Friday, November 24, 2006

Party First?

At Bravo (which is pretty large abandoned 3 bedroom apartment in a condemmed building in the notoriously sketchy Katendrecht neighborhood of Rotterdam) one night, while Fifi Hengsten played in the living room and Jan made cocktails in the shower, the kitchen was made into an italian pizzaria complete with fake mustaches, (just as ? more? importantly) the pizza was excellent and the venue made some money off hungry art fans to help pay for future events.

There's something about some of the art events that i've seen and heard of here in rotterdam that I really like and i'm trying to put my finger on. I'm going to be writing about this some more in the future but i wanted to start something here in case any of our devoted readers :) wanted to comment and suggest paralells or further thoughts. Ok, here's an attempt to say what i'm talking about- the events, and in some cases the spaces are conceptual art projects in their own right, but in a really relaxed way that emphasizes fun, comfort, and a good social atmosphere above their "artiness". Its like its first and formost a party that is meant to be fun and it has some deeper intelectual meaning its because the people who are planning it and the people who are showing up just really enjoy thinking deeply. My fursuit portrait paint-off was an example of this. Was the food this good at Fluxus events? Was the beer as cheap, and were outsiders welcomed so warmly? Some of the crowd behind De Player, a club run by DSPS here in rotterdam, (and me too) are intersted in events that are both art events and other kinds of things at the same time, and make sense as both, ideally for people coming from several frames of reference at once too. HERE is a video of some kind of performance at De Player- this isn't really an example of what i'm talking about i just thought it looked interesting- and there's a gallery in Hamburg that i met in Cologne called Helium Cowboy that seems to be up to something similar- their parties look really fun-- i can't tell if they are as warm as the stuff that DSPS is doing. Does anyone know what i'm talking about?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

6th Fursuit Portrait underway

I'm happy with the way this painting is going so far. Kwisa is coming back on thursday for me to work on this painting some more.

Monday, November 13, 2006

photos from the paint-off

I had a friend take some photos of the paint off with my camera- here are some highlights.

Photos from the exhibition at BRAVO

I've posted some installation shots of the exhibition at BRAVO, a project space that is part of foundation DSPS on flickr. Dig the wall paper!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Paintoff Screen Grab

Live from Rotterdam, streaming paint-off

Tonight you can watch the paint-off from anywhere in the world. Check out my description of the event here, and my artist statement follows:
Artist Statement Jay Van Buren 2006 My paintings revolve around irrepressible enthusiasms. In all cases the first subject matter of the painting is the, admittedly irrational, and irrepressible, love of painting itself that I've never been able to talk myself out of. The secondary subject matter, which serves mostly just as as good an excuse as any to paint, relates to the irrepressible enthusiasms of other people: the things that people love, even though other people think they are dorky, or weird, or hopelessly romantic and outdated.

The Fursuit Portrait Project is a series of life-sized paintings of people from the "Furry Fandom", a rapidly growing, highly-creative, and world-wide subculture that celebrates anthropomorphism (the combining of human and animal characteristics so common in popular cultre, eg. Mickey Mouse, who, although a mouse, walks upright, talks, and wares gloves and shoes). The people/animals depicted are some of the most dedicated memebers of the Fandom, the "fursuiters", people who have either made for themselves or have commissioned from professional suit-makers a full-body animal costume that they ware at Furry events and other special occasions, or just for fun at random on the street. I always paint from life, usually taking three two-to-three-hour sessions on different days to do one painting. This time spent together is filled with conversation and i'm proud to count each of the (6 so far) people that i've painted as my friends. I try in each painting to represent both the spirit of the human inside the suit and the personality ("Fursonna") of the suit itself.

The Stuffed Animal (Knuffel Besten) series are portrait / still-life paintings of animals of personal significance to me, and other people that i've met.

Soul-mate Detector 1, is a group of 16 small gestural abstract paintings that will be of interest to any fans of gestural abstraction but which also contain secret information that, while being recognizable to some extent to non-nerds, will be fully decoded only by the most geekalicious of observers.

Fursuit Portrait Paint-Off: This event is first and foremost meant to be fun. It's also a good excuse to do something that I've been wanting to do which is to bring the furry subculture together with the underground art subculture. Both are filled with dedicated, creative people doing something they love mostly for the appreciation of other people within the subculture, and without much notice from outsiders. I like the idea of collapsing these groups into one event where we can all get to know each other and have a good time. I had the idea for this because the first fursuiter i painted, Rapid T. Rabbit, of Queens New York, video taped me painting him. Having the camera trained on me, made me aware of the performative aspect of what i was doing. There is something of a time-traveling performance to putting on my painting apron, mixing my paint and engaging enthusiastically with this obsolete technology. The magic that still fascinates me utterly, in painting, is something that for most people is a hokey religion or an ancient weapon, just a lot of simple tricks and nonsense...