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Stop SOPA

One of the most amazing about the internet, is the ability to connect with people from all over the world. After just a few short years, I was blown away to learn the Creep Machine is visited by people from over 130 countries around the world. Quite an amazing feat by someone who at one time knew nothing about websites, and how to gain a wider audience. The power of the internet was that someone, like myself, was able to start a website and share what inspired me, in this case art. I try to keep politics away from this site, as they are often depressing to no end, and I like the idea that the Creep can be a place to enjoy art and share the creations of others. Every year some politician creates a bill that threatens the freedom of the internet, the most recent one is something I feel I needed to share.

This week the SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act is making its way around and could very well be passed. The intention of this bill is to curb the amount of online piracy that is going on. I personally believe this specific issue would entail coming up with new ideas of how to share digital information, and even consider that many forms of entertainment are simply too expensive, and the the temptation is too high to resist sometimes. It’s only recently that may labels have begun to reduce the price of cd’s, even though the price of the technology has gone down considerably. With SOPA, any site that features copy-written material could be shut down. Now I am all for the idea of protecting the copyright of art, music, and film, however this includes sites like Youtube in which a group of youngsters uses a famous song to dance to, or an up and coming artist covers a famous song. Even closer to home, what if a big name artist or gallery decides they don’t like an art blog sharing images from a recent exhibition. There is no conclusive proof that things could go this way, but the threat is real enough that companies like Google, Microsoft, and even Wikipedia are fighting it. Wikipedia is even considering a blackout that would shut the site down for a day or so (source), and considering the site gets more than 2.7 billion views per month it’s a big message.

When recordable tapes came along the music industry cried the sky was falling down, it didn’t. It also didn’t come crashing down when recordable cd’s or the mp3 player and mp3′s as whole came around. Piracy will always be there, but it can be curbed. The more important question is if this is the right way to do it. If you think this is the wrong way to go about it, and that the way we see and view the internet is being threatened, make your voice known. Boing-Boing recently posted some more information on the bill with some ways you can help, and there is even a dedicated forum over at Reddit.com that will give you more information and steps to take (here). Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian even posted a video talking about how Reddit, a site that gets more than 30 million unique visitors per month, could never have been created with SOPA in place (here).

New ideas and solutions will bring us forward. As Albert Einstein once said “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Photo illustration by Aurich Lawson

The Decline of Conceptual Art

Those few people that have talked with me about art, something I am always excited to do, know I am not the biggest fan of conceptual art. I don’t dislike all of it, some conceptual artists have done some amazing things such as Joseph Bueys 7,000 Oaks Project. Always good to plant more trees, even if it’s labeled an art project. However, most of the time when I think about conceptual art I think of Paul McCarthy’s Class Fool performance in 1979, in which he threw himself around in a ketchup splattered room at UC San Diego until injured, vomited a few times and then inserted a Barbie Doll in his anus. Most of the viewers could not stand to finish watching the performance. This type of art makes for great headlines, articles, and conversations, but in the end I feel that this kind of art takes attention away from those artists that create something as skilled technically as it is conceptually, but lack the instant shock factor, or as Jonathan Jones states in his latest article “it’s a laugh, it’s entertainment, it’s spectacular, it’s cool … art now aspires to be all the things fashion is.” (source)

Entitled Art As We Know It Is Dead, Jones talks about the idea that current art is over. It has shown itself as nothing more than “the decor of an age of mercantile madness”. To a certain extent I agree with this. One can no doubt look at pieces by Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, and many more as art-factory-made products, in which the money attached to the piece is more important than the art itself. Of course many of the fans of lowbrow/pop surrealism know that not all current art is like this, and many of the ideas and political/social connections that the more public contemporary art is lacking, this scene is more attuned to. I often think of artists such as Francisco Goya, being inspired by the invasion of the French, created his timeless works The Third of May 1808 and The Disasters of War series and wonder where are the artists today that are creating art based on the issues that are going on in the real world. I think it’s great to be entertained, to escape, and most importantly laugh, but is that balance between reality and fantasy even there with the majority of the conceptual art world? I would like to see more reality based art in the contemporary scene we pay attention to, but I know it is at least going in that direction.

Read the Article Here
Above image is Medicine Cabinets by Damien Hirst.

Reviews: “Semiprecious” by Sam Wolfe Connelly @ Spoke Art

On October 8th, Spoke Art in San Francisco opened the first solo show of New York artist Sam Wolfe Connelly. Having recently graduated with a degree in illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design, it’s amazing that Sam already has a solo show, and a very strong one at that. He has previously shown work with Gallery Nucleus and Bold Hype, but this was his opportunity to show a series of works that will not only show his considerable talent, but the consistency, and cohesiveness. I stopped by the reception night, took a look at the works, snapped some photos, and was able to talk to Sam for a bit about his working process.

