Artists I Like Right Now: Skin, Hair, and Cats

Current contemporary artists with some painterly strokes, fine details, and some high contrasts to boot. Click to enlarge what you fancy.

Megan Ellen MacDonald


Stuart Snoddy

24″ X 29″


Robin F Williams


Karen Hsiao


Arty Farty Fancy Pants Art Shop Redux

I finally got around to making my shop FANCY for those who want a quick way to purchase original artwork of mine.


There are framed, unframed, and some sarcastic drawings in the bunch. More will be added eventually. I still do 6 month payment plans, just email for details (I require a $100 deposit on everything).



I finally got fed up with Etsy and moved over to Big Cartel. I’m not sure yet if one is better than the other, exactly, but we’ll see how it goes.

Artists in Rotation

Here are some artists I’m digging in my current rotation:

Still obsessed with George Stubbs, wish I had a book of his stuff…

I was lucky enough to see some of Pavel Filonov’s work at a museum in Moscow once…


Julie Heffernan is awesome, she makes me want to quit painting because it’ll never be as good as her…

Colette Calascione is another current gal that is making me want to pack it in. I was lucky to see some of her work at Art Basel Miami….


Boris Kustodiev, I’ve had a Russian art book of his for years (my mom has even better ones), always liked him…

Artist Power Couples and the Commerce of Celebrity

Funny to read this article on John Currin and Rachel Feinstein. I’m actually glad I’m not the only conservative and mildly lazy Libertarian artist out there!

It could have been written years ago, as not much has changed with them, or any of the other artists who appear more in fashion magazines and at the Oscars than they do in galleries or art journals.

In fact, I did a series of rather mocking sketches of all of these artists in 2002 (Ahn Duong, Cecily Brown, The Schnabels), in various situations — most at Ian Schrager hotels.

I even included Paris Hilton, and this was before the sex tape…

I’ve never been able to sell or exhibit these — despite my annoyance at the subjects being ahead of the times — I think not many people “got” it. Unless you were in the NYC art scene. And even then.

I guess my problem with the artists getting coverage like this — or what they represent — isn’t so much that they move in the worlds of celebrity and fashion; that isn’t a new thing even dating back to the Renaissance or court painters. It is that the artists selected to be part of these groups almost always have to be very good looking — and that’s it! It doesn’t matter if the art is good or not, they just have to be photogenic, and wear designer clothes. People like Hope Atherton are fabulous, I think, but her artwork I’ve never been crazy about. Same goes for Cecily Brown, Kristen Baker, and Ahn Duong. Would people care what they wore, snap their pictures at parties, or invite them to sit at runway shows if they didn’t look they way they do? Probably not, but then it begs the question of how often they get a gallery show simply because they get this kind of superficial coverage. Does a more talented artist get swept aside because they aren’t parading around in Gucci clothes at events that take money/influence to attend in the first place?

I think the infamous Vanity Fair article that came out (what 1999 or 2000?) that started the rise of these artists kind of speaks for itself in just the way they are photographed. Almost like pin-ups for the cultured and chic.

I even remember the issue after because all the reader mail gushed about how cute John Currin was in the photo, and was he available?

In regards to the NYT article, someone joked that Feinstein will probably make a purse line for Target, and maybe we’ll have Currin bedsheets for K-Mart. These days I wouldn’t be shocked, but is that always a bad thing? Heck, if they were nice sheets, I might buy them! We live in a new age of merchandising, illustration, and fine art in galleries. The lines are blurred thanks to self-publishing, the internet, and other factors. Illustrators are in more galleries, fine artists are doing more merchandise. I do merchandise for example…

There were the purses and Louis Vuitton store by Murakami, and even one of my favorite contemporary artists, James Jean, has a scarf he designed along with having done work for Prada. (I like the b&w scarf, but not the color one for some reason)

In these cases I guess it comes down to how well the “fine art” can translate to a product, and without it feeling forced or stupid. I like Shag — for instance — as a designer, but only as a designer. He shows in galleries along with doing merchandise on a large scale. I went to see his exhibit at the Laguna Beach Art Museum. Compared with the other exhibits he was sharing, his work just looked really wrong hanging in a museum setting. At the gift shop it was another story; mugs, soaps, packaging design for everything. It was cute and I bought some note cards I think. His aesthetic worked in the gift shop, whereas in the museum itself it didn’t work.

