About Taped Paintings

Understanding that in today’s media-environment, the function of the industrial tool is now two-fold – first for its function, use and application, and second; that it is liberally branded, serving the ulterior function to implant upon the subconsciousness of the user with with a catchy, graphical hook.

Using tape is my first foray into an inversion of this logic, where the branding becomes the primary function of the purpose (artistically speaking) and the application/use becomes an after-effect.

By accident, I noticed the branded blue tape sitting on my desk. It is blue painter’s tape to mark edges while painting interiors.

 

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I once painted an interior myself. It was in Mid-town Manhattan. I got this job by myself. But by then, I had already painted entire galleries. A friend of mine, Mike had taught me an important technique to cover over-sized walls: Keep the paint trays filled to the brim with paint (Make sure there is plenty of floor covering, in these cases, we had a nice 4×8′ sheet of cardboard that we can slide along the edge that would catch any stray paint), roll the roller in liberally soaking it, start at the highest point (usually, you can reach the top, where the top edge has been cut (cut being a term for taking a brush and paint can and painting all edges of a room, typically corners where rollers will not reach), and let all of the paint dribble down while, in one stroke, the roller will coat the stretch from top to bottom in one stroke. This saves an enormous amount of time and energy it takes to otherwise roll the roller in an up and down fashion to cover the wall. This mark is the height of efficiency for covering large walls. This movement is repeated again, and there is always excess paint on the wall and roller to fill in gaps, splotches and streaks for an even coat. This is the zen of wall painting.

 

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These several years of experience are etched in my memory sitting in my studio in Downtown, Los Angeles. My mind is turned on by these plastic materials, that are so unequivocally bereft of life. Industrial materials to me, represent a vacuum, one that on a large scale has stripped, bleached and destroyed the environment of which we are beginning to see is an inevitable outcome: Of life in decline.

Organically, I discovered that by aligning the printed, branded surface of this marvelous blue tape, that I could create a wallpaper. There is something extremely pleasurable about aligning the print just right. It reflects a certain pleasure that any manual laborer gets out of working with their hands whether it is laying down wallpaper, doing electrical work, diagnosing and fixing cars, mowing lawns or painting houses. It’s a certain functionality.

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As an appendage to this, I’ve also collected coffee cup sleeves, whose whimsical and even melancholic imagery of floating coffee mugs swirl about. I guess I am in a process of discovery connection between things.

 

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True Grit! What is freedom? !tirG eurT

I had another amazing day today after what started lousily. But time and time again—as has been a recurring theme in and out of different yoga studios throughout Los Angeles over this seven-year period of being on the West Coast—I am nearing the conclusion that the business of expanding personal freedom is so far from a given and that to continue and thrive, it must be fought for every day, both outside and in. And it wouldn’t be so tasty if is was easy. In yoga as in many other sports necessitating endurance, this persistence is commonly referred to as ‘breaking through’ or having that ‘second (or third) wind’. Recently, in yoga classes, I have found myself in physically-demanding poses where the burning sensation in my thigh muscles or shoulders felt as if my flesh was burning so hot it would melt off of my body like hot plasma. This pain is what many teachers in one way or another have routinely suggested as a place where one come to terms with whole selves. It is in the middle of these postures where healthy relationships to our edge of limitations are confronted as well as the opportunity to enlarge or expand them. This is done by disassociating the negative stigma that we might attach to physical and/or mental pain while holding the poses. Furthermore, many teachers  suggest that if we worked on changing our attitudes during these postures towards acceptance of discomfort and pain we might start breathing fire! : ) Or just experience extreme joy.

I have come to take up this cause, of observing calm in the midst of chaos both in yoga as is in life. Any storm, no matter how big or threatening, will dissipate, “so breathe” the  teachers say. So, throughout my last few weeks here, I’ve put in concrete terms, that the high and lows happen no matter what, but how we handle ourselves in between is what really is at stake: The present moment, and it begs one to take a position, one that will constantly recur and will always invite a solution; are we the ones deciding or are we being decided for? I trust that in one of life’s greatest questions, it must be worth the pain of finding out.

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I know my time has come. I see the ship and I am standing on the foggy port, bags packed, myself readied. The smell of salty and fishy water washes in my nostrils. I breathe it in becoming intoxicated by its wildness as well as by my mind moving in tandem with it. I am in admiration of having been delivered to bask in a deep brightness.

Others move about as if around me, it is a normal and normally-lovely day. I can feel uplift sprouting about as people mill about, as if their dreams and aspirations weren’t trapped and suffocated in only our individual shells but fluid, seeking, wandering and circulating among us all, and what we feel, which is resplendent! The sun has poked through. Amidst haziness, a patch of the ocean shimmers and light scatters about.

To which I feel free is yours as much as mine. Rejoice, for we have arrived in astute fashion from dank and bloodied repositories with vision blinded by betrayal of an epic magnitude. Whatever it was, you’re forgiven, but only because you have paid your dues, put in your toil and turned in your hours from when you were called upon. You were in safe-holding all along, while unbeknownst to you, your mettle was being evaluated and scrutinized. Did you think we’d let you down after all this?

You have fundamentally changed, and have been changed by the world, no longer to be relegated to trivial pursuits. You have been called upon for life’s ultimate journey which is, that it is yours and yours fully. Now take it and make us proud.

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The smile on his face is one that bares semblance to reality, no longer easy and cheap, but fought for and wrested from compromised hands to have made his own and in his own form.