Category Archives: Magnet

FaceBook Memories

My FaceBook page memories says I painted “No Hat #90” on this day’s date last year. It’s one of many I’ve done from a photo of transgender model Andreja Pejic, who I first painted in May of 2016 with “No Hat #21”.

No Hat #90 800

“No Hat #90” (acrylic on canvas board 11 x 14”) September 6, 2016.
$100 USD plus shipping.

AP crop
Andreja Pejic

No Hat #21 800“No Hat #21″ (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14”) May 12, 2016. SOLD

I return periodically to work from the photo of Andreja for various reasons. It’s soothing and stabilizing to paint the familiar — and it’s a barometer of my technical evolution in the ongoing series. I may consciously apply newly honed skills to it, aware of higher levels of brain-eye-hand activity that doesn’t always mean a better painting in the end. It’s still mostly about knowing when to stop. Each painting has thousands of micro-expressions (in the mouth and eyes in particular) that are in constant motion until I find a point where they hold a pronounced amount of personhood and attitude. It seems to be about inventing a fully fledged character that has obligations to me (and to you) — and possibly beyond that in terms of social philosophies and a history yet to unfurl.

Andreja Pejic is not just a well-lit face with lovely bone structure. Her story of personal and public evolution — and her professional understanding of what her face reveals — inform how I paint. I’m not overly-interested in making paintings that look like her. Obviously, as a very vocal feminist, I’m not using sex to sell art. I’m not subjugating women, but I think about these things. I worry about these things. What if I wasn’t a known feminist? Would my paintings of women be suspect?

Because I’m not beholden to the subject, I am free to change eye and hair color which are often based on other colours in the work, but I admit I am wary of painting too many blue-eyed blondes and what people will think when I paint African Americans. It was a truly strange week in my mind when I painted “The Party” without yet knowing of the uproar surrounding Dana Schutz’s painting “Open Casket” at the Whitney Biennial. Internally, I evaluated my motives and felt uneasy about how my painting might be interpreted, but it also gave me cause to realize nobody actually cares what I’m doing in any big way because I’m not in the “Art World” — I’m just some random painter who perhaps thinks her work is more important than it actually is. Having a history of being regarded as important in music has not translated to importance in writing and painting (yet).

People who see my work more or less know (and hopefully trust) my intentions, but is that good? I don’t essentially want to rely on that understanding. Anyway, it was a weird week.

The Party 800

“The Party” (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14″) March 20, 2017.
$100 USD plus shipping.

While I’m painting, I’m physically advocating for a strong personality to evolve in spite of — and because of — how things are (in my life, in your life, in the world at large). Yet, there are paintings with unmasked vulnerability, sadness, pain too. And paintings that are all mask — whether its paint, make-up, a lack figurative clarity or part of a traditional costume (the Kabuki series… which are men wearing white make-up portraying women).

Kabuki #1 by Jean Smith

“Kabuki #1″ (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14”) March 1, 2016.
$100 USD at John Doe Records Hudson, NY.

In many ways painting is like playing music or writing for me. I allow myself to be influenced by excellence, to connect my work to history without being thwarted by all that can be known, I infuse work with idiosyncratic stances — some of which have been in place from the beginning, other facets of which are just turning up now.

That Mecca Normal and my great creative partnership with David Lester are running concurrently makes this a nearly collaborative endeavour. Dave’s encouragement and understanding of me as both an artist and a human fuel my resolve to work, building my confidence and tenacity. I admire his discipline (work on a graphic novel about Emma Goldman), motivation and generosity. When his book is published, we’ll likely do some Mecca Normal-based events that will also include what I’m doing with the painting project. As with much of or work, there will be over-lapping themes and exciting ways to collaborate.

from FB

Drawing by David Lester – Graphic Novelist for his graphic novel about Emma Goldman.

I must admit, it suits my personality to be able to show people my paintings as soon as their finished. It’s integral, of course, the overall project. Books and records, tours and events all take so much time to complete and set in motion. It’s a great luxury to have an audience for my work here on FaceBook.

Thank-you for paying attention and for buying my paintings. This is the most exciting time of my life, but it would not be so without all the other incredibly exciting things that have happened (that I thought were the most exciting times).

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

Late July into August

It’s typical for me to switch things up near the end of the month when sales slow due to rent and bills. During this time I break away from painting faces and gravitate towards animals, land or seascapes, and now city streets.