In the end I don’t really have a problem with artists going for modeling contracts, or being featured at Oscar after parties, making nice-nice with media moguls, or creating merchandise for the masses. I have a problem if their art sucks and their career takes off only because they are pretty. If the work is good, I’ll buy into it all, and if they can make something for Target or K-Mart that I think is great design or something I’d buy anyways, well — why not? Nothing is sacred anymore, kids. Bernini was a celebrity who was reported on in his day, by gossip columns and newspapers, and I bet if offered a chance to make a line of tea pots or something meant to be sold in great quantity for money, he’d do it.

For the record: I’d never buy anything Rachel Feinstein or Cecily Brown designed. Ew!

Art Super Sale & Show

So here we are, the land of, “Arabella’s stupid cancer ordeal just doesn’t want to ever let up”. My complications keep having complications — nothing major — just things that make having a normal life seem far off. Besides me now being at risk for all sorts of things, my knee procedure didn’t go quite as planned and I may need to have another one. In the meantime, I am stuck in a CPM machine for 6 hours a day trying to bend my knee beyond 110 degrees without having a fit of sobbing. The shape of my leg and knee has now settled, and while the scars aren’t too bad, it is very clear that my leg is deformed and I will never walk as I once did.

All of this comes down to one point for me at the moment: that treatment is carrying over into 2011. What does that mean exactly? More medical bills that I will actually have to pay for, something I had not anticipated. I was looking forward to perhaps moving to a bigger apartment and going to Ireland for my 10 year wedding anniversary — nope. Until I’m functional, don’t have surprise pop-up doctor appointments, and can drive, I can’t take on teaching or any jobs (already turned down one). I’m actually going to be screwed big time.

Since I will not be having a gallery solo show anytime in the near future, I thought to create a one-time exhibition of sorts combined with an online sale of art that I was reluctant to ever part with, or list at a discount. On Saturday, December 18th I will be having an Open Studio as part of Last Minute Market at The Screw Factory in Lakewood, OH. Besides new prints, I will have several oil paintings and framed drawings at a special price, as well as work that I didn’t want to part with — like this watercolor of hipsters at the Bigfoot Lodge in L.A. circa 2002 (the Spacemen 3 poster is mine, though)….

As of today through January 1st, you can view and purchase the smaller pieces being sold online at discounted prices in my Etsy shop. I’m only listing the smaller works, because packing and shipping large artwork requires too much energy and hassle for me to deal with right now. I have also started to take commissions again in time for the holidays! You can view more info on commissioning a portrait here.

Thanks to all of you have have been supporting me through this ridiculousness. Here’s hoping the chaos that has become my life won’t continue much longer!

Art Purchases I’d Make Right Now

I found out recently that a few pieces in my art collection are worth a lot more than I ever imagined, one piece went up in value more than 22x in the last 10 years. I was debating about unloading one of them to finance travel to Ireland for my 10 year wedding anniversary + Kenya to go stay at Giraffe Manor — a trip the husband and I have wanted to do for ten years.

In the end, I decided not to sell any of my collection because I bought them because I loved them — not because I wanted to just resell and make a buck. I’m not one of those people that buys things only as an investment to sell later. Especially if something was a gift or I know I could never get as good a deal as I got initially.

Anyway, here are some new pieces I would like to have in my fantasy world of la-la…

Chris Berens. I still regret not making it to Scope art fair while at Art Basel Miami to see one of these in person. It is all paint and ink on small pieces of paper, not Photoshop.

James Jean. One of my favorites from him.

I was lucky enough to see many Pavel Filonov works at the museum in Moscow. Wonder how much these go for in the secondary market? A lot I’m sure, as the new generations of rich Russians buy up any art of the Communist days; to them, it seems like a lifetime ago and these are relics.

Aron Wiesenfeld. His work is reminiscent of John Currin, but more interested in nature, and a little creepier. I like his use of lighting and all the nit-picky details in grass, trees, and water.

Lindsey Carr aka Little Robot. There’s a butterfly design she did way back when that I still debate on getting a tattoo of (it is cool, unlike regular lame butterfly designs that people get as tats). This piece is available as a print, so I may have to get myself one. Reminds me of Walton Ford a bit in her new direction.

