Carren Jao

Interviews

How Do Working Artists Live?

by Carren Jao on November 18, 2013

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Anyone who’s chosen to live a creative lifestyle — not just artists — knows what it means to worry. Rather than gun for the safety of a monthly paycheck, most of us (this writer included) have to find a way to put food on the table, without sacrificing our proverbial souls.

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Post image for The Gentle Tension of Abstraction

LOS ANGELES — Time slows within the work of Spanish painter Juan Usle. Though he fits stylistically within the realm of Abstract Expressionism, he shows us again that not all brush strokes need to jump off the canvas, as if caught in a nervous seizure, that there is something to be said for pace, time, and pausing to hear one’s own rhythm.

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Post image for Over 15,000 Attend Inaugural LA Art Book Fair

LOS ANGELES — Bookstore chains may slowly be dying out, but small publishing is alive and kicking … hard. At least, if the turnout at Printed Matter’s first LA Art Book Fair was any indication.

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Galleries

Being Odie in a Garfield World

by Carren Jao on November 15, 2012

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LOS ANGELES — Audaciously exuberant, Odie, the lovable dog from Jim Davis’s Garfield comics, was a yellow-furred dream come true for any child of the 1980s. It was also, interestingly, artist Jim Drain’s emotional North Star when it came to his latest solo exhibition, Drain Expressions, at Los Angeles’s Prism Gallery.

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Post image for Filmmaker Miranda July Finds Value (and Prices) in Everyday Objects

LOS ANGELES — It has always been a mystery to me how a signature Louis Vuitton bag can go for thousands of dollars while an impeccable knockoff (essentially the exact same bag) can go for mere hundreds. In the same way, a piece of art that can hardly be sold at the time of its creation can skyrocket at an auction decades later. Value, whether monetary or abstract, is a difficult quality to pin down, in regards to people, certainly, but surprisingly, for objects as well.

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Post image for Steeped in Tradition but Straining Toward the Future

MANILA, Philippines — There is a sweet dish in the Philippines called halo-halo, a rainbow of beans, fruits, and jellies mixed with ice and topped with ice cream. Literally translated, it means “mix-mix,” as if repetition were needed to reassert its delectable cacophony of flavors. Walking the halls of this year’s ManilART was a bit like working through a tall glass of halo-halo.

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Museums

Watching the Art Watchers

by Carren Jao on August 28, 2012

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There is something about art that begs us to get closer, which is why museum guards often stride up to visitors with a warning: “Please don’t touch the artwork.” To many, guards can be a nuisance, but to San Francisco–based photographer Andy Freeberg, they are an inspiration.

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Post image for Skin Deep: Angelica Dass’s Human Pantone Photographs

Humanity’s almost laughable fascination with lighter or darker skins is scrutinized under the camera’s lens by Brazilian photographer Angelica Dass, who has taken over 150 photographs of men and women and matched them — using a 11×11 pixel swatch from their faces — with their corresponding Pantone color. The results are posted it on the Humanae tumblelog for all to see.

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Museums

The Cups of War

by Carren Jao on June 18, 2012

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LOS ANGELES — Ceramist and former US Marine Ehren Tool is exhibiting 1,000 cups decorated with decals of soldiers’ photos and sculptural reliefs shaped like medals and bombs.

In his first solo exhibition, Ehren Tool: Production or Destruction, ceramist and former Marine Ehren Tool is exhibiting a thousand uniquely crafted cups decorated with ceramic decals of soldiers’ photos, propaganda and sculptural reliefs shaped like medals and bombs.

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Post image for Gay Life Portrayed in Traditional Chinese Paper-cuts

LOS ANGELES — Being different is never easy, more so when you live in an infamously restrictive and conservative Communist Chinese society. Born in a farming village of the Shaanxi province, Xiyadie (a nom de plume meaning “Butterfuly in Siberia”) turns traditional paper-cut art into colorful, risqué pieces dealing with gay love and life.

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