Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Going Dutch

Well I'm back from our trip to Amsterdam. What an amazing city- we had heard some negative stuff from people we knew who had gone there but we had a pretty magical time (and no, we didn't partake in the "coffeeshops"- I saw enough Cat in the Hat fashion in the early 90's thanks). We went to visit artist Chris Berens and his dealer and our new friend Robbert van Ham from Jaski Gallery, who graciously put us up in an amazing little apartment over looking the Keizergracht...this meant we were pretty centrally located and we could walk almost everywhere. We visited with our gal Femke Hiemstra which is always great, found some rare old art books in a decrepit (in the nicest way) second hand bookstore, went out every night with artists and dealers for dinners. We went to the Rijksmuseum and saw Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" (which they sure love in Amsterdam) as well as Vermeer's "The Milk Maid", which is another one of those situations where you've seen that painting in books your entire life and feel pretty ho-hum about it, and then you see it in person and it's jaw dropping.
I really can't say enough good things about the city- we'll be back for sure.

Our place in Amsterdam thanks to Robbert at Jaski Gallery. Not too shabby at all! It was full of great art we longed to steal.

View of the canal out our window. All of Amsterdam seems to look like this- not just a couple of blocks.

These lil guys were in our apartment, by Les Deux Garcons.

The Rijksmuseum, most of which was closed for renovation.

Lots of stores have cats hanging around to deal with mice and rats. This guy hung out at a flower stall on one of the canal bridges. I became very fond of him quite quickly.

More street views

So pretty.

EVERYONE rides a bike in Amsterdam- in fact it becomes a bit exhausting always dodging them. Here comes Femke to meet us for dinner!

Also- lots of girls ride in heels. Here Femke and artist Angelique Houtcamp show off their amazing shoes. I was quite jealous of Femke's green boots with the cat head buckles. Fashion is pretty subdued in Amsterdam- but everyone is very tidy and groomed, no sweat pants. They settle for being tall, slim, and gorgeous instead.

One of the highlights was getting to spend time with artist Chris Berens and see his studio. He was working on the Roq la Rue show and I was blown away. I've never seen anything like his technique before. This is part of a new painting he was working on. Kenny and I filmed an interview and I took a ton of pictures- I will save that for Hi Fructose, will let you know when it goes up...

A shot of Chris' studio...high up in a little warren overlooking a canal. Pretty nice!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Saratoga Sake

I popped by Suite 100 Gallery which is near my gallery in Belltown. I was very taken by the work in their new show by Saratoga Sake...great paintings and drawings, and INSANELY affordable. I picked up the drawing above for $200. (She has a little glare but is lovely in person). You should definitely check it out.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Roq News

The gallery has been closed this month, because I wanted to remodel the space a bit, and also to have a bit of a break. Of course I'm not really have that much of a break because we are giving the gallery a big overhaul, I have three articles due for Hi Fructose, a new show to prepare for in September (Brian Despain and Victor Castillo!), shipping out the old show, I'm leaving for Amsterdam in a couple of days to meet up with some artists and galleries, and lastly, create all the new content for my brand spanking new website that launches in September. I also have a new art project in the works that I have to work on...I "can't talk about it yet" because it's not carved in stone but if it works out it will be very cool and I think everyone who likes the art on this site will dig it. I'll post it here first if it pans out. So it's all very exciting and I'm not complaining in the slightest, but I notice I'm not getting any of my own personal creative stuff done. Rather, when I have a free moment I'm usually found sitting half slumped on the couch with a glazed donut expression watching reruns of CSI and web surfing botched celebrity plastic surgery horrors (I like to multi-task even when I'm slacking.)

This painting is "Flaming June" by Fredric Lord Leighton. I posted it because A. it's a beautiful painting of someone getting a nap in, and B. it has a fascinating story!

Break It Down

You know how you read in artist interviews and reviews about how they paint with an "old masters" technique or how the Flemish or Netherlandish painters influenced their style- and you just kinda nodded and smiled? Here is a great tutorial on what painting in that style is and how to do it!

