Monday, December 5, 2011

The Society OKC: Winter Small Works Auction & Fundraiser

The Society in Oklahoma City's Plaza District will be having a Winter Small Works Auction & Fundraiser on Dec 9th during the artwalk! This is a great cause to raise some funds to make OKC's awesome communal art space even more awesome!

I am a big fan of The Society and of its founder, my nice buddy and super artist Jerrod Smith. I think it's a breath of inspiring, fresh, forward-thinking air in this often-too-isolated Oklahoma art scene. In fact, I think the whole of the Plaza District does pretty well on that front. It's my favorite artsy area in OKC, and it's even more fun on Live on the Plaza nights (2nd Friday of every month.)

Here is the Facebook Event for more info:

Here is my little contribution that you could take home. ^^
"Mist -Kasumi-"
Watercolor & colored pencil on paper
Framed and ready to hang

So come out and see some great art, eat some yummy food, listen to live music, pet the lovely greyhounds, and buy some great local art for the holidays. How fantastic will these pieces be as Christmas gifts?

Artist participating are: Phillip Danner, Joe Garcia, Tommy Poole, Kaleen Ezelle, Jerrod Smith, Tim Krause, Andy Boatman, Ryan Cunningham, Bjorn Bauer, Amanda Christine, Dylan and Amanda Bradway, and JUURI.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Giant Robot's Post-It Show 7

I will be participating in Giant Robot's Post-It Show 7! There will be literally hundreds of little square pieces of art to take home at about $20/each. This is a great fun event every year with lots of cool artists participating. Some of the artists showing are Edwin Ushiro, Esao Andrews, Mari Inukai, Yellena James, Daniel Lim, Jeff Soto, and soooo many more. If you are close to Los Angeles, you should check it out! Here is a video of last year's super cool show!

Post It 3 Giant Robot from GIANT ROBOT on Vimeo.

It opens Saturday, December 10th at 6:30-10:30pm. The show will run through Dec 29th.

Gallery info:
2062 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 445-9276

Here are my post-its:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back from San Diego and LA!

I'm back from my trip to the opening of "Homeroom" at Subtext Gallery in San Diego. The show was great and packed out all night. Here are some of my fave shots from the show.

Standing next to my piece "Happy Now? -Shiawase-."

Got to see Audrey Kawasaki's piece in real life... my first time ever. :P

The pieces there were fabulous, and I got to meet lots of great artists ^^/

Katherine Brannock.

Kelly Vivanco and Christina Conway (who curated the show.)

Sean Mahan, a great artist from Florida. And you can see Yoskay Yamamoto's tiny head sculpture close to my own head.

San Diego itself was gorgeous and inspiring... especially all the amazing succulent plants on Coronado Island! I've got to incorporate more intricate plants into my paintings.

And I got to see dolphins at Imperial Beach! My camera doesn't have a good zoom lens so I couldn't capture their memories, so here is a shot of me bursting with happiness instead.

I also tried to captivate a seagull to no avail.

After all this excitement, we drove up to LA to stay with some friends in SAN MARINO. I know, we somehow didn't get to experience the gritty, dirty side of LA there. (Notice I'm not really complaining.) I got to meet up with my friend Daniel Lim and go to all the legendary galleries like Thinkspace, Copro, WWA, etc. The art was mind-blowing and I was soooo happy to be able to see my holy grail galleries in person. Yayah!

We all had a fab trip and I was sooo sad to leave all the fun and excitement and balmy weather to come back to OK (where I was greeted with blasts of icy wind right in the face. Awesome.) But now, I am excited to get back to work and put to use all the great info I've learned. Perhaps the most inspiring thing I realized is that lofty, amazing opportunities are totally real... you just have to be in the right place to accept them. This might seem like normal information to you, but I'd forgotten about it because of all the depressing outlooks and "can't do" attitudes that I've encountered around here for so long.

Los Angeles certainly is the City of Magic. I can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

JUURI's Figure Drawing Tips II

Here's part 2 of my figure drawing tips. Sorry for being so late. Part one can be found here.

GOLDEN RULE #4. NEGATIVE SPACE AND POSITIVE SPACE ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT. You've probably heard that said a million times, but what does it really mean? OK. Take a look at the figure below. This is the order in which most people would draw her legs.

Draw the first leg, and then the second. In doing this, you may often find that neither of your legs are placed correctly, and that your whole figure is out of whack. So what should you doooo? This is what. Draw the first leg (You should try to draw the straightest leg first; the one which is bearing the most weight from the body.) THEN, draw the negative space in between the two legs. LASTLY, draw the other leg. By treating the negative space in between as EQUALLY IMPORTANT to the positive shapes of the legs, you'll make sure everything is correct. It all should fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Learning to see negative space is difficult at first, but you'll get the hang of it soon enough. I have to remind myself to keep doing this as well; it's easy to get out of the habit and get lazy.

