Thursday, December 23, 2010
Based out of San Francisco, Juxtapoz magazine is without question my paramount source for inspiration and education about what's happening in the ever-evolving world of low-brow or pop surrealist art. For this reason, I was incredibly excited to write a review for them of the super talented mixed media artist Robert Hardgrave's show "Relic," which recently opened in Denver at the David B. Smith gallery. I even managed to sneak into some of the photos. Read it and view it here!
"Born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Boulder artist Jason García’s paintings still carry with them the edge and ferocity of the city. An accomplished artist on various fronts, García’s art has manifested everywhere from murals on city streets to fine art pieces hanging in downtown galleries. He can also take credit for being one of the founding pioneers of live painting, having toured with Sound Tribe Sector Nine for nearly a decade.
While these days it’s a common sight to see an artist onstage with a band, back when García started, the concept was virgin and unexplored. When he was first approached by a San Francisco band in 1998 to paint onstage, he had never heard of anyone doing such a thing."
Read the rest of my article on artist Jason García here.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
When I returned to get my tattoo finished, I brought this phenomena up with Phil, the tattoo artist at Rising Tide. He said that he commonly hears similar stories of huge shifts in people’s lives and mentalities after being tattooed. I had begun to describe what I experienced in my life after being tattooed as feeling like some sort of initiation or rite of passage. Hearing that other people experienced a similar sensation made me curious about the role of tattooing through human history, and it’s seemingly latent potential for unlocking spiritual growth.
Many ancient cultures, such as the Egyptians, Persians, and Chinese, engaged in tattooing for spiritual purposes. Evidence of tattooing has been found as early as the Neolithic times- instruments that were most likely used for tattooing have been discovered at several archeological sites in Europe that were made from sharp bone needles and red ochre, which was used as the pigment to dye the skin. Ötzi the Iceman, a natural mummy dating from the fourth to fifth millennium BC who was preserved in a glacier in the Ötz valley in the Alps, had approximately 57 carbon tattoos consisting of simple dots and lines on his lower spine, behind his left knee, and on his right ankle. These tattoos were thought to be healing related because their placements correspond with acupuncture points.
Another well-preserved mummy, The Man of Pazyryk, a Scythian chieftain, has detailed tattoos of fish, monsters, dots and lines that are over 2,500 years old (shown below).
Many indigenous cultures throughout time and across the world have recognized the spiritual import of tattooing, and although I still don’t understand exactly how a simple physical act crosses over into the spiritual realm in such a profound way, my own experience states that it certainly does.
The significance of my tattoo, the flower Datura Solanaceae, also known as Moonflower or Jimson Weed, is multifarious. Regarded as a sacred plant by indigenous cultures in widespread places including North America, Central America, South America and Asia, Datura is a ceremonial, medicinal, and psychedelic flower that is as powerful as it is beautiful. Often associated with a dark feminine spirit, each Datura flower blooms once in the evening, releasing a potent citrus scent that is said to affect one’s dreams if inhaled before sleep. The famous American artist Georgia O’Keefe, one of my role models, paid homage to this plant in many of her paintings.
I grew up with Datura blooming in my yard, teaching me about the secret life of plants and imprinting it’s translucent and eerie beauty onto my psyche. The journey of turning that mental imprint into a physical one has been a shockingly transformative experience. I hope you enjoy the short video I put together to share the adventure!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Numerous people have asserted that all of my drawings are self-portraits. I've always denied this, mainly because drawing myself over and over again has never been my intention when I put pencil to paper- plus it seems pretty narcissistic.
However, looking through some old sketch books, I noticed that when I had absurdly long hair, the women I drew would always have hair flowing past their hips or into the sky. When I was contemplating shaving my head, suddenly all the women were bald. As my hair has grown out over the past two years, after being shorn closely to my skull, the cast of females populating my art has gone through an ever-changing style of hair-dos that seem to match my own.
But wait! I haven't always been so self-absorbed! Check out this drawing, done right before I turned five. Everyone seems to think it's a cat, but no, it's obviously a unicorn wearing a bikini and leg-warmers standing in a field of tulips under a rainbow. Obviously. You can see the beginnings of my manic obsession to detail in the ecstatic rays of the frighteningly cheery sun. I clearly remember holding my breath in concentration while drawing all those semi-straight attempts at parallel lines with the yellow marker in my chubby hand.
