Abscissa of Geometric Precision

 

 

Who are you and what do you do?

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I am an acrylic painter working in 3 styles: Architectural Abstraction, Political Pop and Metal Mayhem. In my current show “Abscissa of Geometric Precision”, I am focusing on the Architectural Abstraction style centered around parallel lines and 30/60/90 degree angles.

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What is this bizarre title about.. “Abscissa of Geometric Precision”?

I thought the concept of an Abscissa in advanced geometry was a great definition of what I was trying to achieve artistically in a brief word. Abscissa is simply the perpendicular (90 degree angle) distance from a point from the vertical axis. It was first used in 1220 by Fibonacci.

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Didn’t Fibonacci have a ratio of some sort used in art?

Yes, this is a sequence of numbers that add the last two numbers to get the next one. Basically, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc. Artists used this in squares, which leads to the Fibonnaci spiral.   These numbers were the basis to the Renaissance.

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Do you use the Fibonacci numbers in your works?

No. I did though have a long career in Finance crunching large quantity of numbers and its effect on the mind. After awhile, many people in the field see “lucky” numbers with the random occurance of some sets of numbers.  Some nations have particular lucky numbers: in China its 4 and 8, in the West its 7, in India the number should end on a 1, say 11, 121, etc. One of my political pop paintings 303 Signatures uses the 0, 8 “lucky” numbers in China to show misfortune in the 2008 earthqaukes, where 5000 children died in shoddy constructed school buildings.

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Why do you have splashes and drips in your work?

I like to break the perfection of the piece and it’s a device I grabbed from the artist Kofie. For the drips, I feel like that is the sadness of life and tragedy we all live through.

Are there inspirational artists that impacted you for this style?

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Tom Thomas

My art professor, Tom Thomas, did his abstracts in class so I could learn a cutting edge version of art with tape in oil. Once I started my own style I immediately went to angles and contrasts in oil. Over time, I drifted away from oil as it is too slow in the drying process and you can achieve very similar effects in acrylic, but only wait 15 minutes for each layer to dry vs. 1 week with oil.

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Augustine Kofie

Another artist that changed my free flow tape abstracts was Kofie Augustine. In his works, he has 3D atmospheres in the work along with parallel lines with this spray of paint on corners. In my work, I changed to a fixed angle look, so all the lines are parallel are in a fixed relation. Initially, I used some of the rounded edges of Kofie, but really didn’t feel it was my style and went to pure hard-edge angles. Additionally, I used a much more exaggerated spray of paint to increase the drama in my pieces. Additionally, I love the use of some primary colors and boldness in my work.

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Prabin Badhia

I paint regularly with Prabin Badhia at 4th Street and picked up his focus on piece by piece works and use of painterly effects in the work vs. perfect smooth surfaces. I love the drama between paint strokes and harsh lines. I like the feel of how the image changes from 20-30 feet to 10 feet to right up close.

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Where do you see this style evolving to?

Hard to say at this point. I feel I have almost reached the conclusion of the current tenets I use in this style without expanding the rules, colors or some other element in this style.

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How do you define the space while painting?

If you look at my work, especially this style, you will see every inch used up to the far corners. My work seems to be a close up of the actual larger painting. I feel that having a lot of negative space is a waste. I understand the use of negative space to define the focal point, but my work has competing focal points. The paintings are at war with themselves. Additionally, I like to play with the layers between colors and how they redefine the space itself. Sometimes the relationships are obvious and then there are subtle continual line relationships that you may see only close up.

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What do you think of abstract vs. realism?

I like to play in both worlds. I think many artists are overly dependent on the iPad as a crutch. Some artists premix all the colors in oil, then grid out a landscape or whatever subject they are working on and literally fill in the colors. They get a great impact, but I really like to play with the colors as they layer over one another.

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As far as realism, there is definitely room to play in, but many artists get stuck in copying fruit, landscapes, portraits, pets, etc. I really wouldn’t consider this cutting edge, but definitely a great craft. The great realists already did most topics; the artist really needs to break new ground, realism or abstract. You can say the same thing on abstraction. You’ll see an artist copy another previous style and produce that. It again gets back to producing a kind of commercial copy art, but I would call it more decorative art. Of course, you have to make a living, so if you can make money in this game, then more power to you.

How do you relate to other geometric painters like Malevich or Piet Mondrian?

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Kazimir Malevich

Malevich did the famous square paintings set in the corners of room hung unorthodox during the early Soviet propaganda painting years before Stalin purged Suprematism to bland Socialist Realism, which Picasso painted as a stooge of the USSR and North Korea, some of the fiercest and cruelest dictators man has known. I liked Malevich’s first take, but he got stuck in the square format. He actually was banned to paint in the USSR later in his life. So it is unknown what could have been without stifling dictatorship dictating what is and is not art.