#5. MEASURE PROPORTIONS AND ANGLES AND DISTANCES WITH STRAIGHT LINES. Use straight measuring lines all over your figure. Go crazy with them until your drawing looks like St. Sebastian in a box of uncooked spaghetti. Measuring proportions, distances, etc against another part of the figure is a great way to avoid errors. See the figure below:

See how her right foot is sticking out about the same distance as her head? And how the back of her left calf is almost aligned to the back of her right arm? How her right heel is at the same height as her left ankle? And how the length of her head is about the same as her shoulder-to-ribcage area? Straight measuring lines have bestowed upon you all this amazing knowledge. There's nothing wrong with actually drawing the lines on the paper. As you progress, you'll be able to draw them in your mind.

#6. SCARILY DISTORTED POSES. Don't be a sissy like I often was in school and take the easy position so you can draw a head-on view or 3/4 view or whatever you're comfy with. Try some crazy foreshortened poses! Draw an action pose. A reclining pose (those are hard!) Mix it up, and you'll be amazed at how much these practices build your skills.

That's all I have for now. I hope you have acquired some new wisdom to use next time you are drawing the human figure! Feel free to ask me anything you want to know and I'll do my best to answer. Now it's time for me to put my own golden rules into practice. See you later!

Figure photos courtesy of

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Piece for "Homeroom" Show in San Diego

Here is my piece for "Homeroom." I'm glad I finished it (barely) in time, since I had started another one initially but didn't feel it was working. Under-pressure-working to the rescue! I excel at it, although it stresses me out to the max!

"Happy Now? -Shiawase-"
Mixed media on board, 18x24

The mixed media in this piece is a combination of digital collage (I drew the patterns in Adobe Illustrator and printed them out and glued them to the girl. I thought some digital work would be a lovely nod to my graphic design background.) There is also gold leaf and shreds of a Japanese newspaper.

The show, which opens 11/11/11 at Subtext Gallery in San Diego, is a collection of artists' re-interpretation of drawings they've done in their childhoods. My kid drawing is this:

I drew this when I was about 5 or 6, while I was attending a British school called St. Michael's in Kobe, Japan. Hence the British-looking school uniform. I have no memory of being so delighted about books (I was usually more delighted with toy weapons) but it's quite a good thing, if I was!

For "Happy Now? -Shiawase-" the reinterpretation piece, I wanted to use the book image, but have it ask a question. (The Japanese character written on the book in the girl's hair is "shiawase", which means blissful happiness.) Does learning, knowledge, degrees, etc truly make us happy in the end? We spend a ton of money on education, get into terrible student debt, define ourselves by one test or one promotion or a career... but is it really worth it? Of course, I believe staunchly that education is important, and one should always strive for intelligence and mastery of one's language (and others, as well.) But when do we take the quest for information too far?

I don't want to pose an answer to these questions in my piece. I merely want to get everyone thinking, and for viewers to arrive at their own conclusions. I'd like to hear what this painting makes you ponder!

And yes, I do realize that the title bears a striking resemblance to a certain song on a recent Take That album. That's my little nod for Take That, since that's what I've been listening to lately. I love Gary Barlow, although it has nothing to do with this!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Peter Gronquist's Gold-Plated Weapons & Antlers

I think this might be my first post about a 3-D artist. Yay for firsts! Anyway today I found Peter Gronquist. His art is not like ANYTHING I've ever seen before in my life! It's rocking my face off. Pretty much if you saw me now, you'd see I have no face. You have to see it to believe it. His sculptures combine three things I love: animals, gold/bling/fashion brands, and guns. How can those things go together, you ask? Well, check it OUT.

My eyeballs are literally about to pop out of my face. I'd TOTALLY have an entire WALL of these guns. Not joking. I'm about to screeeeaaaaaaam! I also like that there is a pretty strong message about the fashion industry in general. And of course, being an animal lover, the taxidermy bothers me a little but hopefully those animals were already dead when he decided to use them. :\

I'm sad that I didn't think of the gun/fashion theme first, although it doesn't matter because I wouldn't be able to do anything like this anyway. I suck at 3-D. But I have been wanting to incorporate the machine guns with my girls. Hmmm... ideas, ideas. We'll see where they lead.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Group Exhibition with Audrey, Tran, Yoskay, etc

Hokay. I am
so excited that I'm about to splash my Hot Cinnamon Sunset Tea everywherevery calmly letting you know that I'm going to be in a group exhibition at Subtext Gallery in November. Here is the space.

