Tag Archives: Mecca Normal

Review & Summary

Horse 800“Horse in Field” by Jean Smith (11 x 14″ acrylic on paper) SOLD

A fairly in depth summary of my work on Women in Art History (Instagram) by art history instructor and creative writing professor Lucretia Tye Jasmine who recently bought my painting “Horse in Field”. Women in Art History is also on FaceBook

“Jean Smith, a Canadian, is an artist as well as a musician and writer. She was born on August 1, 1959, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her portraits are smooth and rich, with a velvety brush that emphasizes subjectivity through inward, contemplative, or direct gazes. Critters, musicians, women in front of the word “hotel,” men in white underwear, and women washing their hair are intriguing subjects with serious attentions. Singers whose lipsticked mouths open at a microphone are affirmed by painting titles that identify them as angry women in rock.

She paints, makes films and music, writes, and lectures. YouTube videos showcase her art and music along with her process. She also orchestrates tours: musical, literary, and educational. Smith’s longtime collaboration with bandmate David Lester, whom she met in 1981 while they were working at a newspaper, encompasses visual art, and art as activism. Anti-authoritarianism is announced in D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) productivity.

She and Lester formed The Black Wedge in 1986, an international music and poetry tour comprised of anti-authoritarian musicians. Feminism is practiced in a life’s work that promotes self-generated creativity and collaboration. The art and lecture series, How Art & Music Can Change The World, is their 2002 presentation which continues to tour classrooms (high schools and universities), art galleries, and book stores. Smith and Lester’s band, Mecca Normal, is considered a pioneering riot grrrl band. riot grrrl is a Third Wave feminist arts and music revolution.

Smith’s film about her online dating experiences examine female independence and a recent series of paintings concern 9/11. Some of Smith’s art is about Pussy Riot, the Fourth Wave feminist punk rock group from Russia jailed for musical protest in a church.

A two-time recipient of Canada Council for the Arts awards recognizing Smith’s work as a writer, Smith’s paintings are sought after by a variety of luminaries and scholars, spanning the established and the underground, indicating Smith’s subversive success and influence.” – Lucretia Tye Jasmine

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“Cherry Flowers” in “Spring”

I made a video for the Mecca Normal song “Cherry Flowers” (Dovetail, K Records, 1992) fairly spontaneously. It’s a pretty song about springtime and I did a cherry blossom painting recently, so it occurred to me to connect them. But, as I was putting the elements together, I recalled more about the song’s meaning, which I don’t think I’ve ever been asked about or expressed.

That got me to thinking about all Mecca Normal’s songs and the various meanings tucked up into them, so I listed all the songs, created a song meaning legend and assigned codes to most of the songs with a note saying that some of the songs need to be reviewed due to their nature, which might be psychological, poetic or complex.

As for “Cherry Flowers” (1992), it is about the geography of borders, clandestine crossings in vehicles (row boats heading for the united caves of america) laden with cherry flowers. Feel free to interpret what the cherry flowers are (maybe art and music?), but, in the song, “seven men in white shirts watch the needle on the gauge, rise and fall, swing and dive, on the border” using specialized equipment to assess the validity of those attempting to cross.

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Spring

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

$100 USD Paintings Currently Available

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Videos of $100 USD Portraits

All Jean Smith’s $100 USD portrait paintings from the beginning of the project (January 7, 2016) to March 14, 2017. Music by Mecca Normal.

Currently Available: Slide Show

Jean Smith’s $100 USD currently available portrait paintings from the beginning of the project (January 7, 2016) to March 14, 2017. Music by Mecca Normal.

Currently Available: Slide Show

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‘Friend me’ on FB

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No Hat #133 SOLD

Earlier today “No Hat #133” sold to a radio journalist in Stockholm, Sweden who found this website and fell for this painting!

I’m really excited about another painting going to Europe! Also, this is a great painting. Am I even allowed to say that? I wasn’t sure it would sell (for obvious reasons) – so, it’s a total thrill that it has, within the context of the overall project, been selected.

One of the big skills I possess (in painting) is knowing when to stop. This painting is an excellent example of that. I’m inspired to post a similar one with even fewer features that I painted a month ago. It’s one of the only ones that I’ve stopped and put aside to consider. I haven’t found a reason to add anything else to it, so I’m going to call it finished. Or maybe I’ll call it Swedished in honour of the radio journalist in Stockholm.

I paint start to finish, in one event. I think this comes from my upbringing around watercolour painters – my dad mainly. With watercolour, you keep moving forward after committing paint to paper. You don’t keep messing around with the paint once it’s down. I don’t follow that part of the process; I continue working with the paint for up to 4 hours.

It’s interesting to me when paintings sell from pages other than  on my FaceBook page, because that group is part of the project. They see the work first – sequentially, as it is created. Each new painting falls into an ever-evolving context in progress that is being created for over a year. Within this linear context, I’ve recently demonstrated that the images can be used for additional purposes long after they’ve been posted for sale (or sold).

It’s interesting to me that a painting that is now hanging in someone’s home can be on the internet saying, “No one is illegal.” Winnipeg artist, art critic and educator Steven Leyden Cochrane documented this over on Tumblr when he collected all the “No one is illegal” images in one post. Actually, for my recent project, I photographed paintings that have yet to sell, but, in theory, I could have used jpegs of work that has sold.

FaceBook reactions (likes, shares and sales) accumulate in the time immediately after posting paintings. I’ll be saying more soon about how using FB as a studio component and a venue affects me and the work.

It’s exciting to have had two recent sales in Europe. Shipping to most places in Europe is reasonable. I’ve sent paintings to France, Austria and the UK without tracking for $15 USD. Tracking seems to run an additional $20. In the 145 paintings I’ve sold, I’ve never had to use tracking.

 

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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

No Hat #85 800

SOLD

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SOLD

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SOLD

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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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