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Political Art for a much needed time

As some of you may know there have been some very newsworthy events happening in the past few weeks, and I’m not saying that there hasn’t been newsworthy events in the past year, but what about positive events? It feels as though all we have heard for the longest time is negative news stories, and sure they sell, but does it help moral and does it foster change? Currently the Occupy Wall Street event is going on and spreading across the nation (Reddit, Twitter), people are standing up for change and what they believe in, and the very idea that the news media is ignoring this proves that the event is powerful. The camera has the ability to make things important, to focus our attention at what is deemed important and what is not, but who are those people curating the world for us? Do we really find it a good idea to allow those with vested interests to tell us what is really happening?

This site has always been about art, and always will be. It’s what I am passionate about and what I think about every second I can spare. So I spent some time looking around at art with a political and social message. Art that has the ability to not only look amazing, but art that has the ability in itself to spark change. To light the fire inside of us to see things move forward, and to take a look at the world around us and realize that it could be better. It should be better. In the last year I have been to countless art shows, and very few had works that fit this vibe. I can understand the idea of creating art that helps to teleport us out of the negative things that are going on right now – art can act as an escape just as much as movies or music can – but there comes a time when the viewers needs a slap in the face, and not a mellow hand lulling us to sleep.

Is it that the viewers do not want to see this kind of art? I have a hard time believing that lovers of art, and even those that simply crave change would not desire images that help to foster change, and at the same time mark a point in history when great change will happen. Jacques-Louis David’s Death of Marat (shown) is the most iconic image from the time of the French Revolution, and has also been called the first modernist painting. The painting has been reinterpreted by a countless amount of artists. The power of the image stays strong to this day, which is also why it makes it a good candidate to be taken as inspiration by a contemporary artist. So when I see a new series of work, a new show, or happen to introduced to a new artist, I have been looking for those works that hold that power that previous works have held. The last time I went to a show and walked away still a true feeling that the art changed me, was the Jonathan Darby solo show that took place at White Walls (reviewed). The work was well executed, powerful, and most importantly educated me on a issue that demanded more attention. This was one of those that I walked away hoping more and more people would see, they needed to see it. I sit here now perusing though articles of protests, corporate greed gone rampant, and political corruption presented bare and I wonder where is the art created in reaction to this? Are we simply left with a small handful of artist such as Banksy or Shepard Fairey? I know there are more out there, and I have been keeping my eye on many of them, what I want to know is what you think. How do the fans, the patrons, the lovers of art feel about what is going on. Is it really a missing void, or are you quite happy with the art that helps you escape, or laugh, or weep? Or do you crave the art that makes you want to stand up in the the manner of Peter Finch and scream “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”.

New work by Aaron Nagel

Aaron Nagel is currently painting away for his upcoming solo show at Thinkspace, in which he will show 5 new paintings alongside Jennifer Nehrbass and Jeff Ramirez. I took a look at Aaron’s blog to see if there were any sneak peeks of some of the paintings that he will show, and I was very happy to see there was. A few in-process shots as well as a finished painting entitled “Drift”, oil on canvas 48″ x 32″. Besides the pearls, this almost looks as though the model was captured directly after a fluid movement into a new position directly after the painting “Shrapnel”. In this new painting Aaron has started to play with the color values in the flesh tones. I’m very excited about these new works, the in-process shots look amazing as well. Head on over to Aaron’s blog to see the works, and keep up to date with news and events.

Aaron Nagel Blog

Review: The Blab! Show @ Roq La Rue Gallery

On August 12th Roq La Rue in Seattle, WA opened the latest Blab! Show group invitational, with a specific theme of the Krampus as inspiration. For those not familiar with the Krampus, he is a pre-christian demon like creature that accompanied St Nick during Christmas and punished the bad children. The exhibition features work by Ryan Heshka, Nicoletta Ceccoli, Erik Mark Sandberg, Yoko d’Holbachie, Travis Louie, Travis Lampe, Martin Wittfooth, Ana Bagayan, Owen Smith, Chris Buzelli, Shag, Brian Despain, Mark Garro, Marc Burkhardt, Laurie Hogin, Andy Kehoe, Derek Nobbs, Alex Kuno, Andrew S. Arconi, Julianna Swaney, Jason Holley, and Fred Stonehouse. The folks over at Loved To Death, made their way from San Francisco to Seattle to check out the show. Brennan was nice enough to write a review for the Creep and share some photos as well. Take it away Brennan, after the jump.


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Medusa Anamorph by Ninja1 and Mach505

Truly Design, an artist collective working out of Torino Italy, recently posted pictures of a project that I had to share. I am pretty hooked on art inspired by Medusa imagery, not sure if I have talked about it enough, but it’s something I wrote about for many school projects and would like to work on a book featuring Gorgon art soon. Two members of the collective, Mach505 and Ninja1 were commissioned to do a mural/installation in a factory/urban lab which hosted Sub Urb Art. The mural was done in a way that it could only be seen as intended from one vantage point. Looking at the mural from any other angle simply broke the image down into shaped and abstract forms. I liked that they chose to do this, as we know the fable of Medusa is that if she looks at you, the viewer turns to stone. So in this sense the viewer is safe to look at the mural from any point other than head on, then taking in the full view of the face, she has you.

