I have been so busy with the organization of this trip and residency, and the traveling, and now the actual project work that I have not had a chance to get to my blog…So my apologies to everyone out there in blog land….I will be returning in the morning with a more in depth post about the travels, visions, and work going on with “Bright on Time” at Spes-Lab!!! Good to be back in touch with you…
Man, life comes at you fast. I feel like yesterday I had just gotten back from Japan and I was trying to get back in the swing. In what feels like no time I have grown a lot as a person and an artist, I have walked through a lot of things with my head still attached and my feet still on the ground (loosely lol), and am still completely charged and stoked about the future and my present being on this planet with all of ya’ll. I am getting really amped up about the SFMOMA project coming up, largely because I received a studio visit and real deal critique from Renee DeCosio (program director for the SFMOMA Artist Gallery) who came through with the awesome Alfonso Cosio recently. Man it was the best, most honest, intriguing, to the point, helpful, and explorative, no kid gloves critique I have had in a longgg time (since Pratt actually). It gave me some new juice to make an incredibly in depth new series for the first installment of the SFMOMA windows in June (also part of the Yerba Buena Alliance art walk) where I am really exploring some foundations, the origin and the architecture of the Astroknots, and by doing so really revisiting and dealing with a lot of things that were going on when I first moved to California in 2006. I have really dove deeply back into process and am exploring some of my core basics and letting things happen without a presumed outcome again. I am quite honestly the happiest I have been making art in a long time in creating these new pieces and the series that I see coming from it.
With amazing art work generally comes a lot more under the surface. Of course this comes at a time when things in my personal life are pretty intense, yet I do feel my feet are still planted firmly on the earth. It is amazing to feel such a sense of presence and compassion for things happening that I am involved with that the old me would have reacted to out of serious personal fears and insecurities, but rather now see how I can help and how I can maintain my balance in the face of some heavy stuff. To everyone in my life right now I say with huge words, I love you all and you are all very dear to me, thank you all for being you and exploring life here with me and not being afraid to get real with those you care about. And to finish this one off, I am going to Japan for my residency in less than two months. I will be doing a six day meditation pilgrimage before I get to work in Tokyo for three weeks! It’s going to be, as Kenichi Minami from Ken South Rock says, a Huge Volcano!
I stand before you today to tell all of you how excited it makes me to say this. If you have been following my sparse internet presence as of late, you have heard hints here and there of the news that I am going to be featured in the SFMOMA in downtown San Francisco. The SFMOMA Artist Gallery (their more contemporary and larger artist representation wing located at Ft. Mason) is in charge of curating the windows that face Minna St. and Natoma St. on the sides of the Museum itself in Downtown San Francisco. After making a personal goal years ago to myself of getting my work featured in these windows someday, it is happening. I have them for a year, and the first installment in a four part saga that runs from June 2013-June 2014 begins this June 8th. Beyond my wildest dreams this has become a reality.
This above shot is from my Birthday Performance Art Show at LeQuivive Gallery in Oakland January 16, 2013.
I will be running my programming in the three window bay units on Minna St. and using the Natoma side here and there as a background for performance work and possibly for intimate special engagements and explorations in new installation environments from the world of Unstoppable Tomorrow. The three pieces for the first installment of the Minna St. windows are complete. I may add some smaller relics and mixed media pieces to the windows as the date moves closer, but for now, these are the pieces. Two are brand new, and both as of yet un-named fully, and the third is in fact from July 2011. It is called Event Elation and has only been shown once here in the Bay Area (it was out of my grasp for a year due to unforeseen issues with a curator but is now happily back in my hands). So without further adieux here are images of these 8’x4′ Mixed Media on Wood Panel Pieces!!!!
Some may call “the promises” simply a better life in whatever way and shape it comes to you. A better life that one can be thankful for, can appreciate every atom of, and one that is fulfilling and enthralling because the one experiencing it is willing to put forth the work it takes to change things, be willing to accept the world as it comes, and do what it takes to better themselves and seek a future of productivity and appreciation for all things. At the age of 32 I am beginning to understand, or comprehend some semblance of this search, this journey for these promises.
