Jonathan Talit2018-05-16T13:27:17+00:00
2018-09-05T23:02:08+00:00

Last Piece!

Last Piece!

New piece is close to done! I’m really happy with how it turned out. It took SO much work to get that little tail made and to make sure that the sculpture stands without being wobbly. Plus, I’m really happy with how the pimples/barnacles turned out. I think I’ll leave it white, though. In some way, that’s stranger than making it my flesh color.

2018-09-05T22:51:19+00:00

Really…really not sure

Really…really not sure

 

I painted some of the “risky” colors onto the new worm piece, and I remember why risks are uncomfortable haha. I’m just not sure at all if this is working well. Is the “symbol” too much? Not natural enough? What about that weird, warm brown color? It’s not the same color wet as it is dry. Whatever. I’m just going to go for it. I still believe it could turn out well, but worst case scenario, I make a sculpture bad because of the color, and maybe I just gesso it again and leave it for another day. Ultimately not a big deal, but when I’m working in my studio and trying something risky, my perspective can get a little narrow and I want to panic and go back to what I’m used to. At the same time, I’m so tired of what I’m used to.

 

 

2018-09-05T18:49:42+00:00

Second Layers

Second Layers

 

Second few layers looking pretty good! Especially on the worm. I’m not sure about for the “coconuts” though. When I place them near the palm tree stumps, they contrast is way too high. The coconuts are much lighter and softer than the tree stumps. I’ll probably have to add a layer of brown to dampen their brightness. We’ll see.

2018-09-05T18:43:52+00:00

Last Minute Risks

Last Minute Risks

 

 

As I’m working on painting the preliminary layers on a few of these sculptures, I got a little insecure that I’m using the same color palate for too many sculptures. Maybe I should change it up here and there? Or should I just stick to the plan and not make a decision out of insecurity?

Then I got an idea out of nowhere. As I was painting this piece above, I turned it over to paint the other side, and saw a blank area that suggested a shape to me. Two diamonds side by side. It reminded me of some of the “symbols” on cocoons or mature insects and animals, usually as a warning (think of the shape on a black widow spider’s abdomen). It might be a little heavy-handed since my shape already looks cocoon-like, but I decided to risk it since I’ve never had symbols on my work like this before. Why not try it out? Worst case scenario, it looks bad and I paint over it at some point.

It’ll also give me an excuse to use different colors than I’m used to. I’m thinking a dark brown/red combo. I looked up a few images of chrysalises for some inspiration. I think I’ll use these images as guides for colors. I want the shape to be a brooding kinda red that looks like it’s pulsating or humming beneath the surface. Let’s find out if it’ll work!

       

2018-09-05T18:27:39+00:00

Dress Up

Dress Up

After a long day of painting and gessoing, which really aren’t that creative things to do, it’s nice to flex some mental muscles by playing with sculpture placement and object combinations. I almost never know what color I want a sculpture to be when I start making it, let alone what shape it will take or what object it will ultimately end up with (if any at all). Those questions are usually the last ones answered. Because of that, I usually take a while to really live with the individual sculptures and marinate on ideas with them. Part of today was one of those days. Just move things around, sit and look. Most of the time there’s no “Aha!” moment of what it should be, but usually there are some instant answers about what it shouldn’t be. This kinda puzzle work feels like the most important work involved in making sculptures: not the labor involved in getting the clay to stand or getting the paint to adhere properly or sanding off jagged corners (which are all necessary). Moving my body in space and switching up the jigsaw puzzle combo of works in process feels like where I really become an artist: where I have to decide between several options that usually aren’t better or worse than the other, just different answers that yield different results. So then, what results do I want from my work? Do they change over time? From one piece to another? Can I show several pieces with different “goals” in the same exhibit without it feeling disjointed? Decisions, decisions.

 

2018-09-05T18:15:21+00:00

First Layers

First Layers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So far so good on these first layers! I think I’ll stick to my usual light pink/beige color palate for the worm piece, but I’m not sure what the final color will be for the “coconuts”. I’ll start with a few light layers of pink and beige and probably go back and forth putting them near the palm tree stumps to see how the colors work. Time will tell.

 

2018-08-20T17:07:24+00:00

It’s Alive!

It’s Alive!

 

It’s finally up! The last of my series of “grubs” is actually standing and stable! I’m pleasantly surprised. Definitely the most difficult sculpture out of clay I’ve made thus far. The bottom half had to be very thick and heavy (there’s only about an inch and a half diameter of air inside it). The top half had to become increasingly thin (i.e. fragile) as the piece got taller. Still, it was difficult getting the piece to not topple over. I had to fire the bottom half and the top half in a kiln separately, then attach them together afterwards with Magic Sculpt, an epoxy hardener. It cures hard over a few hours and is very stable. Plus, it’s nontoxic, so it’s easily sanded, painted, etc.

