Contest curator Christina Dylag
(Published In April 2010 issue)
From the bottom of our arts, THANK YOU! to the more than 100 local artists who submitted their work to PacificSD’s first annual Whet Paint art contest.
From the incredible body of work received, 10 finalists were selected by San Diego art experts Amy Galpin, project curator for American Art at the San Diego Museum of Art, and Kevin Freitas, founder and editor of the art blog, Art as Authority (bios on following page).
Shown here and on the cover is the first-place winner, a Fortitude Mask by Derrick Little. Whether or not he was a starving artist before, he isn’t any longer—Little wins $500 in food (in the form of gift certificates to popular San Diego restaurants)
From the series, Fortitude Masks Artist: Derrick Little, 37, North Park bodyartbyderrick.com
First Place: Derrick recieves $500
Derrick Little: This is an original body-art creation from a new series I am painting called Fortitude Masks, which is based on the Native American idea of painting a vision. My “models” each share a story with me (based on a questionnaire I send them) about an incident, event, or trial in their life that they feel made them stronger. I also ask about their nocturnal dreams, symbols that are meaningful to them, and about their attitude towards what “strength” means. Based on their answers and their experience, I design a body-art piece that I apply to them, and then photograph them, creating a portrait of them wearing a Fortitude Mask, thus embodying their “experience” and owning it in this tangible form of witnessing their self.
ART EXPERTS SAY. . .
Amy Galpin: I think this piece is a really strong image; I was drawn to it immediately. It evokes a lot of different ideas and types of art—body art, painting, performance art, photography. I think the use of the human form in different ways makes it a really engaging image. The style of the work evokes a kind of pattern art, you know, figures of Picasso, for example. I think the use of pink in the piece is definitely unexpected, which makes it a particularly inspired work.
Kevin Freitas: Yeah, I’d have to agree. I think the historical art, the historical references to Picasso, graffiti, Keith Haring, all the things that Amy mentioned. I agree that it’s a very compelling image. I particularly like the eyes and the stare. The image is rather androgynous in a lot of ways. I like that blurring of identity, and the tattooing of the body is very effective.
Tyler Jordan: When the icebergs melt, and the polar ice caps have turned to sea, surfers around the world will be treated to some of the best and most interesting new breaks. Stonehenge will supply a perfect A-frame peak with nobody out. The Great Wall of China will be one of the longest lefts in the world, and Times Square will be the new Surf City, USA. American surfers will consider the man-made valleys of Manhattan the new frontier in a sport changed forever.
Art Experts Say…
Kevin Freitas: I like Tyler Jordan’s piece for its relevancy to today. It’s titled Global Warming, and it looks like the streets of New York are being awash in this huge tsunami wave, but there’s also a lot of humor in the piece. I love that there are surfers riding the tsunami and water flowing into the sewer. It’s a compelling piece because of all the disastrous events that are going on in the world today, and it all seems rather poignant since global warming is definitely in the news.
Amy Galpin: The reflection of the signs in the windows demonstrates that the artist is a master of his technique. There are also some surprising elements in the piece; figures in wetsuits carrying surfboards and walking in the urban environment is surprising and therefore makes it an engaging image. I think that an attraction to a particular work of art really relates to how it’s important to our time, and this is a great moment for this piece.
Eric Wixon: Maladjustment expresses feelings of jealousy, a realization of the detrimental effects caused by those feelings and the inability to control those feelings despite their known effects. Both figures are self-reflective: the left, jealousy; the right, melancholy. My significant other at the time is depicted as the birds—seemingly unaware of, or indifferent to, the internal struggles I was facing.
Art Experts Say…
Galpin: I think this piece is particularly interesting because of the distraction. It definitely makes you think about graffiti. There’s a nice contrast between the figural forms and the horizontal lines in the background, which makes it very intriguing. The bird forms that emerge also add complexity to the overall composition. I found these two figures extremely engaging and I particularly like the sort of drifting from the graffiti, at least how I read it. It’s rather fascinating.
Freitas: I like the figures in relationship to the rest as well. I think it’s interesting, too, that the artist has done parts of the work that are very graffiti-esque, very quickly, very direct, and then he slowed down his process and gave much more attention to the birds that Amy mentioned. One of the figure’s hands, which is just nicely, delicately done, gives enough information to make it readable. The work in the back definitely makes those two figures pop, and the figures have a lot of expression through them and compel the viewer from the get-go.
Andrew Printer: This image is part of an ongoing series titled Second Thoughts From Normal Heights.Each photograph in the series lifts a convoluted gesture employed by an iconic homosexual photographer of the twentieth century in the name of desire and drops it into a contemporary domestic space in Normal Heights, San Diego.
My intention is to draw parallels between the convoluted tactics found in my source material (designed to circumvent censure by adhering to codes of Art, fitness, social documentation) and the equally peculiar drift of the broader LGBT community toward hetero-normative “respectability,” at the expense of its unique history.
Art Experts Say…
Freitas: This artist did a fabulous show a couple months ago in San Diego at the Agitprop Gallery. I was impressed by the show and the subject matter. I particularly love this image of two men sitting at a table eating breakfast, of a perfect quintessential couple, bored, distracted, disinterested—a lot of humor in this piece. A lot of social critique, a lot of cultural references. Compositionally, I think Andrew’s elements of domesticity are really strong and compelling.
Galpin: What’s really interesting about this piece is the emphasis on color. The blue cabinets, the blue napkins, the purple flowers, the red vase; the color really comes through in this photograph. I, too, am drawn to sort of the element of the mundane, or daily life existence: the sort of stare off into nowhere, the eating of bagels and cornflakes, the man with one of those blue plastic bracelets. They’re very common; I like that element of it. In some ways there are a lot of serious undertones to this piece, but there’s also an artist playing with humor, and that’s really fun to see.
Meet the Experts…
My name is Amy Galpin. I’m project curator for American Art at the San Diego Museum of Art. I just moved to San Diego in September to begin working at the museum. For the most part, I work with the U.S. and Latin American art collections. My most recent exhibition is Brutal Beauty: Drawings by Hugo Crosthwaite, which opened at the museum on February 25th and will be up through July. I’m working on a project also on the work of Mexican painter, Raul Anguiano. Obviously, I’m so thrilled to be a juror for Pacific’s show, and it’s always great to see what artists are doing, especially in my own community here in San Diego. It’s great to have a magazine that’s interested in supporting artists, to have a forum—we need more forums for art everywhere, and particularly here in San Diego, so this contest is a great opportunity and I’m happy to see it.
My name is Kevin Freitas. I am the founder-slash-editor for the art blog, Art as Authority. I started this blog maybe three and a half years ago. I have other contributors, Richard Gleaves, Kai One from Arizona, Marilyn Mitchell from San Diego (a painter) and quite a few other contributors who go out, look at shows and submit reviews for online publication. I’ve been in San Diego for a little bit over five years, made my career in the art world from either running a gallery to currently writing about it. I jumped on the opportunity to be part of Pacific San Diego Magazine, because this process is crucial for San Diego to come together as an art community. There is very limited coverage of the arts that exists here. I applaud the magazine’s initiative to do this. I’m honored to be a part of it. I would encourage more publications, more magazines, and Pacific San Diego to continue this process, to continue to support artists. It’s necessary. San Diego is in a really interesting point culturally. It’s got a great music/theatre scene, and with the help of Amy, with SDMA and MCA all working together with local publications, I think we could really bring quality and turn San Diego into viable, cultural city for art.