This post is linked to Vol. 443 of Normal History (September 16, 2017) in Magnet Magazine.
Amidst the Waves 800
Amidst the Waves″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) July 30, 2017. SOLD

sandhill cranes 800
Sandhill Cranes″ (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) July 31, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #2 800
Amidst the Waves #2″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 2, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #3 800
Amidst the Waves #3″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 2, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #4 800

Amidst the Waves #4″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 2, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #5 800
Amidst the Waves #5″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Amidst the Waves #6 800
Amidst the Waves #6″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Amidst the Waves #7 800
Amidst the Waves #7″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Amidst the Waves #8 800
Amidst the Waves #8″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Rain 800
“Rain” (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 7, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Tagged , , , , ,

“Is that the one I want?”

david-briker-photo-by-bob

David Briker on deck (literally) waiting for Beth and Bob to make their final selection. Photo: Bob Hanham

No Hat #124 800

“No Hat #124” (acrylic on canvas panel, 11 x 14”) SOLD

 

Tagged , , , ,

Girls Dominated the Landlines aka The Phone

No Hat 138 800

“No Hat #138″ (acrylic on canvas panel 11 x 14”) SOLD

 

The Phone 800

“Girls Dominated the Landlines aka The Phone” (acrylic on canvas panel 11 x 14″) SOLD

Both sold to Tom Anselmi, former singer in Slow.

 

 

 

Tagged , , , ,

Girls Dominated the Landlines

The Phone 800

“The Phone” (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) is one of a handful of anomalies in my ongoing series of $100 USD paintings.

A recently created slide show of paintings currently available represents the two main themes in the series: “The Hat” and “No Hat”. Other anomalies include a handful of animals and a few landscapes.

Tagged ,

Discovering Utopia, 2010

20 Questions: Calvin Johnson of K Records, Verbicide Magazine, October, 2016

Verbicide: What song really hits you in the feels and makes you cry?

Calvin: “Malachi” by Mecca Normal.

One painting in the series “Discovering Utopia” (cover art for the Mecca Normal 7″) is still available.

The 7″ cover was included in an exhibit about Malachi Ritscher in the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

 

 

mecca-normal-malachi-single-cover-art

“Malachi” 7″ on K Records


jean-smith-discovering-utopia-3-600

“Discovering Utopia #3″ by Jean Smith (12 x 16” acrylic on canvas) 2010. SOLD

jean-smith-discovering-utopia-4-600

“Discovering Utopia #4″ by Jean Smith (12 x 16” acrylic on canvas) 2010. SOLD

jean-smith-discovering-utopia-5-600

“Discovering Utopia #5″ by Jean Smith (12 x 16” acrylic on canvas) 2010. SOLD

jean-smith-discovering-utopia-6-600

“Discovering Utopia #6″ by Jean Smith (12 x 16” acrylic on canvas) 2010. $250 USD plus shipping.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

aka Shanny McIntosh

No Hat #116 800

“No Hat #116 aka Shanny McIntosh” SOLD to Courtney Jaxon

Mecca Normal “I Walk Alone” at Courtney Jaxon’s house in Arcata, CA

No Hat #117 800

“No Hat #117 aka Shanny McIntosh #2” SOLD to Mack McFarland, Director of Center for Contemporary Art & Culture at Pacific Northwest College of Art.

“Essentially you have a culture of peoples who have often been neglected to the background of the history books but through sheer perseverance and talent have altered the ways in which we participate with each other in these cultural places and ultimately it comes down to being a part of a communal atmosphere and the inherent joys and hardships of being in a community.” – Shanny McIntosh

This post relates to Vol. 408 of my weekly column, January 14, 2017, in Magnet Magazine

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Message

Vol. 392 of Normal History (September 24, 2016) Jean Smith and David Lester’s weekly column in Magnet Magazine

singer-magnet-message-big-crop

The Message from Mecca Normal’s album The Observer (Kill Rock Stars, 2006)

Mother Africa walking along with Stephen Lewis. The dancers are dancing towards the camera. Hips moving real fast. A young woman in a school uniform, standing in front of the choir, singing a song perhaps she wrote for this occasion, this television opportunity. Make no mistake; it’s directed at you and me.
She sings, “Why me? Why him? Why her?”
But the real question underlies the theme. We know you have the drugs. You keep them under lock and key in the west away from us and you choose who lives, who dies.
Mother Africa takes off her large lens glasses and wipes her eyes. Stephen Lewis doesn’t look like he’s gonna cry. He takes the message back. Takes the message back to where it’s heard.
Why me? Why him? Why her? And do we choose who lives, who dies? Who dies?