Sunday, December 4, 2011
|graphite on paper (c) 2011 Howard Salmon|
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
|"Where's My Band?"; approx 30" x 30", Sharpie on synthetic paper. c) 2011 by Howard Salmon|
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
|Acrylic, ink, Sharpie, & graphite on synthetic paper. (Approx. 30" x 30") (c) 2011 by Howard Salmon|
In the background, some new "mask" icons: a "kilroy" character (who is supposed to look like someone clicking a computer mouse, or reading email on an iPhone). The other character is my "Alan Ginzberg 'Howl'" character. He's basically a shaggy looking dude howling ("ooo"), with an abstracted cityscape in the background. I've included a close up of my two new characters below:
|ClickRoy and The Howler: my new cartoons!|
Thursday, October 13, 2011
|30" x 34", acrylic & Sharpie on synthetic paper. (c)2011 by Howard Salmon|
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
|"Self Affliction"; 30" x 36"(approx.); ink, Sharpie, & acrylic on synthetic paper. (c) 2011 by Howard Salmon|
But as an artist, this has given me a slight challenge: if my artwork doesn't offend anybody, does that mean that I don't really count (as an artist)? How is art and culture going to advance, if some artist doesn't stick their neck out? (little voice in my head: "define 'advance'!") Basically, I feel that any artist worth his salt should do the best to express his vision without self-censorship. But, this carefree attitude may result in some offensive imagery.
Should I care?
Well, my intention isn't to offend...it's to be honest with myself. So here it is, Yom Kippur is just around the corner, and I'm wondering, should I be apologizing for any of my paintings? The answer is...no! To do so would to be to commit self-censorship; The ethical paradoxes of being an artist wrestling with Jewish tradition.
About the imagery in the painting: the text in the word balloon says "If my artwork has NOT offended you this past year, please forgive me!". There are ten rabbis (a minyan), each blowing a shofar. The shofar is blown as an alarm, as if to say, "WAKE UP! Snap out of your daydreams and illusions!"
Out of each shofar comes a whiffle-ball of spirituality, which is supposed to be a "sephirot" in the kabbalistic diagram that represents the "Mind of God" (if you're interested in this subject, check out the Zohar, which is a masterpiece of erotic Jewish surrealistic writing) The nodes all link up, forming a conceptual structure of invisible intuited Reality--the Reality being the Mind of God, which I've suggested with that lattice-like structure all around the painting (which reminds me of a sukkah). (As an aside, this is an interesting philosophical issue: since concept precede creation, it's plausible to suggest that the Universe had to exist in the "mind of God" as an IDEA before it actually became a reality. Heavy.....)
The bowl of fire is an allusion to the "unholy fire" that the son's of Aaron brought into the Temple. The figure in the center represents the artist (me, and in a suit, no less!), wearing tefillin (which is Orthodox prayer paraphernalia), with a pallette and paintbrush in one hand. In the upper right of the picture are two of my "muse" characters, (and dressed respectfully in their Danskins). Those three floating heads hovering over my left shoulder are from my "Scholar, Prophet, Bum" painting. The entire background is painting with gold acrylic, to mimic the "illuminated paintings" of the Medieval era, where the backgrounds of religious paintings were inlaid with gold leaf.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
|"Bus Ridin' Folk", 30" x 34"; ink, graphite, acrylic, & crayon on synthetic paper. (c) 2011 by Howard Salmon|
This painting is about some of the people I see on the bus, as it drives through South Tucson. The title is written at the top of the picture in Olde English, to reference all of the tattoos I see on the bus. At the top, is a big angry-looking guy in a Carl's Junior outfit, who has a big tattoo on his neck, written in Olde English script. In the second row is a raggedy-looking man who's holding a Big Gulp cup. In the third row are two characters: on the left is a student listening to her iPod. On the right side of that same row, is a well-groomed ex-convict. On the bottom row is a morbidly obese woman sitting in a motorized wheel chair. On the lower right side of the picture is a gold-plated Sun Tran bus emerging from a tunnel, which has a decorative border around it that resembles a sun burst or a spiritual aura.
Monday, October 3, 2011
|"Happy", 30" x 32", ink & acrylic on synthetic paper. (c)2011 by Howard Salmon|
I'm still working with the repetition of very simple repeated cartoon-like shapes (based on the idea of "masks"); in this case, the palm trees, the butterflies, and the glasses of red drink at the base of each tree. Everything else (the clouds, the trees...) are also all made from very simple repeated shapes and movements of the hand. The layers of color are what I really spent most of my time on here. Multiple layers of different colored washes created this feeling of atmosphere, which I really like. The letters at the top ("Happy") are painted in shimmering gold acrylic.
Monday, September 26, 2011
|"Canine Soul Mate", 30" x 39", ink, acrylic, & graphite on synthetic paper. (c)2011 by Howard Salmon|
I'd initially chosen a rainbow as a device to organize this picture, so I could have a rainbow land in a bowl of dog food. (The working title initally was "At the end of hte Rainbow...is your dog"). The dog's body position mimics the rainbow arc of the dog shape. I painted the dog in Antique Gold paint, as did I the dog bones in each of the four corners, just to emphasize how precious dogs are to people: might as well get 'em gold plated!
At the bottom of the picture is Charles Darwin, talking to one of his finches, and contemplating inter-species friendships between humans and animals. The top half of the picture shows double portrait of a dog and his owner (the bald bearded man), arranged in a heart formation. At the center is a fat laughing Buddha character, to reinforce the happy spiritual quality I was going for. Two of my Muses are hanging out in the right side of the picture.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
|"Virtual City, Bright Lights", acrylic, ink, & chalk on synthetic paper, 30" x 42" , (c) 2011 Howard Salmon|
I'm starting to combine some of the imagery I've included in other paintings into my more recent paintings. I like to see how these various characters will interact with each other. On the left is my bearded balding man cluster character (Scholar? Prophet? Bum?) On the right is one of my "muse" characters.