2012 was the best year I have ever had, I mean that. I, for the first time in my life, felt what it meant to see years of hard work reach people, communicate on many platforms with people all over the world, create a better living situation for myself, and in turn afford me opportunities to continue to grow and learn and love the world I am a part of. Throughout 2012 I felt like a Phoenix finally exploding out of the grime and filth and sludge, the chaos and friction and anxiety and self hate, the self imposed fears and restrictions and bars that I had to evolve out of in order to get the perspective on my place in the world I have now. Suddenly things made sense, and the knowledge that so many things will never make sense became something I could swallow. I didn’t have to wake up paralyzed by anxiety and fear of life everyday. The ability to be okay with the world no matter how one thinks it “should” be reconciled, to have ideas and opinions but be able to love life regardless of “if” those ideas and opinions matter or not and simply let life be what it is no matter the outcome is perhaps the biggest “promise” of all.
It is the difference between breathing or suffocating, loving or hating, being enveloped by fear of the unknown or embracing the unknown because it is what we are born from. And it took over a quarter of a century to have this way of seeing beaten, massaged, sliced, explained, recommended and finally born into my psyche. On the Wu-Tang albums I grew up listening to they call this “knowledge of self God”. Thank you RZA and the rest for setting a young framework for generations to be influenced by.
So this all brings me here. It isn’t even about me, but for intensive purposes I am the one writing this as I turn to a year further in the development of my spirit in the universe, as my body gets one year closer to its end. I really feel that the end of the physical will only be the beginning of a higher stage, but I will do the very best I can with this life as it is all I know and as I work toward a relationship with all things. I feel my physical being, every inch ounce hair fiber cell tingle. Getting older has been amazing thus far.
I have work up at the Shooting Gallery in SF right now as part of their Winter Group Show and I am honored to be a part of their movement in the art world as it helps to define, reinterpret, investigate, and communicate with the world we are a part of. I have work up at LOAKL Gallery in Oakland as well, and I am proud to be a part of the early stages of Ken Harman’s new addition to the Bay Area art world as well as he will continue to thrive and spread amazing things to so many people. I will be in a group show at Ocean Avenue Tattoo in SF with my good friend SALEM on January 26th. In March I will be a part of a group show curated by Michael Cuffe who runs Warholian. Then it is off to Japan for a Month long residency at Spes-Lab in Tokyo.
And then in June the first installment of a year long program I have at the SFMOMA opens with three more series of work in the SFMOMA space going up each three months until June 2014. I will finally be having a huge solo show in the Fall of 2013 that will be my last big exhibition of the year and coincide with the second (fall) program I am installing at the SFMOMA. All of this is really happening now, and if not for every bit of life I have survived on this planet leading up to now, none of it would be happening. I am more grateful now for the life my parents created that I have become than I ever knew was possible. Many more updates to come very soon! -John Felix Arnold III, 01/15/2013 IPD FOR LIFE!
So first and foremost I would like to thank Kate Conger at SF Weekly for doing an awesome article and interview on yours truly and the world of “Unstoppable Tomorrow”. It feels really good to open up about some of the finer and darker points of my life that has sculpted my art making to what it is today! She is a great writer, really made me dig deep and I do thank her for the opportunity to do this piece. It feels good to spill your guts sometimes in print. Here is a link, click on the image below…
Lastly, I have amazing news. I will be doing a residency at Spes-Lab in Tokyo in April of 2013, and then when I come back it is time to do my first installation of a year long program of the SFMOMA windows in downtown San Francisco. More on this to come!!! Things are looking good!