Just a few scrapes and cuts that have to be touched up, and then it’ll be ready for painting and adding hair! The overall shape is a little clunky, but for my first run at a “reaching up” sculpture like this, I’m pretty happy. The next few will look more natural, more seamless, and have more twists and appendages probably. Can’t wait to show it off!

  

 

 

2018-08-12T23:14:14+00:00

STACKED STUDIO

STACKED STUDIO

 

My studio is at max capacity! Since I’m working on new work for this show, I thought it’d be helpful to bring in slightly older work to help with colors, shapes, etc. I’m still deciding if that was a good idea haha. I have only a little working room, but it’s good to get a “vision” of what I’ve done. Usually the only time when I see what I’ve done in a room together is installing a show, or sending pictures to apply for a show or grant (but that’s way different). Honestly, I have such a strong work ethic that I thought I’d be a little disappointed with my work once I brought it all together, but I’m not. I’m pretty proud, actually. Almost all of the work pictured was made in the last year, between moving to Saint Pete, working a full-time job, and side hustling for extra cash. I think this is pretty good considering that, and I’m ready to do more. Make more. Make them more complicated. Dig deeper.

    

 

 

2018-08-12T22:56:41+00:00

Second Meeting with Kirk

Second Meeting with Kirk

 

This past week I met with Kirk for the second time, only this time I went to his studio in Seminole Heights. We planned on gallery hopping after hanging out in his studio since it was First Friday in Tampa. Just like last time, hanging out with Kirk was filled with more warmth, ease, and fun than I expected. We talked for an hour or so about his work and past shows: what he had down in the Tampa Bay area and abroad, his time in NYC in the early 90’s with his artist friends, movies, and his students. His studio is huge! And gorgeous. Walking in I drooled at his high ceilings and, surprise, actually good ventilation and AC! He owns the whole building attached and rents out some spots to a dance studio, which I thought was really cool. It’s that kind of DIY, blue collar pragmatism and optimism that’s part of what attracted me to the art scene in the Tampa Bay area, and I wish even more people would implement that sensibility.

In fact, that’s a lot of what we talked about after we saw the shows at Quaid, Tempus, and Cunsthaus. As great as those shows and spaces were, and as proud as we are for them being in Tampa Bay, they shouldn’t be the only spaces like that. There should be 8 “Tempus Projects” and a dozen “Quaid” galleries. Garages, spare rooms in houses, carports, condominium shared spaces, patios – FL is plentiful with these kinds of spaces and they should be used for art shows, film screening, lectures, sit-ins, BBQs, anything that causes strangers to come to be together. Kirk totally agreed, and after some very cool flattery, he said that he would love for me to curate a few shows in his studio. Apparently he’s been wanting to turn his studio space into an alternative art space for a while. He doesn’t want to worry about commercialism like selling work or pleasing collectors. He wants to make shows that people will talk about, think about, make shows responding to (for or against). I’m still thinking about how flattered I am that, after knowing me for less than ten hours, this cool, successful, local artist wants me to basically turn his studio inside out. I happily accept the offer, though.

 

We also talked a lot about his longtime friend and colleague, Theo Wujcik. Theo died a few years ago, and above is a portrait Kirk made of him. Theo was a local artist in Tampa for decades. He was good friends with Rauschenberg and Ruscha and used to hang out with Kirk a lot. I’m a little embarrassed to admit I didn’t know anything about him before. Apparently Theo would call Kirk after 1am (when he knew Kirk was finishing up in his studio) and ask if he could come over and just hang out. Seeing Kirk speak so fondly but not hyperbolic about his friend, I remembered how important mentor-student and peer-peer relationships are in the arts. Maybe the most important thing. Sometimes that’s lost in the hustle and bustle of life, or careerist, myopic impulses. I’m proud to constantly remind myself of how important these relationships are, and grateful that I get to have one with an artist like Kirk.

Also, shout out to his painting of Obama that made it on the cover of Politico Magazine.

 

 

 

2018-07-29T01:06:58+00:00

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

 

 

Happy birthday to someone who has truly changed me for the better. I learn so much about love, anger, strength, intimacy, and change from her work, and so much more than I can’t even put into words (nor feel the obligation to do so). I hope I can carve out a space that’s as uniquely, genuinely mine as she has.

 

All images of Ursula von Rydinsgvard and her work are courtesy of Galerie Lelong and Artweek.

                       

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