Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Off the Wall 3 Press Release

Here is the press release for the Billboard Show I'm participating in. The opening is on Saturday, April 21 at 6 p.m., so if you're in the L.A. area, please stop by and check out some great art.

“OFF THE WALL 3” Turns Old Billboards into New Works of Art
Unique Indoor/Outdoor Art Exhibit Premieres April 21
LOS ANGELES—To celebrate Earth Day, Peter V. Schulberg, owner of the Los Angeles Eco-LogicalArt gallery (www.eco-logicalart.org) will host OFF THE WALL 3, a unique, indoor and outdoor, fine art exhibition in which discarded billboards are transformed into spectacular works of art. For the first time ever, original artwork will also be created on actual 14’ by 48’ recycled billboards located around Los Angeles for the run of the gallery show which will premiere on Earth Day Eve, April 21st , at 6 p.m.

OFF THE WALL 3 will feature works by a two dozen local artists who have created paintings out of vinyl canvases made from recycled billboards. The work will be on display both inside ECO-LA’s Los Angeles gallery and on the building’s exterior, and include both new works and a retrospective of the previous OFF THE WALL 1 & 2 shows.
Displaying large-scale artwork on billboards is not only a novel concept; it will take OFF THE WALL 3 to unprecedented heights. “Once again, ECO-LA is working with cutting edge artists to turn ‘dead’ ads and the staid gallery world inside out,” observed Schulberg. Traffic data indicates that the original art billboards may be viewed by more than 250,000 Southern California motorists per day. Los Angeles’ popular Getty Museum, by contrast, attracts on average 4,000 visitors per day.
More than 60 artists participated in the two previous OFF THE WALL shows. The shows attracted hundreds of eager visitors to the Eco-LogicalArt gallery and resulted in more than $25,000 in sales of recycled vinyl art. “As an eco-bonus,” Schulberg noted, “approximately 10,000 square feet of pvc vinyl has been diverted from local landfills.”

The idea of turning old billboards into new works of art came to Schulberg in 2004 when he learned that tons of billboard advertising is tossed into landfills every month. Schulberg, who makes functional art from recovered materials, thought the situation cried out for a green solution. He began experimenting with applying paint to the vinyl sheets used in billboard advertising and invented a new stretching process so that the material could be used as canvases. He then placed notices on art newsgroups offering free canvases and exposure on the exterior of his gallery.
Schulberg compared the response to the movie Field of Dreams. “I asked artists to work for nothing on this weird new material for the opportunity to have their work exhibited on the exterior on my gallery—hostage to the heat, wind, rain, and a kid with a paintball gun,” Schulberg recalled. “But the artists, some who sell for thousands of dollars, came and keep coming.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, the vinyl canvases proved almost impervious to the elements. None of the artworks showed signs of fading, flaking or wear, even after being pelted by winter rainstorms. Even local graffiti artists left the artwork alone. Schulberg notes that the vinyl canvases turned ECO-LA into Los Angeles first “drive-by gallery.”
The warm response generated by the first two OFF THE WALL exhibitions gave Schulberg the idea of expanding the show’s reach by returning some of the vinyl canvases to the place where they began—that is, to actual billboards. With grants supplied The Vinyl Institute (www.vinylindesign.org), a national trade organization representing manufacturers of vinyl products, and Scion (www.scion.com), he then enlisted the support the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (www.oaaa.org) and display heavyweights CBS Outdoor and Van Wagner Communications to donate prime billboard space. As a result, “eco-logical” artwork will appear on five billboards located around Los Angeles, including atop Schulberg’s gallery, during the month’s of April and May. Once the billboards are taken down the art will be stretched into conventional canvasses and offered to the public in a “back to earth” event at the gallery.
Schulberg’s hopes for his eco-logical art experiment continues to rise. With ECO-LA about to go non-profit, and with hundreds of billboards getting “killed” daily he has plans to create a national “renewable imagery” billboard art tour, of getting the material into public schools and to providing free mural walls to the inner city kids. “It’s a green win-win whose time has come,” he said. “But this new dynamic also recalls an old Shaker saying that is one of my touchstones: ‘We do not inherit the earth from our parents; we are borrowing it from our children.’”

Saturday, March 24, 2007

More Filming

I thought I was done with the billboard project, but yesterday I received an e-mail saying that the film guys wanted to take more photos and do more interviews with us for the mini-documentary, but it should only take 15 minutes. Plus I had to sign my painting. It was weird talking about a giant painting of myself, but they said I did a good job, though I think they tell everyone that. I did find out that I no longer have to paint it over in yet another size -- I could use the oil one I'd already done. That's a relief. Now I can get back to a couple of paintings I'd started previous to all this and maybe have something new to post. The billboard will be hung sometime this next week over the gallery and I'll hopefully get photos by next weekend.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Painting Day 5

Okay, here is the finished piece. I know it doesn't look much different from the last one, but I finished up the red dress and tried straightening out the letters a bit. It's really hard to do lettering on swaying vinyl 10 feet above a cement floor, especially when you start feeling light-headed because you're holding your breath to paint a straight line. I got up at 5:20 a.m. and left the house at 6 a.m. so I could beat the Monday morning rush hour. Unfortunately, it was still dark when I got to the gallery, so I had to lug lights around so I could see to paint. I'm pretty happy with the results, but yesterday I found out that I have to paint this image a third time on a 37" x 48" vinyl so it can be hung at the show. And since the show's in a month, and I'm out of town for a week and my son's visiting me for a week, that leaves about one and a half weeks to paint Kim Has a Good Skip AGAIN! I'm really starting to not like me.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Painting Days 3 & 4

