Tag Archives: Jean Smith artist

Political Art

FUCK 800“Fuck Your Morals” (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) July 2017. SOLD

FUCK #2 800

“Fuck Your Morals #2″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) July 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

I often feel like I should be doing more overtly political art like my Standing Rock Water Protectors series, that painting faces – women’s faces – isn’t enough. Yet, this concern reflects how a lot of people feel right now, historically. What can I do? What can any of us do to set things on a better course? Maybe it hasn’t been necessary to describe the better course for a long time. Better than what? Better than 1% self-interest. How about the greatest good to the greatest number of people? A utilitarian premise that doesn’t take us too far, but I think that’s what people have in mind as opposed to being fine with the wealthy doing whatever they want to make money at the expense of everyone else.

When I start to question my motivation for not making more overtly political art, I accept that fear is involved. Would people buy political art? Do I paint protestors or faces? I go back to the amount of very direct political content I have created. Must I always sing political songs? Paint political art? Write political novels?

“Fuck Your Morals” was a two painting series. I admit: when the second one didn’t sell, I stopped. If it had sold, I would have continued. I make a distinction between making multiple paintings of political subjects and replicating primarily aesthetic work. It’s very different. If I had a strong sense of political work selling, I’d paint more of it. Painting faces is a way for me to support myself and protect myself from retail-related damage (wrists, back, etc.) so that I can continue to make more overtly political work in the future. There! I’ve justified it! Yet, if painting women from photos whose primary intention was to exploit women in the name of capitalism, if painting those faces with a completely different intention, to populate the world with women’s emotions that they themselves (allegedly) felt – anger included – this is political. It’s also utterly idiosyncratic and it requires some thought. It’s also the work of a cultural activist who has been creating work across a handful of disciplines without ever making it big, but yet, keeps going rather than giving up or selling out.

I sometimes feel that the prettier faces sell fastest, that there’s a demand for youth and beauty, that I don’t want to play into. I’m not searching for something that will sell well and then continue to paint a bunch of those. That isn’t what I’m doing. Even though I get immediate feedback in terms of ‘likes’ and sales on FaceBook, I return to paint whatever I want. Most recently, I’ve been placing more importance on areas other than the face like the hair, neck and shoulders – where I’m doing more abstract work. It’s a way of broadening the work beyond the face.

I think more money-driven artists might go towards what sells, but that’s too much like capitalism – as is raising the price for no particular reason other than it’s the conventional thing to do when something becomes popular. All the years of making music that isn’t about fame and fortune fortifies this approach. I know first hand what else can be accomplished by making something that isn’t essentially profit-driven. Friendship, community, measurable social change. Don’t get me wrong – I want to have money to reduce worry and increase security, but it isn’t what propels this project. Yet again, if the paintings weren’t selling, I’d have to get a job in retail. Grappling with the balance between creativity and commerce is nothing new to me. It’s part of what I’d include in an artist statement, but I think that’s something that will come later.

 

 

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Animals Available

Fox #10 800
“Fox #10” (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) $100 USD plus shipping

Fox #12 800
“Fox #12” (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) $100 USD plus shipping

Wolf 800
“Wolf” (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) $100 USD plus shipping

Wolf #2 800

“Wolf #2” (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) $100 USD plus shipping

Wolf #3 800“Wolf #3” (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) $100 USD plus shipping

Wolf #4 800

“Wolf #4” (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) $100 USD plus shipping

PAINTINGS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE  FaceBook and WordPress
Email me: meccanormal@hotmail.com to check availability

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All Time Favorites Available

Video: October 1, 2017 back to the beginning of the series (January, 2016). Music by Mecca Normal (Jean Smith and David Lester).

To purchase my contemporary portrait paintings by number (note: not paint-by-numbers!), see my Currently Available album.

Contact me by email to confirm that the painting you want is still available before paying.

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

Several of my all time favorite paintings are still available.

Why are some of my all-time favorite paintings still available? I figure it’s because of when I originally posted them on my regular FaceBook page where 99% of purchases happen. Sales slow at the end and beginning of the month and during major distractions good and bad. Here are a handful of my pre-September favorites.

Collectors tip: I post first on FaceBook where they sometimes sell within the first five minutes which slows me down from posting them here, on the monthly page. I tend to put them on Instagram last, two or three at a time.

No Hat 202 800

No Hat #202

No Hat 204 800
No Hat #204

No Hat 236 800

No Hat #236

No Hat 246 800

No Hat #246

No Hat 247 800

No Hat #247

No Hat 248 800

No Hat #248

No Hat 243 800

No Hat #243

No Hat 240 800

No Hat #240

No Hat 232 800

No Hat #232

No Hat 233 800

No Hat #233

No Hat 201 NEW 800

No Hat #201

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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.

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“Standing Rock Water Protectors”

standing-rock-20-x-24-800

“Standing Rock Water Protectors” (acrylic on birch panel 20 x 24 x 1.5″) September, 2016. $600 USD plus shipping. 15% donated to Red Warrior Camp at Standing Rock.

Standing Rock 800

“Standing Rock Water Protectors” (acrylic on watercolour paper 11 x 14″) September, 2016. SOLD. 15% donated to Red Warrior Camp at Standing Rock.