Christopher Burch and I descended on the new Book & Job Gallery on Wednesday, November 7th to begin our install of our Fall 2012 two man show “Found in Darkness”. Exploring our own personal mythologies that comprise the focus of our work we embarked on this show in August of this year. Examining respective narrative architectures and linear framework, we began creating installations that reflect real environments within our imaginary worlds, both dealing with different reflections of contemporary issues of social problems, race, the environment, and a proposed future of humanity in our own tales.
We were able to create a conversation through our mixed media forays that not only blended and melded together well in the space but also pushed one another’s practice to a new level of intricacy. Chris dealing with his modern day reinterpretation of the Br’er Rabbit Folk Mythos and myself dealing with all the legends and myths of the world of “Unstoppable Tomorrow” that I have created, we embraced the Book & Job Gallery with energy, drive, thought, and a sense of community and challenge. Our drawings and paintings spoke well with one another as our installation works tied the environment together into a dialogue of two strong minded individuals exploring their own tangible realities in this world together through imagination and practice.
Guy Culver also helped organize a wonderful show of musical talent. Chris Danko of Religious Girls performed an awesome piano solo. Then Guy Culver and his drummer Ringo performed their punk influenced, electronic, synth heavy, hard hitting electro fuck fest of beats, noise, and beautiful screamo moments of chaos as Laughters.
Carson Lancaster, the man behind Book & Job Gallery, did a great job of orchestrating the evening and the install and was a pleasure to work with as well!!! I recommend working with him to any other artist that may be interested in contacting Book & Job. All in all it has been a great experience. Thanks again to Chris for inviting me to be a part of Book & Job and creating yet another killer show with me. -Felix
So here it is. My last show of the year. And what a year it has been. In brief, Christopher Burch and myself will be exploring our own narrative mythologies that run through out our respective bodies of work, coming together at the Book & Job Gallery in San Francisco to allow them to create a conversation within the space. Paintings, drawings, sculpture, mixed media, and collaborative installation work will bring the viewer on a journey through the space that illustrates how past and present allow us to construct our own mythological tales that will continue to evolve well into the future. I am very excited to work with Chris again, especially after he just did a major project in St Louis and is in zone, exploring his vision. Myself coming back from a bit of downtime after “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” and then Japan, am really looking forward to finishing off the year on a strong, a bit smaller, and more refined tip. This is great way for me to put a solid and concise close on 2012, which has been a monumental year, and give a little bit of forecast for things to come! The show opens Friday, November 9th from 7-11pm at the Book & Job Gallery which is located at 831 Geary St. in San Francisco. See you there. – John Felix Arnold III
So Saturday September 22nd, 2012 Terry Addison over at Old Crow opened the third installment of the “Stand Tall” series. This group show has quickly become a very important happening each year for the Bay Area, specifically the East Bay Art Scene. Last year it spanned two spaces and featured a live PA by Japanther. This year it was much cleaner, simpler, with great attention to how the artists interacted, the overall layout and movement through the space, and wreaked of amazing, truly realized, well executed, beautiful visions from all 38 participants. Barret Moore was there to document much of it, the Daily Californian ran a great little piece on it, and the turn out once again was phenomenal. Japanther, even in their absence, was able to include a video of their shadow puppet play on the front of Old Crow during the opening. David Polka, Ken Davis, Renos, Lauren Napalatino, Dana James, Christopher Burch, Kool Kid Kreyola, Spencer Keaton Cunningham, Dr. Sex, Apex, Chor Boogie, Tweens, and many many more made this an amazing happening!-John Felix Arnold III
Another truly epic show is about to commence at the legendary Old Crow Tattoo & Gallery in Oakland, CA. The Lineup is insane. This is the third installment of the now renowned Stand Tall series from Old Crow curator Terry Addison. Myself, Poesia, Renos, D Young V, Christopher Burch, Bunnie Reis, Chor Boogie, Apex, and many many more. Stand Tall has become an important showcase of established and emerging talent in the Bay Area, and this time Japanther will also be coming back to do a Shadow Puppet Performance!!! Be There, it is going to get crazy. Here is the flyer and a detail of the piece I have in the show. -JFA III