Art World Linky Poos

To end the year, how about a bunch of links to stories, lectures, and writings about the art world? Oh why not….

ArtLA cancels but may go at it again next year.

The Art Market as explained by James Panero

When the Bottom Fell Out of the Art Market via

How To Make Art History via The Economist

Newark, Newark! Cheap studio, another reason I moved to Cleveland from Los Angeles, kids.

An oldie, but a goodie, from the Frieze fair starring Dave Hickey

More so than last year, Pop Surrealist, Low Brow, New Contemporary gained more ground during Art Basel Miami as well as sold out exhibitions in N. America, Europe, Japan; museum retrospectives, and the inclusion of people such as Robert Williams into the Whitney Biennale were also some major turning points. Auctions sales of Old Masters as well as inclusion of more painters in various important shows have also been a trend. They told me 10 years ago at CalArts that painting was dead, and that I’d get nowhere with representational painting…humpf!


My friends came up with a great idea yesterday to start a collection agency for artists, when galleries and curators don’t pay up. Sadly this has been happening more and more, and this is the first time I can remember when I have heard more than one story about bounced checks from galleries. Eep!

Though I worked at a snazzy Melrose Avenue art gallery for a short time, boy did I learn about greed, and the stories, oh the stories. Even artists who were considered well respected and famous; not being paid for a sold out show; having works on loan to museums without payment; gallery owners taking money and losing it in the stock market. In fact I had my own incident with the sculptor John Buck who, as it turns out, hadn’t been paid by my boss in 2 years or more. I of course had no idea, but it was an uncomfortable situation to be in when he stormed into the gallery and my boss was not in — embarrassing and a tad frightening too. Of course there are the galleries that are a delight to work with, who are reliable and pay without you ever having to ask, who actually like art, are fun, and embrace the artistic community.  It is the greedy and badly managed ones that ruin it and give the industry a bad reputation; the art world is populated with just as many sleazy people as the music industry ever was. You never want to think this as a young artist starting out, but boy do you learn.

So speaking of which, How’s My Dealing is a great resource for artists about galleries and art fairs. They just finally added a Los Angeles section, but it is still in the works as far as a comprehensive list. I haven’t visited the site in a while, and now they have a death watch for what galleries are going to go under. Though I feel guilty about finding humor and joy in the misfortunes of others….maybe I’ll file it under: Entertainment. There, now I don’t feel as bad.

Patron Saint of Haircare

The Bay Area News was nice enough to run this about the show at Eclectix Gallery. Pretty cool since that gal done got herself sold on opening night. The past two weeks I have sold a butt load of work, not that I’m trying to be all braggy, but in this climate it makes me wonder what’s up? I’m actually going to admit right now that I’m running out of paintings to give galleries, it is truly weird. Obama-mania perhaps? I suppose art is better and lasts longer than a Range Rover if you are the splurging type. But after talking with several people we have found that the art market in the traditional sense is doing badly, (Frank Stella, Julian Schnabel and Picasso, that kind of work) but that this whole “Pop Surrealism” and “Low Brow” movement has been steady, especially considering the prices are not as inflated. But even that doesn’t matter at times; look at what Mark Ryden and James Jean have sold for recently and you’ll see what I mean. These are strange times, so for the moment I am putting my art sale money back into making art and furthering my graphic design education in case I have to go back to working like a normal person. Okay, I did buy a Michael Kors leopard print dress, but it was $90, how do you NOT buy that?

I finally finished my Saint for the Forgotten Saints show in L.A. next month, she is Saint Lorelei the Patron Saint of High-End Haircare Products

At a young age Lorelei was apprenticed to a
hairdresser to learn her craft rather than marry. She became known for
her prayer, charity and humility. Her documented miracles are many; she
had once chased the devil out of a possessed salon, and created both
anti-frizz creme and volumizing hair mousse after God had spoken to
her. Since her mysterious death from a chipmunk bite in 1785, she has
appeared in visions and given inspiration to many, including Vidal
Sassoon, Paul Mitchell, and Frederic Fekkai. To keep a picture of St.
Lorelei reminds one never to be tempted by evil, and purchase Suave or
Herbal Essences products.

Other than that I am doing a whole mess of miniatures and work for my show in April at Artchitecture Gallery. But I can’t show you yet, it is a surprise.

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