Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Eighth Street

It's finally here after just over a year I remember because my uncle died in mid May, I almost didn't paint the wall I was going to fly to China to look after my uncle. But I did and then drove straight home to be with family and attend the funeral. I'm about to announce a celebratory moment, the release of the short doc Matt made of the wall I painted, and all I could think of is my family history. I missed him deeply randomly one night I think driving in Oklahoma of all places. Strange how these strong feelings come so belated and unannounced, I'm sure it wasn't random, I'm sure something about being there in the passenger seat of the car, with Elaines family, at night, slightly raining, first time being there, I'm sure somehow something there reminded my heart, my mind.

 Anyhow after more than a year it's finally arrived, Eighth Street, a short doc about a fence being painted on the corner of Eighth and Campbell in West Oakland. I happen to be the one painting the fence.


 Eighth Street is a short film (30 minutes) by local filmmaker, Matt Beardsley, following Oakland-based muralist, Dave Young Kim, through the planning and creation of a unique, community-building project in West Oakland. 

 Premiering at the New Parkway Theater 

 June 22, 2013, 3:00 pm 
 Tickets sold through the New Parkway Theater at half-cost, $3 
 The New Parkway Theater 474 24th Street 

 We'll see you there!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Better Artist

It was a long personal battle trying to figure whether it was necessary to invest the money, (but I feel like more sacrificial is the time, where I won’t really be able to work on my career directly, it’s probably a short sighted perspective - I need more patience (bc this is indirectly enhancing my career), by the time I get out I’ll be 35 or really close to it) and time to go to into a MFA program. Ultimately, I decided to do it under the banner of “In the end I just want to be a better artist”. As you join a program that term “better artist” starts to get defined in strange ways you never imagined, or maybe have imagined but not in the concrete ways it has been manifesting. What you start to realize is an institution is inherently, by way of history, structure and those involved - who share what they know which happens to be a particular world, is connected to a very particular art world, the high art world of museums and galleries. The paths of all the alums seem pretty well paved, a familiar path of the same galleries, vying for the same old scholarships and awards. In these terms the idea of a better artist starts to be defined first by figuring out what good art is. A lot of times when you’re looking for a what, you have to ask who, because depending on what culture you want to enter, the powerful in that particular group gets to put meaning to terms. So as I learn about this larger, or maybe smaller but more influential, maybe not influential but more powerful, maybe not more powerful but more rich, definitely more rich and probably better well connected into the things that influence mainstream culture. And as I consider the things I value as far as my art, life and career I do want in on this elite, art world. Why? Because that’s where the money is and I do want a sustainable career, earn at least enough so that I could live in a giant warehouse, and I do want to be able to influence the greater mainstream culture. I’d say 80% of me doesn’t want anything to do with that world but there’s still 20% and I’m justifying that by saying I’ll get in, get what I need from it and then get out quick or stay in it use it in unsanctioned ways to achieve things on my agenda and subversively alter it. And because there’s even that remote 20% that wants to be in the elite high art world - “good art” then becomes defined by them (those who run this world), and ultimately “better artist” is further defined by that version of “good art”. Because if the art world were run by a bunch of 3 year olds then what they consider “good art” would certainly be different. So oftern times I feel like in order to get my 20% I need to impress that rich and influential. I know I know they say dont think about it, work freely, but reality is those that are there to objectively help shape my practice have this filter on their eyes and in their words that are colored by The Art World. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Currently: Mourning the loss of my voicemails. Apparently when you switch from any phone to an iphone your voicemail gets completely wiped. I've had on there for years my niece calling me leaving messages for me, her sentences getting slowly more complicated as she got older, and the missed calls from my dad telling me his mom died or the time my parents calmly called letting me know my uncle had injured his head (from which he would die from a few days later). Going from dumb phone to a smarty (happened on 3-17-13) was an emotional experience, one I tried to put off for as long as I could, evading the urging of my wife, but it was nothing compared to the loss of those vmails, like I could physically feel it - it's one of those things, you know.

And I have the text messages on my phone that I've saved for years, the ones from the beginnings of when my wife (then gf) and I first started dating, to randoms - important ones but ones I don't remember because I havent looked at them for so long, to the ones where my sister texted about a fight she's having with my mom, one that's inspired my art work recently, to the ones notifying me that an old family friend suddenly died. These I actually still have on my old phone but they're encased forever in this physical body never being able to enter into the digital world again ostensibly making them useless. As my new phone was being activated I sat there completely engulfed in systematically, one-by-one, emailing to myself each of the 300 text messages so that they could have life again in their new virtual bodies, but my project was abruptly stopped as the activation when through. I got all of 30 or so messages sent - only the oldest ones. But this isn't nearly as bad as grief I feel from the lost voicemails.

I don't understand my obsession with documentation, the need to hold on to pieces of the past, and capture moments in the present, I'm convinced I'm a hoarder, of images, although I've never seen an episode from the series which has them as their subject, but you know they all have these crazy pasts like they got raped or had some traumatic relationship at some point, so it makes me wonder about myself, what ever happened to me. I just blame it on my slacker memory, I can't trust it so I'm dependent on physical evidence to trigger the thought. It might be the fumes or past substance abuse or it might not even be true, just a figment of my imagination but I won't risk it by not keeping the mementos that'll give my memory the shove it needs.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


The oddity. Solid, polished gold, so pure and unscathed, so out of place juxtaposed against this imperfect mass of flesh molded in the shape of a hand. The nails too long with black debris underneath, hang nails, callused, dry skin, hairs a tinge too long, tiny wounds and scars abound - especially the round one between the index and the thumb. It sits so strangely in this foreign land, having random inked scrawlings of reminders, paint stains, a $1.50 watch, frayed edges from a shirt sleeve. The pinky finger was even broken once and never healed right, if this was the other hand the ring wouldn't even fit, the ring finger there was also broken and left to heal on its own making it impossible to fit a ring over the knuckle that wouldn't slide off beyond that. And the new weight it now carries is noticeable, maybe it'll make it stronger - that finger.

I feel like it has power, like the Green Lantern, like I could do things I never have before or walk around protected.