Hotel / Pizza / Text

I rarely use text in my paintings, but it’s something I may get into. With resistance a prevalent theme, I’ve been considering how to make my portraits more overtly political. Text is probably the easiest way to get a point across.

Last summer, I was asked to paint actress and singer Francoise Hardy, so I found a photo I found of her outside the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. I tend to use photos as starting points, and not necessarily to paint a likeness. This wasn’t a commission, so I felt free to paint the subject the way I normally do. Without slavishly representing her features.

I noticed that putting the subject in front of a hotel sign suggested certain things about the women I painted. I wasn’t convinced that everyone would know it was the Chelsea Hotel where artists, musicians and other creative types lived and congregated, so I changed the iconic hotel sign to a pizza sign — and suddenly it felt like the subject had moved from the hotel to the pizza parlor. Or perhaps there were different women outside both locations.

Because I post my work immediately after I paint it, there is a kind of sequential element built into it. I noticed that added text suggested a possible narrative — at least it did to me.

I’d already painted a few baboons without text when I decided to paint one with the pizza sign. The baboon reminded me of King Kong — perhaps because the Chelsea Hotel sign placed the action in New York. Now, instead of being concerned that the women might be regarded as sex workers, I was worried King Kong was going to grab one of them and carry her up the Empire State Building.

I painted the last one in the series to indicate that the baboon did not harm the subject(s). I’m pretty sure I was the only person caught up in my halting narrative, but adding text to my otherwise language-free portraits was a surprisingly power experience.

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“No Hat #104” SOLD

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“No Hat #105”

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“No Hat #106”

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“No Hat #107”

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“Baboon #3” SOLD

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“No Hat #109”

 

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No Hat cover bands

You probably heard about this already, but No Hat #116 and #117 formed a Salt ‘n Pepa cover band and they’re actually pretty good!

You probably heard about this already, but some of the women from the No Hat series decided to form a Devo cover band and they’re actually pretty good!

Incredibly, one of the stars of “Whip It” is still available!
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No Hat #93

“No Hat #93″ (acrylic on canvas panel, 11 x 14”). $100 USD plus shipping.

 

 

 

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Studio Visits

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Ronan Boyle and Tom Anselmi looking at paintings
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 Everyone gets a little lecture before they’re allowed to leave.
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David Briker on deck (literally) waiting for Beth and Bob to make their final selection. Photo: Bob Hanham
Studio Visits are done, resulting in 7 (and possibly 9 or even 11) sales and a handful of strategies to think about. Bigger panels, higher prices, scarcity, merch potential, cultivating my Instagram, a show in LA, prints!

The “c” word got used for the first yesterday. Collector. As in a collector is sending someone over here to select three paintings.

All this action in an otherwise ultra-reclusive life could send some artists into a tailspin, but not me! I love it! This kind of thinking replicates what I have done with Mecca Normal for 30+ years. I love making things happen along these lines! Working with fabulous people!

With my FB painting sales tanking in January, now is a good time to consider other avenues. I don’t think I’ve lived above the poverty line since the mid-80s; I might wanna give that a try!

Favourite interactions with a total of 5 people I didn’t know:

 – David Briker comparing my paintings to Marlene Dumas, whose work I discovered about a month ago! Such a great compliment! Once I discovered her, I had to see everything, watch every video!! Life-altering. Truly. My work changed at that point. I mean, it changes all the time, but there was a fabulous shift for having seen her paintings.
 – Thomas asking me if I wanted his opinions. Me saying, “That’s why you’re here! Didn’t you know that?”
 – The great surprise of really liking Ronan Boyle’s paintings after he “tagged along” with Tom, bought a painting, and kindly shared his opinions about various directions I could go in.
 – Watching Beth go through the paintings, pulling out many of my favourites to consider. When work spans a year in solitude and then, finally people see it in person, watching the associations they make is really something. It’s watching a person’s inner workings come to the fore in response to something I created, something I obviously have strong feelings about. While I was sad to see those three paintings sell, I know where they are and I’ve already invited myself over for dinner!
 – Meeting and having a really fun visit with Bob and Beth.
 – David Briker introducing me to the work of Elisabeth Peyton. Noticing I really connect with the artists he likes, and the colours he likes and tends to use in his projects.
 – David Lester coming over for the Friday Studio Visit with Ronan and Tom. Things always go better when Dave is around!

Upshot: contact with humans IRL proves interesting

Thanks everyone for participating!!!

Below: paintings sold during this weekend’s Studio Visits
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SOLD

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SOLD

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SOLD

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SOLD

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SOLD

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SOLD

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SOLD

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“Is that the one I want?”

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

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

 

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Girls Dominated the Landlines aka The Phone

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

 

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

Both sold to Tom Anselmi, former singer in Slow.

 

 

 

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Girls Dominated the Landlines

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The Phone

“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.

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Razorcake Magazine #95

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photo by Jean Smith
Razorcake #95 available now!
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Great SEVEN PAGE interview with me by author and educator David Ensminger about continuing on as culture-maker in a youth-driven society. The piece is based on my longstanding underground rock duo Mecca Normal, but I had a lot to say about my current success painting.

“Since 2000, I’ve spent most of my time writing novels while working part time. I was fortunate to have several businesses I worked at close and so, I was eligible for unemployment insurance. That was perfect. I got a lot of writing done. I have a literary agent working on selling one of my novels to publishers and I’ve just started another one. In April, I quit my job to paint full time.”

Razorcake is the first and only official non-profit punk music magazine in America primarily dedicated to supporting independent music culture.

Print edition $3.00

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Slide Show

UPDATED: APRIL 25, 2017

CLICK any image to launch SLIDE SHOW

Larger images and purchasing details: $100 USD Paintings Currently Available 

“The $100 painting series all started with The Hat in January, 2016. I posted the first one on my FaceBook page and it sold that same day. Hours later, someone was offering me money in advance for the next one! Since then, paintings in this series have been purchased by instructors from the Yale School of Art, the University of British Columbia and the Art Institute of Chicago, painters whose work has been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Biennial, 2014 in New York City, and by art critics for Artfourm Magazine and the Winnipeg Free Press – as well as a few indie rock luminaries.” – Jean Smith, August, 2016

11 x 14″ acrylics, $100 USD plus shipping ($10 USD to USA and Canada, $15 USD to Europe). Please contact me for shipping cost to other locations.

From most recent to oldest (February, 2016)

Email to confirm availability.

 

All content on this website (C) Jean Smith, 2017

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