studiotwentysix2 the art + design of tom davie

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Running the Numbers

Sorry for my absence this week, too many things going on for one lad to deal with.

I am in the process of finishing three new drawings for a meeting with a gallery curator next week, trying to meet a Monday deadline for some retail packaging, all while fighting an infection in my mouth. Before I went to my dentist, no pain, no infection...after going to the dentist and enduring some drilling, burning, cutting, sealing and grinding — infection. The infection has led to my wildly attractive chipmunk cheek, which is so stylish that I could be the poster boy for chewing tobacco. Right now, I look like this guy, only with more hair, socks and better posture.


I wonder if my dentist was the guy in Dental school who squeaked by with a C- average? You know, the guy other dental students made fun of — right now I’m thinking that’s the case. I offer you this analogy for my dental escapade. One sunny afternoon you take your car to Jiffy Lube for an oil change, and after parking and speaking to the attendant; you walk over to the vending machine to get a candy bar. When you return one-minute later, the oil hasn’t been changed, but your car is in 500 different pieces and the serviceman just isn't quite sure what happened. It’s sort of like that.

Anyway, enough of my moaning — on to task at hand. I received this link from one of my lovely and charming readers. It’s a photographic series by artist Chris Jordan, entitled Running the Numbers, An American Self-Portrait. Jordan photographically depicts statistics based on American culture. For example, there are 10,000 domestic flights in America daily, wherein Jordan creates a large-scale print that includes 10,000 airliners and their jet trails (a detail shot below).


I would label the work as obsessive, using a combination of concept and repetitive pattern, which is often visually impressive. I don’t want to be overly critical, but prints such as Denali Denial and Cans Seurat, just seem to be trying too hard, as if the concept itself wasn’t strong enough and that the patterns needed to exist within another image (You’ll see what I mean when you visit the site). I really prefer the prints Jet Trails, Prison Uniforms, Valve Caps and Shipping Containers because they allow you to engage with the concept, without having to deal with a concept and a larger context as well.

The work is really ambitious from a technical and photo-layering standpoint, certainly worth a look.

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    Friday, April 20, 2007

    New Parishioner Work

    I just updated the Parishioner Series site with three new paintings and five new drawings. The updates for the studiotwentysix2 site are still in progress, but I promise, you’ll be the first to know when they are live.



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    Thursday, April 19, 2007

    Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture

    W A R N I N G !

    If you use more than one of the following terms to describe yourself, then this post is probably not for you: uptight, righteous, born-again, puritan, wholesome, innocent, naive or ultra-conservative.

    On the other hand, if you describe yourself in these terms: naughty, voyeuristic, naughty, experimental, naughty, raw or maybe a even a little naughty, then this post will light your fire.

    Now that we have that cleared-up, welcome to Fiftyrooms, a photographic site dedicated to Polaroid’s and young women. More than a dozen photographers are working under the same concept, to use Polaroid cameras to capture the most interesting and alluring photographs they can — as witnessed in the photograph below by Torben Raun. There is nudity in some of the images, which is sometimes done tastefully and sometimes not, depending on the photographer.

    I enjoy the natural-though-gritty quality that the Polaroid’s produce, it is a nice change-of-pace from the highly stylized and photoshopped images flooding the commercial market. Fiftyrooms is a great combination of contemporary photographers with old-school technology.



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    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    One Nation Under A Groove

    What can I say, I love the Funk, and it doesn’t get much funkier than George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.

    If you have even the slightest interest in Funk music, you will dig this 55-minute documentary. This film covers the evolution of the band that started as a Motown-style quintet in the 1960s, and developed into one of the most influential, and sampled groups of-all-time. Parliament Funkadelic is the bomb, what more needs to be said.



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    Monday, April 16, 2007

    Art + Anarchy

    If you live in, or will be visiting the Montreal area during the month of May, be sure to check out the exhibition, Art + Anarchy Montreal 2007. My screen print, Piece of Meat, will be part of the show that will consist of prints from 230 international, politically minded artists. The show opens May 3 at the Esplanade Loft Project Gallery. Below is the exhibition poster created by Montreal-based artist, Jesse Purcell.

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    Open For Business

    My lack of posting last week was due to the fact that I spent every waking hour working on the studiotwentysix2 online shop. I am happy to say, the shop is officially open. Check it out, browse around and enjoy.

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    Thursday, April 12, 2007

    Google Search, Part 2

    Google Search: “really crappy art”



    Don’t worry, I can wait…Take all the time you need…Drink in the soft, sensual, close-knit goodness of this fivesome.

    Before I get-on-top-of, or better yet, wrestle with the content of this drawing, I thought I would discuss the technical execution, because honestly, this thing is in dire need of a stiff once-over.

