Here’s a quick look into the Barry McGee exhibit at the Berkley Art Museum. It’s been up since the end of August, but you’ve only got one more month to check it out, since it closes December 9th.
You may know him as Ray Fong, Lydia Fong, Bernon Vernon, P.Kin, Ray Virgil, or Twist, but whatever moniker he’s creating under, McGee is an incredibly talented artist. Trained as a painter and a printmaker at the San Francisco Art Institute, McGee is now one of the most influential names in graffiti and street art. During his time in college, he began to take what he was learning to the streets off the Mission District, tagging under different pen names and switching up his styles. Now, he’s brining the streets he knows so well into gallery spaces, creating imaginary urban worlds in his installations. These new landscapes are filled with paintings, sketches, graffiti and sculptures, and visiting them feels a bit like walking around in McGee’s own mind.
Liam Devowski lives and works in San Francisco as an Art Director at ad agency Mekanism. His bold colored messages and sharp imagery always have a way of looking at the bright side. One reoccurring motif in his work is the PBS logo with a single tear. This added design element playfully changes the meaning from “Public Broadcasting Service” to “Pretty Bummed and Sad”. Devowski takes pleasure in occasional sadness and uses it to fuel optimistic and enlivened design work.
Christopher Russell hand etches and scratches the surface of his photographs to create intricate drawings and patterns. The process involves using a sharp stylus to remove the top image-layer of the print, revealing the soft white paper pulp underneath.
With the availability of digital mapping systems, the tabletop globe seems almost like a vestige of ancient times. The globes we do encounter—in our classrooms, or in antique stores—are either cheap and mass-produced or delicate and expensive. In a fascinating project to reinvigorate the art of globe-making, Peter Bellerby of Bellerby & Co. Globemakers is creating globes entirely by hand, from stretching the gores (the strips of paper) and applying them carefully onto the sphere, to painting and illustrating the maps. The process takes at least 6 months to complete, and it’s not easy—without careful measurements, the globe will remain incomplete. Blending science with art, a perfection-derived sense of beauty inspires Bellerby’s work.
Bellerby’s project began when he was trying to find a good-quality globe for his father’s 80th birthday. His options were limited or unsatisfying, so he decided to create his own globe from scratch—an endeavor into which he poured months of research, money, and work. Realizing that there was a lack of globes being made by hand, Bellerby created his studio in 2008. Now, he works with a team of passionate (and patient) artists to bring back this ancient craft, creating everything from mini artisan desk globes to the “Churchill,” a behemoth globe spanning 127cm. His work has been widely recognized, and deservedly so; in an age when Google Maps magnifies and digitally fragments our perceptions of the earth, Bellerby’s globes demonstrate an intimate understanding of and respect for our planet as a whole.
Anne Simone combines her knowledge of computer programming with a love of music. Bittersweet is her new lp which features a twist. The lyrics of lead track “Digitize Me” make up a running computer program and the words you hear are directly taken from written code. The idea came to Simone when she thought about a computer reading language. In that environment, a simple machine responds to basic commands of yes/no, true/false and 1s and 0s.
The artist compared it to human nature and concluded that life would be so much simpler, if we just followed these Zen-like rules. If we did, there would be less complication and miscommunication in our lives. Getting a further glimpse of what actually occurs when two different disciplines collide, it can be witnessed on the actual computer printout of “Digitize me”. Nothing too complicated or elaborate in the aesthetic sense, it reveals just a simple drawing. The real innovation is in concept and design. A place marker for today’s interdisciplinary melding of styles and tastes. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Simone currently resides in Seattle, Washington, where she works as a software designer. Her passion has led to a double life that now overlaps and is reflected in well written, emotionally charged songs. These are further enhanced by an equally lovely voice, reminiscent of Imogen Heap or Tegan and Sara. Besides uplifting music, other novel bits on her new record take cues from classic synthsters Kraftwerk. The German outfit had a single called “Pocket Calculator” where the sound of fingers pressing a keypad accounted for the actual beat. Another, “Computer Love” taken from the same album, falls in line with Simone’s dreamier tracks. For the technically minded or just curious, the code/lyrics to “Digitize Me” is available on GitHub (https://github.com/kineticsongs/digitizeMe).
Batman is pretty cool, but he does naughty stuff all the time.
Benjamin Phillip’s is an illustrator/poet/music man working out of Brighton, England. His work is a mixed bag of wizadry, sad children, wicked cool parties, and leaves. His illustrations all have an underlined witty sense of humor that seems very unique and bizarre.
X-Ray photographer Roy Livingston’s latest series is at the junction of retro and modern. X-Ray Visions is series of electric x-ray photographs which radiate neon colors. His series is composed mainly of photographs of toy robots and toy guns brings a sort of eerie atmosphere to the compositions regardless of the heavy use of neon. The fact that the inner workings of the objects are visible makes them all the more captivating and fascinating to look at. Being able to see the cogs and gears of the toys in the photographs gives them a sort of scientific feeling.
The process behind theses colorful x-rays is also interesting in its own respects: Livingston starts off with black and white xrays which he then edits digitally ino order to achieve the final neon result. Livingston is not only about the final product of his work but also focused on the process itself and what he refers to as an “artistic joyride” .
X-Ray visions is the product of a well thought out process, fueled by Livingston’s fascination for industrial design and the digital manipulation of photographs. His combination of both old and new media makes for a captivating project that speaks to the audience, not only with regard to the process but also the symbolic nature of retro-futurism and the neo 80s mindset.
Diego Bergia (also known as LEPOS) is working on a series of animated clips in the style of a 90’s arcade game with the help of GIANT, REVOK and CES. The clips successfully merge the world of graffiti with the brash excitement of “Beat em Up” arcade games that were prominent in the 90’s such as Final Fight and Streets of Rage. Here’s to Bergia being able to make a playable version one day!