pretty sure you're talented and funny and attractive enough to win. The painting shows that though. The inner stuff." (this made me laugh so much! and relate)

"Looks like the airport at Area 54 with the desert floor in the background and the CIA's idea of camouflage on the runways."

"The vertical lines that taper off in a 3D skyline type of a way at the top, and are decorated with billowing banners and a fist (representing glamour and power respectively), portray the current rap major labels, the Def Jams, Cash Money, Aftermath ect., and, compared to the surroundings, its the most interesting thing happening by far. I can't really begin to accurately guess what the lettering behind or in the building actually says, but for my purposes, I'm seeing that as reading something close to "Thieving Inc.". That green script inside the tower might read "Evil" though too, that could work.. Anyways, its got the semi official lookin circular stamp shape encircling the towers, so it all represents the industry in my eyes. Everything about the lines has a very high-tech feel to it, like circuitry, which is appropriate because the commercialization of the Hip Hop culture has always been very much based on technology; be in cassettes, CDs, or now MP3s (and headphones), the big leagues were/are making most of their skrilla off of selling the actual plastic the music was printed on, not the music. It's the reason that the industry is having trouble making money now that no one wants to pay 14 bucks for a piece of plastic that cost the company 2 dollars, of which 1 dollar  actually went to the artists pocket. But that's another rant..."

My man Doobyis also recorded a fresh track called The Breakthrough as a submission — check it out after the jump! Thanks again for coming thru, and a big big-up goes to all those that had a chance to submit something to the contest. I'm in Calgary over the weekend but have a TON of new work to share once I get back — no months-long hiatus this time, I promise!