    Stiff Observation #1:
    Everyone can appreciate the importance of length. Typically when I create a portrait, I make sure that my subject’s neck-length averages between five and seven inches. Through ample research, I found this to be a visually pleasing size (regardless of said neck’s nationality). However, with a simple glance, it’s easy to see that these necks are special, obviously much longer than your typical neck. Each one might be eight, possibly ten inches, which is certainly impressive, but a bit much in my opinion. I hate to be a wet blanket, but an average neck is far superior, it is properly proportioned and more comfortable for both the artist and subject.

    Stiff Observation #2:
    Most people love nuts — It’s a scientific fact. Big nuts, small nuts, cashews, pistachios, they’re all wonderful. Just because you are a nut-lover though, does not make it acceptable to base your figure’s facial structure on an acorn. As you can see from my helpful illustration below, nuts, while a tasty delicacy, do not adequately resemble a human face. Helpful Hint #1: Keep nuts and faces separated at all times, or your piece will undoubtedly get messy.



    Stiff Observation #3
    When creating a group portrait, make sure that everyone’s hands can be accounted for — it avoids scandal. DaVinci created a stir in The Last Supper, when he included a dagger in the hand of what appears to be nobody. My point being, if you leave room for interpretation, viewers may actually interpret. In this drawing, I see five guys, nine hands and one wide-eyed gaze with quivering lips slightly agape. This obviously translates into a bit of playful poking between two of the subjects, nothing to worry about. Sorry, I mistakenly overreacted on this point; just ignore #3, my bad.

    Other than that, the drawing is great. If you can ignore the line quality, 1 x 2’s for arms (except for the guy on the far left who is sporting the guns of an 80 year-old woman), huge foreheads, bad coloring, bad clothes and crooked mouths. I can’t hate though, cause when hair looks that good, the rest is just details.

    The image content:

    I am euphoric, ecstatic even, to have found this image, because it reinforces my faith in good old-fashioned male bonding. I was getting tired of looking at the stereotypical depictions of women (as we saw in the first post of this series), with their mountainous breasts, tiny waists and ample midriffs — Insulting! Disgusting! A poor reflection on today’s society!

    Artists need to take a stand, and avoid hyper-sexualization and other smutty topics during their creative process! Today’s art should be more wholesome, like this pert fivesome standing at full-mast.

    Final Verdict: “Really crappy art”? Please! As if! This art is so uncrappy, that it should have appeared in an “uncrappy art” search. As a matter of fact, I enjoy this image so much that it will have a place of honor near my hope chest, along with some other wholesome favorites.




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    Friday, April 6, 2007

    Google Search, Part 1

    While in the mood for artistic inspiration, I journeyed over to Google to see what treasures await me. I began the search with clever descriptors like “art” and “good art”, looking for an image that might strike my fancy. Overwhelmingly unimpressed with the results, I continued to click through fourteen pages of mediocrity before boredom set in. To up the ante, I typed in “crappy art” curious to know if the art would in fact be “crappy”. Let me state for the record that I would never call any art “crappy”, however, that does not prevent me from invoking a seldom used moral loophole which enables me to comment on work which has already been labeled as such. Whew, how’s that for a lawyer-esque sounding sentence? With said moral loophole invoked, I picked one item to discuss from each of the following searches: “crappy art”, “really crappy art”, “super crappy art” and “unbelievably crappy art”. Here we go…

    Google Search: “crappy art”




    From a technical standpoint I would not consider this piece crappy, it seems to be adequately rendered, not great, but certainly not bad. From a concept and content standpoint, let me just say, C to the R to the APPY. I’ll openly admit I’m not a fan of fantasy art. I hate to be stereotypical, but every time I see a piece like this, I’m convinced the artist is a male between the ages of 15 and 38. I visualize someone who has an overabundance of body hair, loves any television show with the words “Trek” or “Slayer” in the title, is moderately overweight and a heavy breather. I understand that most artists work with subjects they feel passionate about, but every once in a while this guy should put down the gallon of peanut butter and economy-size hand lotion, take a shower, and go outside to meet an actual breathing girl. Breathing girls are totally more responsive, and typically more fun than their paper girl counterparts, but I digress, back to the art.

    Aside from the aforementioned content, I have three remaining issues with the piece. First, what is going on with the shoes? I don’t want to come across as a shoe snob, but apparently during a heavy breathing episode, the artist forgot to include any type of heel. Note: Stiletto’s are sexy, they have a heel, and they will only occasionally break an ankle, as opposed to these solid gold shoes that are an emergency-room-in-waiting. Remember, sexy and functionality can co-exist, next time think futuristic Victoria’s Secret. You know, that catalog you “borrow” from your Mom, and either never return or return in very “used” condition.

    Second, sculpted bodies can be a turn-on, but I think very few women, or men for that matter, are looking for someone who’s calves are thicker than their thighs. Unless your fantasy involves a woman who’s calves are capable of winning the Tour de France, you might want to use some restraint in this area. You know, just a little food for thought.

