I found this Monet print, framed, in the thrift store for .99. I bought it, initially to only use the frame, and decided to put a modern spin on a classic painting. The idea is very literal; a drone, dousing a field in chemical warfare, most likely agent orange. The elegant women walking with parasols are being drenched in the chemicals, Bob's your uncle.
表裏一体 (19x38) HYORI ITTAI (two sides of the same coin). This painting of a camellia bush was originally on a very old Japanese frame/paper. Every time I touched it, or a breeze caught its frail paper, a piece of it would fall off onto the floor. This drove me crazy as I was literally watching my painting disintegrate. I decided to incorporate this process into the meaning of the painting by painting a Samurai sword slicing into it. Life and death are inseparable. Another interesting point, at least in my opinion, is the manner in which Camellia flowers die. Rather than slowly losing their petals one by one, the entire flower just falls off, similar to a head being decapitated. This is called "kubi-kiri" in Japanese, or neck cut.
This was originally a print from my southwestern flora and fauna series, titled "Ladybugs". I made a print of it which came out too large, so I decided to paint over parts of it to take the attention away from disproportionate size of the succulent branch and ladybugs. I had no plan for how to go about doing this, but every morning on my way to get coffee before painting I'd notice all kinds of interesting things growing in, on, and around other succulents that inspired me. This usually resulted in me taking a photo, or an inconspicuous breaking of a branch, then returning to my studio to work my fresh find into the piece. Items found are as follows; 1 barbie doll, pine needles, multiple jade plant clippings, and all kinds of creepy crawlers. This process continued for several weeks before I could recognize any theme in the painting, but eventually a sense of cohesion appeared. Connectedness, the connections that facilitate all life. It's created by bridging gaps using various materials, both natural and artificial, physical and emotional. In nature we see limbs, branches, legs, webs, needles etc. to accomplish this. With people there are similar physical connections, now we also use various kinds of social media to achieve essentially the same thing. Sometimes these connections benefit our lives, other times inhibit, damage, and ultimately end our lives. The bottom line is we are all connected, and no mater how thin or weak these connections may be, we still affect and are affected by what we are connected to. While we may not be able to chose what connects to us, we can certainly do our best to connect with that which will enhance our lives.
The idea here is very literal. I ordered a print of this painting for a customer, but for some reason when I proofed the print the colors were a bit faint in a few places. I reordered the print with the appropriate adjustments, sent it off, then had this extra print laying around with no purpose. I was considering just painting over the whole canvas and starting a new painting entirely, but figured I might as well salvage the parts I could and simply paint over the flaws. I chose bougainvillea to cover the flawed building wall, as well as a tiny street cat to cover another imperfection. When it was all said and done the remixed painting had more life than the original, and it stays true to the essence of Hanoi, VN, as there are both bougainvillea and street cats galore. Both prints and the original of this remix are for sale if you're interested. Hope you enjoy it. CJ
The original piece, titled "ichigo ichie" (shown to the right) was a present for my sister. It's of a rose from my mothers garden in San Diego, with a butterfly in flight and a dragonfly on a leaf. The Chinese kanji "ICHIGO ICHIE" (painted in the lower right corner) means "once in a lifetime." This expression is often used in appreciation of the moment. Similar to the expressions; "stop and smell the roses" and also "carpe-diem".
Now, in the remix of this painting, I wanted to add elements representative of death to balance the inherent life of the original piece. The reason for this being that in any one moment, there is both life and death occurring simultaneously. To focus on one, without the other, would be depicting a rare, if not fictitious, sense of reality. Which brings us to the second Chinese character painted (above my stamp) onto the remix; Shogyo Mujo. This is a Buddhist idea which means; all things change, nothing is permanent. All things are transitional and have no separate existence.
In addition to the skeleton hand holding the rose, there are also two ladybugs and one spider hanging just beneath the lower rose.
I have prints available (purchase) of this remix if you're interested. As per all of my pieces, there is a limited print count of twenty five.
March 1, 2014