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 http://www.characterdesigns.com