May 25, 2017

Miniature in the Mail #65: "Hollywood, Dead Ahead"

"Hollywood, Dead Ahead," 5x5in., oil on masonite

Back from a successful show in Beverly Hills last weekend. I sold a few large paintings and a bunch of these minis, but more importantly I met some new folks and had good conversations about art and life.

Today's piece came out of a moment in which I got lost somewhere approaching Hollywood. I glimpsed the talisman, I mean, car, from above on an overpass.

Others might fret over terrorists or killer germs, but the guy with the neofascist undercut I saw at the supermarket last night worries me more. I also stress over cars. One of my progeny was hospitalized with pneumonia when she was younger and now seems to always start to cough when the smog shoots up. Then, in L.A., the urban design is way too easy for privatized motor transport. Roads are broad, parking spacious, turns sweeping, and signs huge.

Maybe that sounds contradictory but take it from a frequent pedestrian and cyclist, these apparent safety measures in reality lull drivers into a false sense of awareness.

In messy Italy where I lived last year, road culture is the opposite. Streets are narrow and bumpy, walls come right up to sidewalks, and walkers young and old, tourists, mopeds, motorbikes, cars, trucks, buses, and bikes zigzag and entangle in a wild sort of mass dance.

Funnily, it feels safer because drivers expect unusual forms of traffic and are vigilant. By force of circumstance, they moderate their speed. You could text while driving—I certainly saw itbut it's as likely you'd take out yourself on a medieval bend as quickly as you'd do anyone else in.

This weekend, I'll be at another show, in Redlands, Smiley Park, Booth 23. Come out if you can.

For this mini and others like it, check out www.ivanostocco.com.

May 19, 2017

This weekend, Beverly Hills Art Show

Here's where I'll be this weekend. Booth 159 on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Rodeo Dr. It'll be my first time at this show. Come and say hi.

May 16, 2017

Side Effects

"Side Effects," 24x24in., acrylic on aluminum

I've been thinking a lot about technique these days. On the one hand, that's all art is, a unique, creative, stylized way of saying the same old, same old about love, loss, celebration, strength, corruption, etc. Nothing new, but expressed in ways that seem fresh and strike just the right chord at the right time.

On the other hand, you can give yourself over entirely to technique, like a master cabinetmaker or a classical musician. You can work real hard at it, get as good as the mastersand forget what it was you aimed to achieve with the art in the first place. You can get lost. In other words, it's not the art that's the end (art for art's sake), but a tool to something bigger.

In today's art world, with the rise of conceptual art, we've definitely shifted away from the manually adept, virtuosic side of art and have refocused on what the point of it all is and how it can change the ways we perceive things in a radical sense.

I've always tried to tread a line between the two, and probably most admire the artists that have achieved or at least respect this (Ai Weiwei, the Kronos Quartet, Banksy, William Morris, and Diego Rivera come to mind), but I've probably lapsed more into the manual craft side.

In ways the divide reminds me of the discussion about artists and class. The artist "is persistently working up to be accepted, not only by other artists, but also by the hierarchy that exhibits, writes about, and buys their work," writes Lucy Lippard in "The Pink Glass Swan." "At the same time, s/he is often ideologically working down in an attempt to identify with the workers outside of the art context and to overthrow the rulers in the name of art."

The painting, by the way, is a view of Laguna Beach, way out of frame.

May 12, 2017

For Ray

8x8in., acrylic on panel

This is for my friend Raymundo, the crossing guard at my kid's school.

Ray, as he's called, lost his boy here a day before his boy would have turned 30. He's giving the picture to his wife for Mother's Day and I have the suspicion it will be one of the first, if not the first, work of original art in their household.

Some of us live with a lot of pain. Be kind to one another. And a happy Mother's Day this weekend.

For more of my art, visit www.ivanostocco.com.