Still, I can't claim that my most recent two drawings aren't at least partially autobiographical. They might not look like me, but the emotions expressed in each are particular feelings that I've been blessed to experience as of late.
The first, which I finished a week or two ago, is called "The Flora and Fauna of Forgetting." It depicts the patience it takes to let go, the process of healing, and the grace of surrender.
The next drawing, a small one on cardboard that I finished today, is called "The Placid Pollination." It also portrays patience, but this time it's the patience and trust it takes to plant the seeds of one's intentions and goals and wait for them to manifest.
Thanks for reading and viewing... I encourage you to click on the images to see the detail, and to leave comments if you have any feedback.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
My first visit to the valley was facilitated by my friend Joody, who has spent the last six years in Yosemite as a park ranger. I felt very blessed to have someone who knew all the secret paths that led away from the swarms of overweight tourists in their rented RVs. We spent the majority of the week hiking off-trail to hidden swimming holes and remote waterfalls.
Every spring, the rivers and waterfalls surge with water as the snow melts from the high country. According to Joody's ranger friends, this spring has brought a particularly bountiful volume of snow melt, resulting in extremely turbulent rivers, swelling waterfalls, and flooding of usually dry meadows. Here I am swimming in the sun-warmed pools in El Cap meadow, which is normally covered only in grass.
You can see the blades of wild grass beneath the reflection of the granite cliffs... it was soft on the feet and tickled when you swam over it.
Another view from a dryer part of the meadow...
Here you can see the flooded meadows from the top of the East Buttress of Middle Cathedral, an eleven pitch 10c climb I did with two French men I fortuitously met, Julien and Xavier.
Here is Middle Cathedral, considered one of the 50 classic climbs in North America, as seen from across the valley on El Cap. The 1100 foot route goes up the mid-left section of the cliff, descending behind the mountain on several repels and a long, exhausting field of scree populated by aggressive mosquitoes.
Here is Julien starting the crux pitch- a sloping slab with microscopic holds- my favorite kind of climbing.
Here's a close up of the intricate beauty of the granite- something I spent a long time observing while hanging at belays.
Another phenomena I spent most of the day observing was the wild, anomalous clouds, including these radiating spires coming from behind El Cap, and this corkscrew cloud that appeared to be shooting out of a spire across the valley.
The climb was a success, so two days later we decided to try something much more challenging- a route called Free Blast, the first ten pitches on the Salathé Wall, one of the original technical climbing routes on El Cap. Royal Robbins referred to the Salathé Wall as "the greatest rock climb in the world;" it's also included in the 50 classic climbs of North America.
I hesitantly agreed to come along, knowing full well that I was signing up for a day of suffering, fear, and challenge.
We started climbing a little after 6 am, beginning the first pitch of 10c finger crack as the sun broke over the trees. A novice crack climber, I groveled my way up the first pitch, grunting and sweating as my anxiety about my ability to complete the climb grew from mild hesitation to intense preoccupation. When I reached the first belay, I asked as casually as possible, between panting breaths, if I could see the route description. What I thought was going to be a climb of six pitches of 10c was actually going to be ten pitches of 11b. Shit. That'll teach me to do my homework.
Determined not to make Free Blast the third multi-pitch route that I've had an emotional breakdown on, I kept my qualms to myself and endured the freezing wind intermingled with broiling sun on the 100-million-year-old rock. By the time we reached the eighth pitch, a supposedly 5.8 chimney that was one of the hardest pitches of climbing I've ever done due to my lack of chimney-know-how, I was falling asleep while hanging at the belay. Here is Xavier traversing the roof, about to begin the chimney of DOOM!!
Eventually, we finished the route as the sun descended behind the valley walls. Rather than using words to explain how I felt at the end of the day, I think these two intricately related images will suffice:
Battered and sore, the next day, Joody and I hiked on hidden trails through mist and moss to the prolific Yosemite falls...
At the end of the day, we descended into a secret cave, squeezing our way through the pitch black, muddy passages of rock and stone, and somehow spotting this snake eating a frog in the light of our headlamps on the way out. Whoo!!
Yesterday I said to farewell to the magical peaks of Yosemite, including Half Dome- the 87-million-year-old monolith of granite, which the Miwoks called T’ssiyakka, or crying girl, because of its resemblance to a weeping woman's profile.
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