February 23, 2018


"Hardboiled," 24" x 24", mixed media on panel

You want it darker?

In my previous two homes where the winters are real as frostbite and when the clouds roll out they stay for days or even weeks, I couldn't get enough of painting sunny scenes with an almost Hitchcock-Almodóvar-Hopper sense of lighting. But here in the land of film and the set, where it's all flipped and the norm is sun, darkness has been seeping in. I didn't realize it until I sat back, looked at this hombre, and told it to climb up its thumb.

I wish I could explain better but I understand—I feel—finally the appeal of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Billy Wilder, and all the incredible noir in literature in film, before the fluff moved in.

For this punk and others, sees www.ivanostocco.com.

February 20, 2018

Mini #81: As the Case May Be

"As the Case May Be," 5" x 5", oil on panel

Back in September, I was in my hometown for some work and red tape and managed to hit up the tracks, river, and other choice post-industrial dishevelries.

I sat on the tracks, careful to look for wasps (learned that the hard way more times than I care to admit), and thought about the all the idle hours I spent as a kid tightrope walking the long metal lines, striding the ties up to three at a time, fooling with the big rusty nails and "S"s, feeling the smell of tar lighten my head, squashing pennies flat as communion wafers under the train wheels, slingshotting rocks (even frogs) from "forts" at passing trains, rehearsing ninja moves in case a stray dog came around (about once a week), plucking walking sticks and praying mantises out of bushes (do those even exist anymore?)... And I sketched this scene along an edge of the old Woods factory, currently metamorphosing into a condo, naturally.

Who knows whether metal boxes like these, with sagging wires coming in and out do anything anymore, but they make great canvasses. And something about them being accessible and exposed feels enchantingly perilous.

For more, check out www.ivanostocco.com.

February 13, 2018

Crackpots, jackpots, and flower pots

Namaste! Here's my latest picture fresh outta the studio. A bunch of collage and acrylic paint on birch panel, 36" x 48".


Oh, beautiful flowers! Bright, consummate flowers. Pleasures of the world and fairy delight. Poised betwixt earth and paradise. Waft me, oh flowers, to summers of old; I dote upon you.

The timid, bashful VIOLET. The PANSY in his purple dress. Immortal AMARANTH and kind, kind AMARYLLIS, wanton country maid. APPLE BLOSSOMS, a shower of pearl. And the hang-head BLUEBELL. CAMOMILE, the more it is trodden on the faster it grows. And hope's gentle gem, the FORGET-ME-NOT. The HYACINTH, whose sweet bells stooping bend with odours heavy, but JASMINE, among the flowers no perfume can compare. Oh MARIGOLD, whose courtier's face echoes the sun. And ORCHIDS with their coy and dainty faces.

But my favourite, fellow seekers, the DANDELION, the common flower that fringes the dusty road with harmless gold, which children pluck and uphold.

From the land of crackpots, jackpots, and flower pots, a very romantic Happy Valentine's Day!

For more love check out www.ivanostocco.com.

February 5, 2018

Life in the Fast Lane

"Life in the Fast Lane," oil on canvas mounted on panel, 30" x 30"

And meanwhile, behind Disneyland and the Disneyland-of-the-mind: great feats of brutalist engineering drenched in sun.

The other day I caught an interview on the radio with Henry Mintzberg, a professor of management. I thought I'd do my bit to listen to the other side, only it turned out I was in almost total agreement.

Interviewer: "You're trying to get people to look at things as they are, not as we wish they would be."
H.M.: "Yeah, I came out of the womb like that."
Interviewer: "I think you did, yeah. [Chuckle, chuckle]. But that's the point, to look at it coldly, to look at it for what it is."
H,M.: "Yeah, but I want to look at it warmly."

They were talking about healthcare, but in my dream scenario it'd hold for art as well.

Check out www.ivanostocco.com for more, wonderful people.

January 26, 2018

Together (No. 14)

"Together (No. 14)," acrylic on birch panel
My most recent "Together" piece, number 14 now.

It's all in the shadows.

John Locke in his 1689 Essay Concerning Human Understanding: "The picture of a shadow is a positive thing."

For more about the series, check out my effort to write words around it at http://www.ivanostocco.com/together.php.

Have a good one!

January 11, 2018

The Motorcade, Cyclist, and Finger

"Briskman," oil on aluminum, 24" x 24"

I don't know if you caught this little news piece a few weeks ago. Here it is in the NY Times.

Juli Briskman, 50, single mom of two, is on her bike when the post-literacy president's motorcade, leaving Trump National Golf Course, passes by. She does what any half-decent individual would do and flips the bird. "I just got angry...[He's] golfing again when there is so much going on right now."

A few days later, she's called into a meeting at her company, Akima, which contracts for the U.S. Department of Defense. She's told her conduct was "obscene" and broke company ethical standards. Her conduct?

They force her to resign.

I don't know, I don't generally like news in my art but this heroic David-and-Goliath gesture really called to me.

Afterwards, donations come pouring in, including a grand from Rosie O'Donnell. Briskman uses the dough to pay down some of the medical expenses of uncovered sick people. The stable genius, in the meantime, goes on watching gorillas fight and his reflection in the screen.

Another day in the imperium.

For more screeds, check out www.ivanostocco.com.

December 23, 2017

Together No. 13

"Together (No. 13)," acrylic on birch panel, 24" x 48"

Ta-da, numero 13 of my series Together, just for all the misanthropes. If you've forgotten why I started this series and what it has to do with anything, the explanation can be found over at http://www.ivanostocco.com/together.php.

I'm not sure what it is about these but they keep selling, which is odd because here in California I haven't really wrapped my head around how to conceptualize things as I was able to in Italy or elsewhere. Despite the insanely glorious weather, you're more likely to see a bunch of cars rubbing bumpers than people rubbing elbows, or if they are people, they're smushed into turnstiles at Walmart or Target.

The other place, of course, can be Joshua Tree, the sequoias, and all the spots people escaping people follow other people escaping people only to find themselves together again.

Fairgrounds with security, admissions, and super set-design curation are also good. That's where this painted rectangle happened to come from: a show I did near San Diego in the Fall, slipping out for moment to do my hoser duty and hear Alanis Morissette perform (yup) and then, believe it or not, Tom Petty, a few weeks before he moved on to the spirit in the sky.