Check out the full post here: Truly Design

Review: Jonathan Darby @ White Walls SF

During the weekend that I visited the Shooting Gallery to check out the latest solo show from Aaron Nagel (reviewed), I also stopped by White Walls Gallery right next door to see what they had going on. The front portion of the gallery featured new works by Adam Caldwell, and while these works were worth checking out the installations and mixed media paintings from Jonathan Darby stole the show. Click the jump link to read the rest of the review and a video of the installation.

The entire back of the White Walls gallery had been transformed into a Favela, otherwise known as a shanty town in Brazil. Darby has shown his Favela inspired works in previous galleries such as the Signal Gallery. As you step inside the massive installation, the gallery is literally transformed into a slum that many of the children featured in the paintings live in day by day. I was reminded that the ground was still a nice gallery floor, and the room was still conditioned, but I made an effort to really be immersed and understand that the children living this way have it harsher than most people could ever imagine. continue reading «Review: Jonathan Darby @ White Walls SF»

Review: “A Thin Line” – Aaron Nagel @ Shooting Gallery

One June 11th, The Shooting Gallery in San Francisco opened the latest solo show, “The Thin Line”, from Oakland based painter Aaron Nagel. This is the second solo exhibition the artist has had at the gallery, the first being “Marks” (reviewed) that took place March 2010. Since that time he has had a few paintings in group shows, but aside from the few that took place in the Bay Area I rarely got to see any new work in person.

I was very excited to see this new show, but didn’t make it to the gallery until this past weekend, which doesn’t bother me since I can take some good photos and new video. I really like the idea of taking videos of these shows from here on out, and have gotten a good response from fans across the globe that can’t see the works in person. While I try to do the best I can with the videos, getting in close and trying to capture all the detail I can, there is no replacement for seeing these works in person. Especially when you see how exquisite Aaron’s brushwork is. It really is hard to believe that he is self-taught, and is a testament to hard work and achieving your goals no matter what. Click the read more link for the rest of the review and a video.


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Photos: “Under the Gun” group show @ Articulated Gallery

It has been while since I have been asked to curate a show, and is something I would like to do more often. Articulated Gallery needed a show for the month of June and they asked me to whip together a quick group show, and since time was limited “Under the Gun” was born. The show features work by Chet Zar, Dan Harding, Jessica Ward, Apricot Mantle, Patrick Deignan, John Cebollero, Godmachine, Megan Frauenhoffer, Larkin, Jon Macnair, Jessica Stewart, and Cate Rangel. I am very happy with the show, and was also happy to have some new talent such as Jessica Stewart (featured) and Megan Frauenhoffer (featured) in the show. The show will be up until July 1st, so if you haven’t had a chance to stop by yet, make sure you do. Otherwise I took some photos and made a new video of the exhibition. Hit the link for the video and the rest of the photos.

Articulated Gallery

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New work by Erik Jones

Erik Jones (featured), an artist I have not shown on the site in quite a long time, has come out with a bunch of new work. He also recently had a solo show, “Pop Op” at Redletter 1 this past June 3rd. The work has yet to show up online in entirety, however he has released some images on his various profiles. Erik’s traditional works, no less exciting than anything digital he creates, is made of a myriad of materials such as watercolors, colored pencils, water based oils, nu-pastels, and acrylics on Rives BFK paper. If there was ever a paper that could be called exquisite it’s Rives BFK. James Jean uses it a lot, and Erik Jones used it for these new works that, as you can see, are exquisite in themselves. I love the blend of figurative imagery, abstract shapes, and textures that each piece holds. Makes sure to keep an eye on his website, Deviantart Profile and blog for more work and updates. Here is what Erik said about this new series of works:

This new “thing” that I’m doing is really just about experimenting.
Though the figures tend to be “attractive”, the new direction places less emphasis on sexuality. I simply start out with a loose line drawing of a figure and experiment with building up and breaking down color and shapes in and around said figure. It is not only a salubrious experimentation with the figure but also an exploration of mediums. This process is more sporadic and embraces imperfection, rather then focusing mainly on rendering “perfect” realistic skin.
…It’s also a lot of fun.

Click the read more link for a bunch of work to see.

Erik Jones Homepage

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Introducing Paper Devil Press & Exit 11 by John Cebollero

I am happy to introduce the latest project from the Creep Machine. Paper Devil Press is a new print shop that will feature exclusive limited edition prints, original works of art, and in the future open edition prints and zines. The goal of Paper Devil is to bring amazing artwork to the fans at prices that allow everyone to collect great art. It is also my goal to make mush of the art and prints you see at the shop unique, and unlike many art shops online.

The very first Exclusive limited edition print is by John Cebollero and is entitled “Exit 11″. This print is from a painting that was seen in the “This is the End” group show, and was also the image used for the subscriber edition of Juxtapoz Magazine in 2009. The print is 8 1/4″ x 10″ giclee on 100% cotton rag paper, signed and numbered in an edition of 20 + 5 Artist Proofs. The detail and colors on this print are intense. I will be giving away one of these artists proofs this week over at the Paper Devil Facebook group, so make sure you “like” the new group for a chance to win. Otherwise head on over to the new print site and see what is there. Originals by Dan Harding, and prints by Chris Peters and Martin Wittfooth.

Paper Devil Press