Sorry I didn't have the energy to blog yesterday, plus the photos didn't make it look like I did very much, even though I was at the warehouse painting from 9:30 until 3 p.m. It was a scattered day because there were two other artists painting, plus some people were setting up a St. Patrick's Day party and they had a band doing sound check, so anytime you started talking to someone, you were drowned out by a rendition of Sweet Home Alabama. The was a slight problem because another artist was painting on the billboard on the other side of mine (behind it) and as they're backed up against each other, there was some swaying of the vinyl. So I was forced to repaint my crazy hair because there was no fine detail work involved.
The other distraction was that there were a couple of guys filming and taking photos for a mini-documentary of the process. They interviewed each artist and asked questions about your piece. All I'm going to say about it is they asked me if I had a good skip...and I actually had to skip for the camera.
The first photo is what I completed on Saturday, the second one is what I completed today. Tomorrow I'm going in at 6 a.m. (to try to avoid rush hour) and finish up the red dress and touch up the background and letters.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Painting Day 2

I'm exhausted! Fought rush hour traffic at 7 a.m. to get to the gallery/warehouse so started painting at 8. Was determined to finish the first coat, so finally finished up at 3 with only a short break to eat a half a sandwich. I have to drive on five freeways and through downtown LA to get to the gallery and back, and it was 95 degrees today. It took me 25 minutes Sunday morning, but 50 minutes today. Can I go to bed at 6:36 p.m.? Next weekend I'm back there Saturday - Monday to put down the final layer of paint. Who has hair like that anyway and why did I choose to paint it? It's horrible to paint. The guy who owns the space said I should have shaved my head.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Painting Day 1

This is Day One of actual painting. I had to wipe the whole billboard down because it was covered with a fine layer of dust and dirt. Then I projected the image and sketched it in. I didn't start painting until 12:30 and worked until 4, only spilling paint off the ladder twice (as you can see in the last photo it splashed on me). Tomorrow I'm duct taping the paint containers to the ladder. The last photo I took was a timed shot which is why I look a little out of sorts, but I wanted to show the scale and was the only one in the building. More painting and photos tomorrow.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Billboard Project

This is the project I'm working on this next month. A small group of artists gathered at Eco-logical Art this morning to roll out, measure, tape off, and hang the vinyl billboards that six of us are going to paint. After lots of measuring and taping in the hot sun, we moved the two billboards into the warehouse and put plastic tubing through one end. Then we tied rope in eight places across the tubing and threw them over the center beam. I didn't actually get any over the beam, but I did attempt it a few times before handing it over to someone who could throw. Then we hoisted it up like a huge sail and held it while the owner tied it up with rope. There are two billboards back-to-back so six people can paint at once. Decisions hadn't been made about who got which spot, so we were done for the day. Tomorrow I go back and will be able to sketch in my painting and hopefully put some paint to canvas.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

This is my next project. Well, actually it is a recently finished painting showing me now and in kindergarten. "Kim has a good skip" is a sentence that my teacher actually put on one of my progress reports. It's really helped me become the full-functioning adult that I am today. My next project is for a show called "Off the Wall" with a gallery called Eco-logical Art where the owner/curator takes used billboard vinyl and stretches it on 4x4 foot or 8x8 foot canvases and gives it to artists to paint on, then sells it in his gallery. This year he's recently gotten the okay to put up paintings on billboards that aren't being used for a month at a time or more. So I signed up to do a 4x4 foot painting because we only have six weeks to paint it and everyone knows how sloooooowwww a painter I am - or used to be. I've actually gotten much faster since I don't have to work in a basement that's only 50 degrees most of the year. Also, the curator is going to divide the billboards into thirds (10 x 13.25 feet) and convinced me to recreate "Kim has a good skip" on it. So starting Saturday I'll be in downtown LA because we have to paint it in his warehouse. My goal is to do it in two long three-day weekends because my son will be visiting the last two weekends and I don't want to force him to sit with me in a warehouse just so I can spend time with him. The other challenge is painting in acrylic when I'm used to painting in oil. The good thing is that it doesn't have to be very detailed since it will be seen from far away. I plan on taking photos of the process and will let everyone know more as I go along.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Everything but the Kitschen Sync

Friday night was the opening night reception of "Everything but the Kitschen Sync" show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery. I was there almost the whole time and sometimes it was so crowded you could barely move. I promised photos of friends who showed up, so from top to bottom: the first photo is of Laura De Leon and myself -- you can see my painting in the background. The next photo is of Everett Mendes, Raymond Y Newton, and gourd artist Heather Rasmussen. The third photo is of Lisa Yuan, Tom Vaillancort, and myself in the store section of the gallery where they purchased a bubble-blowing monkey and Crows candy (they're like black licorice jujubes). The store part is a great place to buy unique gifts like bobble head dolls, candy cigarettes, anything with a Mexican wrestler on it or a sock monkey. The art show was great, too. There was some amazing art and so much of it was sold that night! I liked one piece, and by the time I showed it to someone, it was sold (not that I was going to buy it, but still...). It was a great time and the show will be up for a month, so if you didn't get to the opening, or if you need some candy cigarettes, or maybe a temporary tattoo, stop by and see some of the best art in LA. The art is actually on the gallery's website so if you're out of the area, you can check it out here.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Help Me!

I have another art opening tomorrow night (Friday, March 2) 8-11 at La Luz de Jesus Gallery. My piece "Help Me" (pictured above) is included along with 100 other artists' work in "Everything but the Kitschen Sync" group show. I'll post photos this weekend. For anyone local, the show is running until April 1 and the gallery is located at 4633 Hollywood Blvd. I plan to be there somewhere the entire time.