You too can paint like this is just a few easy steps!
Well, not like THIS.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Swirling Witches!

Luis Ricardo Falero "The Vision of Faust"

Here are a couple of crazy paintings of maelstom-y witches for you...one is by Luis Ricardo Falero (1851-1896) and the other is by contemporary painter Nicola Verlato. I love the movement and chaos captured in both of these paintings. Both also have incredible lighting that evoke the mood of a storm, while using totally different colors.

Nicola Verlato "There's No Place Like Home"

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Hanneke Treffers is an Amsterdam artist who goes by the name Handiedan. She creates great mixed media works- it reminds me a bit of my beloved Mexican artist Dr. Lakra, but these are a bit gentler. Just as fun though!

Nimit Malavia

Nimit Malavia is a young artist on the scene. I first found out about him through Beau at Project Gallery. He's only 20, but his drawings have an incredible power and weight to them. I'm curious to see where he takes his paintings.
There is an interview with him over at Erratic Phenomenon blog.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Viktor Safonkin's New Painting

Viktor's rep Gary just send over this stunning image of Viktor's newest painting, entitled "The Oath"- pretty amazing! Be sure to check his gorgeous new website!

Monday, August 4, 2008

My Foster Kid


The gallery and I myself donate money to the amazing David Sheldrick Wildlike Trust. They have an elephant sanctuary near Nairobi in Kenya, including an orphaned elephant nursery. A a result of donating a certain amount of money I was given a certificate that stated I was a foster parent to this little darling, Sinya, who's had a pretty rough time of it, but is now in caring hands.
I occasionally get a little shit for being so nerdly "into" elephants, but I can't help myself. I adore all creatures, but elephants are seriously wondrous creatures, majestic, powerful, very intelligent, and kind (unless you cross them). I first became involved with elephants starting with the fantastic Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee as well as trying to get a local zoo elephant named Bamboo transferred to that sameSanctuary a few years ago. That was sparked off when I watched a documentary about them on TV. In the show, a baby elephant had just seen its entire family killed by poachers, and it was running in terror through the brush alone, tears (yes, I said tears) streaming down its face. The wild desperation and fear emanating from this little creature was so palatable I could almost taste it through the TV. That terrible moment etched itself into my heart and that was it. I started to do a little research on them and have found nothing but wonder and amazement and terrible sorrow for the state they are in, both from being poached like CRAZY, to being confined in teeny zoos that have no clue or care as to take care of them best, not to mention the disgusting spectacle of circuses.
The funny thing is, as devoted as I am to them, I have never seen a wild elephant, nor ever touched one. I hope I can change that soon. (And goes to show that not all TV is a bad thing!)
The other thing I'll say about my involvement in this cause is that while I've gotten to do some pretty amazing things in my life, to me, being able to give money to these people for the elephants was one of the things that gives me the most joy. It's highly rewarding to give the finger in whatever way you can to people who plunder the earth.

And no, I don't collect elephant figurines.

Deang Buasan

click to enlarge!

I was scrolling through a Thai art blog when I saw this image by Thai painter and sculptor Deang Buasan. Unfortunately I couldn't find out too much about him via a quick google- other than his work is A. gorgeous and B. very melancholy (his work seems to reference things like the drowning death of his brother and the sadness of homeless street kids).
The Dalihouse art blog had a very interesting write up about the painting, comparing it to the works of legendary illustrator Edmund Dulac. Which is interesting to me as I often get Dulac and Arthur Rackham mixed up, and I always thought that contemporary illustrator James Jean had elements that reminded me of Rackham, and when I first saw this Buasan piece I wondered if it was by Jean until I found out who the artist was.

Chen Ke

Out of the group of young artists emerging out of China- one of my favorites is Chen Ke. Her work is simple in structure and influenced by cartoon imagery, but has a great sense of something much deeper going on beneath. The color palettes (shades of subtle porcelains and neon brights) she uses drive me wild.