Standing Rock 800 #2

“Standing Rock Water Protectors #2″ (acrylic on watercolour paper 11 x 14”) September, 2016. SOLD. 15% donated to Red Warrior Camp at Standing Rock.

Standing Rock 800 #3

“Standing Rock Water Protectors #3″ (acrylic on watercolour paper 11 x 14”) September, 2016. SOLD. 15% donated to Red Warrior Camp at Standing Rock.

Standing Rock 800 #4

“Standing Rock Water Protectors #4″ (acrylic on watercolour paper 11 x 14”) September, 2016. $100 USD plus shipping. 15% donated to Red Warrior Camp at Standing Rock.

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A brief history of Mecca Normal

A brief history of Mecca Normal in TV news clips and live footage to give background and context to Jeans Smith’s ongoing $100 painting series.

“I made this for Dan Seward’s Bunnybrains event during TBA: 16  at PNCA (Pacific Northwest College of Art) 511 Gallery in Portland, Oregon on September 15, 2016.” – Jean Smith

Part of Makeup on Empty Space, curated by Kristan Kennedy. Co-presented with PNCA’s 511 Gallery & Director of Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, Mack McFarland.

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Video: all the paintings

Jean Smith portrait paintings

No Hat #79 800

“No Hat #79” (acrylic on canvas board 11 x 14”) August 21, 2016. SOLD

Below, in the video, all the paintings in Jean Smith’s ongoing series of $100 paintings. As of September 3, almost 80 of the nearly 170 paintings have sold. Paintings currently available

Music by Mecca Normal (Jean Smith and David Lester), from the album Empathy for the Evil (2014, M’Lady’s Records) “Wasn’t Said” and “Between Livermore and Tracy” (both produced by KRAMER who also plays bass on these tracks)

At the very end (after the credits) Jean gives a brief visual demonstration of how Mecca Normal got started.

Mecca Normal‘s “Man Thinks Woman” (1987) was recently (August 8, 2016) included in Pitchfork’s story of feminist punk in 33 songs with a great write-up by Douglas Wolk

“Mecca Normal break rules like they never noticed them in the first place. The Vancouver-based duo of singer Jean Smith and guitarist David Lester are anarchist-feminist activists and constant experimentalists, implying a rhythm section with negative space alone. Always an intense presence onstage, they’ve become the most tenacious of D.I.Y. road warriors, touring and recording for 32 years now. In the early ’90s, they popped up on most of the biggest American indie-rock labels (Sub Pop, K, Matador); by their 25th anniversary, they were on the road with a performance-and-lecture project called “How Art & Music Can Change the World.”

Smith’s lyrics often foreground her political perspective; their anthem “Man Thinks ‘Woman,'” released in 1987, started out as a barbed dissection of gender normativity: “Man thinks ‘woman’ when he talks to me/Something not quite right.” The song kept expanding its radius from there, encompassing both bitter poetics and a disarmingly funny account of a drunken makeout gone weird. Kathleen Hanna has cited Smith as an early inspiration: “When I saw her,” she told The Fader, “I was just like, that’s it. I’m done. I’m sold.” – Douglas Wolk

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The Dark Side of Maria

No Hat #68 800

“Paul” (acrylic on canvas board 11 x 14″) $100 USD plus shipping.

nh 53

“Maria” (acrylic on paper 11 x 14″). $100 USD plus shipping.

No Hat #66 800

“Eileen” (acrylic on canvas board 11 x 14″) $100 USD plus shipping.

No Hat #65 800

“Mike Dean” (acrylic on paper 11 x 14″). $100 USD plus shipping.

Vol. 389 of Normal History (September 3, 2016) Jean Smith and David Lester’s weekly column in Magnet Magazine

The Dark Side of Maria from Mecca Normal’s album The Observer (Kill Rock Stars, 2006)

Song slivers arrive in shipping and receiving, between photo-cutter roar and dry-mounting rumble. With my mind, I add the sounds together and turn the nearly inaudible radio into Marvin Gaye. Regardless of what’s playing I hear Sexual Healing. Sexual, sexual healing.
Paul comes to look out the window. Wincing at the brightness, he fingers the paper white orchid. I turn away. He asks me, “What’s your favorite movie?”
“Harold and Maude,” I say. “It’s about a suicidal young guy who falls in love with an eccentric old woman.”
“OK. What’s your second favorite movie?”
“Picnic At Hanging Rock,” I say. “Australian school girls lost in the outback.”
Paul lays his head on the postage scale.
“Ten pounds ten ounces,” I say.
On coffee break, Maria talks about her roommate. “He’s white. He’s single. He’s 50, but he’s circumcised. Jean, Jean, Jean, do you prefer cut or uncut?”
In my mind I see the penises of recent dalliances, dicks and cocks of old relationships. Cut, uncut. Cut, uncut. Maria and the others are waiting for my answer, for my preference.
Maria says, “Uncut is ugly.”
Eileen says, “How do you know?”
Maria says, “I’ve seen a photo.”
The dark side of Maria. We are nibbling on Mike Dean’s banana bread. Mike is the Jethro Bodine handyman at the photo lab. He’s been phoning his mother across three time zones to get her recipes. He brings baked goods to work on the bus, triple plastic-wrapped. Pies, cookies, biscuits. He wants a reaction. He wants a reaction from the dark side of Maria.

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