Hey babe, take a walk on the virtual wild side! And the avatars go "doo da doo da doo..."
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
|30" x 46"; india ink, Sharpie, graphite, acrylic, crayon, on synthetic paper; (c) 2011 by Howard Salmon|
The image shows a face (repeated six times, on the left side of the picture) represented by these three items: a coffee cup, a can of beer, and a bottle of hot sauce. I've worked a caduceus symbol (which I associate with the medical profession) into the image of the face: but the two wings wrapped around the staff ended up looking like tufts of hair on a bald guy's head, and the two serpents facing each other look like attenae. Bozo the clown from Mars? Nope...that's the face of Mr. Salmon's natural healing remedies.
On the right side of the picture you'll see a doctor's clipboard with a prescription: coffee, beer, hot sauce, and art. In the bottom right corner, you'll see my recently created "Muse" "mask, who I've been flirting with lately...
Sunday, September 18, 2011
|ink & acrylic on acrylic sheet, 30" x 41", (c) 2011 by Howard Salmon|
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
|30" x 38", ink & acrylic on acrylic paper (c) 2011 by Howard Salmon|
Friday, September 9, 2011
|"Study Group" 30" x 49", ink & graphite on acrylic sheet|
Friday, September 2, 2011
|"Traditional Mask" (acrylic & ink on acrylic sheet) 36" x 48 (c) 2011 by Howard Salmon|
After watching a video on African masks, and looking though various books on art, I can see that most of the great art work around the world, the stuff your see in art and art history books, has been done by ANONYMOUS artists working within a tradition of passing on art and images to society and to successive generations. The tradition is to make exact copies of cultural images and icons; the individual subordinates his own ego and identity to the group or the tribe. Each artist distinguishes himself with the skill that he brings to the project. This is what I've done here: I created an image, and repeated it over and over again, redrawing it in the exact same way. The repetition is what creates the tradition.
Of course, you can see that there is a lot of variation within these "masks": that's where stylistic evolution happens. The top center was the first "mask" I'd created; the bottom right image is the last one I created in this painting. As you can see, there's a lot of morphing and change that happens even when working within the strictures of a predefined precise image.
Unfortunately, I can't be a purist here, because I can't resist the urge to sign my work! But I'll be working with this "mask" idea for a while...
Sunday, August 21, 2011
|"Thugs on the Bus", gold acrylic on raw unstretched canvas, 36" x 46"|
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Here's the work I submitted for the Arizona Biennial 2011, taking place at the Tucson Museum of Art. My work didn't make the cut this year, so I'll share it with you before the actual Biennial. Brief commentary appears under each painting (all images and concepts (c) Howard Salmon)
"Hello, World" is a painting that is about Facebook. The characters in this painting are based on some photos of a party that I found on Facebook. The image shows a couple showing the world that they're having a lot of fun, but as you can see from the dark background, they're actually quite alone. Something fascinates me about Facebook: people broadcasting their lives (Hey, I'm no different; blogging does the same thing) I added the big orange hand in the foreground holding the camera; the "flash" is what illuminates the painting. The title refers the the first exercise you learn when you're studying computer programming: how to create the phrase "Hello, World".
"Meta-Comix" is a combination of three separate works: a psychedelic self portrait drawn with assorted felt markers on paper; a comic book drawing on cardboard made of ink, graphite, felt marker, and crayon; and in the background, an acrylic painting of some imagined rocky landscape, as viewed from the interior of a red chunk cave. I also pasted on a word balloon that contain a design made of a word balloon motif. This picture is all four separate sources of comics (from my own portfolio) coming together to create a work about art and comix: Comics within comics within comics. Why am I doing this? I thought it looked cool! But you can have fun relating the parts of this painting to each other. It holds together, it's interesting, I like it.
"A Cowboy and His Horse Mosey through Modern Art History" is another older work that I went back into and changed completely. Originally, this picture was a magic marker drawing on canvas, and then colored in with acrylic paint. I original image was a cartoon cowboy standing next to his horse, drawn in a very loose and cartoony way. I then went back into it, combining and joining lines in the picture into bigger shapes, breaking the old image apart. I went back into painting, using the existing painting as a ground, with little regard the the imagery that was already there, but still allowing some of the old history of the work to peek through. It's flat, it's surreal, it's non-objective (in places), it's "pop" (in it's cartoony quality), and it's also cowboy art! I really think that this piece is great.
|"Hello, World" (2011), Acrylic on canvas|
|"Meta-Comix" (2011) Acrylic & collaged drawings on canvas|
|"A Cowboy and his horse mosey through Modern Art History" (2011) Acrylic & Permanent Marker on canvas|
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
No deep meaning here. This painting is about the simple things in life: hanging out with people and creatures whose company you enjoy. This painting is is made of acrylic paint (on canvas), and collaged cartoons and doodles. The first layer is the abstract rhythmic design layer. It's supposed to look like a comic strip, or old newspaper funnies in the background. In the foreground, I've cut out some black and white cartoons I'd created on a separate piece of paper, and collaged the on on top of this painting. I then went back into it and added some color (acrylic paint, felt marker, and crayon). I've made a series of this type of work, which I'll be posting soon...
Monday, January 31, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Here's a video from my new series of free online art lessons that explores doodles and comix! This installment briefly explores the "word balloon"...and has a little fun with it. (This vids are also posted on my site called doodlecomix.com)