And guess, OH GUESS who's showing with me? Check out this roster! >_<

Audrey Kawasaki
Allison Sommers
Catherine Brooks
Yoskay Yamamoto
Tran Nguyen
Kelly Vivanco
Soey Milk
JAW Cooper
Martin Hsu
Nimit Malavia

and many more! AND my name is on this list. Little ole me, showing with the biggest artists in the contemporary art scene! I'm not quite sure how this happened, since I've only been playing this game seriously for a little more than a year. I guess with a little hard work and networking, anything is really possible. Now my next goal is to show at Thinkspace in LA. I'm putting on my determination goggles and am ready for action! Let's go!

Oh by the way, the Subtext show is called "Homeroom" and is a very fun little show in which we take a childhood drawing and re-interpret it in our current style. I'm just about to start the watercolor portion of my piece. Wish me luck~

Here is info about the show -->

Below is lovely Soey Milk's piece!

Monday, October 10, 2011

JUURI's Figure Drawing Tips

Here is the first of my little tips/tutorial lessons. Ask me any questions you want! Most of this info I've learned in university, and it's as invaluable to me now as it was then.


Drawing the figure (from life) is one of the best ways to develop your art skills no matter WHAT your medium. You will learn proportion, depth, shading, negative space, and so many other skills that every artist should possess. If you can, always try to draw from life. You could have a friend pose for you or you could even practice drawing your own hand. There is something magical about drawing something actually in front of you as opposed to a photograph. Your eyes don't work the same way when interpreting a 2nd image as a 3d image.


Yes sorry "nude" doesn't rhyme with "be" in the least. Anyways. For the beginner, the unclothed model is better. You cannot draw a proper clothed figure without knowing what's going on with the proportions and muscles underneath. Don't be squeamish; I promise it's not that awkward if everyone has a professional attitude. The models in this post are looking modest, though, so you won't be fired if you're reading this at work. Aren't I miss considerate?

Also, say no to this guy:

Seriously there is no point in using these types of manikins to practice the figure. They have no semblance to reality or the intricacy of real muscles. Their rigidity will also promote bad habits in your drawing and make them look robotic. Always draw from a human being, even if the only one you can find is in a magazine.

Mediums: You can use whatever you want to sketch the model. I prefer vine charcoal or conte crayon sticks because they allow you to make small lines or broad strokes and shading. But have fun and experiment with mediums!

I could write a book if I talked about every aspect of figure drawing. So instead, I'll just give a few golden rules and you are free to ask me questions at any time in the future. Here they are:


#1. STEP BACK FROM YOUR DRAWING OFTEN. Yes, I mean like every ten seconds. You'll be amazed at how many errors in proportion you'll see ONLY after stepping five feet away. At first you'll feel weird doing this, but I promise it will become second nature in time. I'm convinced this is the number one practice that will take your drawings from amateur-ish to professional-looking in a short amount of time.

#2. FIND LINES THAT CONNECT THE FIGURE. DON'T JUST DRAW THE OUTLINE. What do I mean? You ask. OK check it. This is how an untrained person would usually draw a figure:

The reason why using the outline method is bad is because it is much harder to check proportions since you are just saying on the outer edge and ignoring all that goodness in between your lines. When you try to fill in the middle, you may often find that there is no room, or you have way too much room. Only then will you discover that your proportions are way off! Instead, try this:

Notice how you are quickly moving from the outside, right through the figure? Use muscles, lines, light and dark, or whatever you see to draw from the outside in. This way, you'll be checking proportions as you go. Think of all those lines and muscles as little helpers to help you get the shapes right. Also act like you are on a mission to get to the center as quickly as you can. Don't stay on the outer edge! It's boring out there!

#3. SQUINT OFTEN. This sounds crazy, but you won't believe how much confusion it solves. It will clear confusion about color, lights and darks, overall shape, and much more. For example:

There are several grades of darks in this figure. But which do you draw the darkest? It's a little complicated and hard to tell. But put on your fog goggles:

And now, it's much much easier to pick out the darkest shadows as compared to the not-as-dark shadows. The colors of his skin are also simplified, making it less confusing to determine what colors to use.

More figure drawing golden rules to come later this week. For now, practice these three!

Part 2 is here.

Figure photos courtesy of

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fuco Ueda's Thought-Provoking Images

Have I written about Fuco Ueda before? Can't remember. Oh well. I'll write again. I was browsing her website yesterday and very awe-struck at her use of color. It's super distinctive, and makes her figures look like they're glowing with an ethereal light. The other thing I love about her work is that it's all very thought-provoking. There is such a story behind each piece. I want to work harder and put more story and symbolism into my work from now on. I always tend to skimp on pre-production of a painting because it all gets so boring and I want to get to the main event. But I'm going to try harder to think hard and plan and ponder and explore what message I want to convey with each work.

You can buy some of her products at very reasonable prices at AkaTako!