    Third, and most importantly, what in the name of juvenile-fantasies is hanging in between this woman’s legs? Is that your little love hammock? Perhaps a personal pleasure swing? A place where you can curl-up, enjoy the view, and know that all is right in the world?

    You know, after careful consideration I recant my earlier advice. It’s probably better for everyone if you stick to the peanut butter, your DVD collection of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and your assortment of paper girls. I know you might find this odd, but sometimes breathing girls won’t want to dress-up in Egyptian outfits consisting of golden helmets, breastplates and mini skirts. I realize that dress-up is fun, but you better have Plan B ready to occupy the other 99.999 percent of your time with the breathing girl.

    Final Verdict: After much mental deliberation, I hesitantly concur with the “crappy art” label. The reasoning can be summed up in two words “crotch swing” — it haunts me like the plague.

    Note: At this point, you are probably disgusted with me, or all geeked-up for some “really crappy art”, “super crappy art” or “unbelievably crappy art”. However, due to the sheer mass of writing, this post will be broken into four parts. Over the next two weeks, the remaining installments of “crappy” art will be revealed. I apologize if this irks you, but I don’t want to get in the habit of posting novels — for your sake and mine.

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    Wednesday, April 4, 2007

    One Year and Counting

    It’s been 52 weeks since studiotwentysix2.com went live, and I must confess, it has far-surpassed my original expectations. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you about the past year, and also let you know what’s in store for the future. My very own annual report so-to-speak, only this annual report will not subject you to awkwardly-posed photographs of me in a suit, standing in front of a computer or painting. Nope, for you it’s a fantastic picture of sock monkeys getting ready to tear into some cake.



    This past year:

    The original intent for studiotwentysix2.com was to create a simple site that showcased my fine art work — nothing more, nothing less. However, within the first few weeks, I decided to include my design and personal work, choosing to have the site cover my full-range of creative interests. I thought studiotwentysix2.com might attract a few visitors per month, catering mainly to a local crowd. As it turns out, I was pretty shortsighted on my expectations.

    Over the past year, studiotwentysix2.com has had tens-of-thousands of visitors from across the globe, combining for just under one million hits. During this time, HOW design, Design Observer, NOTCOT, Newwebpick, Vivianite, Gawker and many others, have been kind enough to link to my site and blog.

    The aspect of studiotwentysix2.com that has been extremely flattering, is the amount of traffic my site receives from universities and fine art schools. I had hoped that posting my design projects would attract students and faculty alike, and as it turns out, universities in the United Kingdom, Greece, Poland, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and China, not to mention a few-dozen schools in the United States, have visited studiotwentysix2.com. Since I am no longer teaching, it’s great to know I can still help students, even if I don’t have the daily interaction like I used to.

    Enough with the past, on to the future.

    What’s coming-up?

    In an attempt to further expand the studiotwentysix2.com site, I will be opening the studiotwentysix2 shop. Beginning sometime next week, there will be a “shop” link added to studiotwentysix2.com’s navigation that will lead you to the works available for purchase through the website. To begin with, the shop will offer my screen prints, several 24 x 24 inch paintings, and a few various other items. While some of the paintings will be quite expensive, I will try to keep lower-priced products available, to ensure that anyone who would like to own a piece of my work, is able to.

    I am currently in the process of going through my inventory, photographing work and setting up the shop via PayPal. I will let my faithful readers know when the shop becomes live, via this blog. Also in the next few weeks, I will be adding more work to studiotwentysix2.com. This will be a combination of brand new work, and previous work that I have yet to photograph. Again, I will keep you updated on the status of this as well.

    In closing, I want to thank each of you for visiting my site and blog, you are, without question, the most amazingly-fantastic group of remarkables ever. Seriously, thanks!

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    Monday, April 2, 2007

    What’s Cooking?

    It’s been too long since my last profile of a painter, so that’s what we have on-tap for today.

    Monica Cook has a strange, but intriguing body of portrait work. I say strange because her figures are rendered in a similarly effective manner, but the background treatments run a stylistic gamut. In some portraits, the heads are disembodied and floating, in others, the backgrounds are harshly painted-over, causing the figures to become outlined. Some backgrounds incorporate repetitive textures and others seem to envelope the subject.

    Nonetheless, the figures are beautifully painted, and Cook does an excellent job conveying her subject’s mood. I really enjoy her mix of nude and clothed figures. The presence of clothing, or lack thereof, appears to be of minimal importance to either the artist or the subject, as positioning and body language seem to be of much greater consequence.

    My major issue with Cook’s work is the presentation. The paintings are shown in a single-page thumbnail format, which is usually adequate, but in this case, the format seems to overwhelm the individual paintings. The inconsistent spacing between thumbnails doesn’t help much either. Since the background styles vary quite a bit, I would prefer to see the work one painting at a time. In my opinion, it would be much easier to appreciate the background style changes if the individual works were shown sequentially and built off each other.

    Personal website preferences aside, Monica Cook has a great body of work, which is certainly worth a look.




  • Monica Cook
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