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Piet Mondrian

Mondrian was amazing in that he lived through the evolution of Impressionism and living in it and then breaking radically into squares, lines and primary colors we know now. He did get stuck in this last style and never veered from it. I believe an artist dies if he adheres too long to one style. This was one of the reasons Picasso art became so valuable later was his vast versatility to always deviate from previous styles to new ones. Of course, his later works became quite stale in my opinion of over repeating sameness.

Where can I buy the work?

You can check online the works in the show here.

Interview on “Da Worm and Nuke Kid on the Block” painting

Da Worm and Nuke Kid on the Block

Originally uploaded March 2014; hacked and taken offline; reposted

Why did you paint Dennis Rodman on the North Korean Flag?

Well, I saw this interview of Rodman going to North Korea and playing basketball for one of the most hated dictators in the whole world, it was a total bizarre story that I knew I had to paint as soon as I saw his interview. Below is the link to youtube original video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GixKLkai6uA

What do you think of his 2 trips to North Korea?

Personally, my take is that this was set up by President Obama.  If you look at the time of his Senate seat in Illinois, it coincided with the time when Rodman was a NBA star for the Chicago Bulls.  Considering, Springfield, the Senate capitol, is in corn fields, Obama likely fund raised with NBA stars like Rodman as he rode the ranks of power.  This has all the markings of a CIA mission gone astray.

That’s a bold statement; what proof do you have?

If you look back in time, in the 1960s when Nixon opened up China to trade, the US President started out by using pingpong diplomacy to kick off the idea of steering the Chinese away from the Soviet influence.  After the Secret Speech by Khrushchev in 1956, Mao turned away from the USSR as a friend for fear of the population uprising in China against Mao himself.  Below are some photos to put it into perspective.

pingpong4Ping Pong Diplomacy

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pingpong330 years later

forrest gumpForest Gump

What are the various figures in the painting?

I have Dennis Rodman from his interview in a Money suit surrounded with the starving children of North Korea under a broken basketball hoop.  It is an allusion to the fact this country by using strict Communist methods of control of farming led to the disaster of the great famine of 1994-98, where up to one in seven citizens died from bad farming methods of the Kim regime.  This is not the first famine either.  The country sufferred bouts in 1952, 1955.  Only foodbail outs from the West kept the country going.  Ironically, if no country had gave them food, the regime might have fallen in the 1950s.  A similar food bailout in 1920s for the USSR prolonged that regime’s power as well.  So the empathy of “saving” starving families by Western governments actually resulted in prolonged suffering of these countries populations.

Why do you think this blog post was hacked and by whom?

Who knows? It makes the North Korean government and Obama administration look bad, so either could be a candidate.  Most likely though, it was the North Koreans, who are known to have a vicious propaganda machine internally and firewall to prevent the “evils” of the West seeping into their pure society of self-independence and cult worship of the leaders as near gods.

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Are there other parities of North Korea you like?

One of my favorite films is by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone called “Team America”, which parodies the entire Hollywood idea of kissing up to dictators, who profess to be on their liberal cause side, while actually killing their own population.  It is great to see someone in Hollywood go against the grain, since many who do never work again in Hollywood due to their radicalism of one-sided political views.

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Clip from the movie:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjEiBNN33Rw

 

Are any works available? 

Check my shop at www.shawnshawn.co

 

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

Yes. I send about every 4-6 weeks at http://shawnshawn.co/Site/Contact

Interview of LA Art Crasher Artist – ShawNshawN

Credit: http://www.shawnshawn.co/

Credit: ShawNshawN.co

The artistic journey of artist ShawNShawN is one that has been molded by travel, culture and class systems. “My journey started with traveling at a young age. We moved from city to city, state to state and finally country to country. Traveling all over Europe and the US leaves a mark of a self-made gypsy, always moving and reacting to the local scenes I find myself in, recreating my self to various classes, cultures and states. In high school I lived in some dangerous neighborhoods that led to a cynicism of police and justice as I witnessed rich neighborhoods constantly cared for while in poorer neighborhoods the citizens were the enemy similar to what is happening right now in Fergusen, Missouri.”

Credit: http://www.shawnshawn.co/

Credit: ShawNshawN.co

ShawN’s adventures read like a history book. From the 92′ riots in LA to the fall of the Berlin Wall, he has witnessed history unfold before his very eyes. “While living in Poland I was exposed to the fall of the Berlin Wall, leaving its mark on the evil of dictatorship over the citizenry, police states and the fallacy of big government gone astray on a large scale: food shortages, currency boom and busts, scams, constant burglaries and state corruption. Later, I lived in Spain, which had survived 50 years of Fascism thanks to the Allies deciding not to overthrow Franco after beating Mussolini and Hitler. Spaniards were in the moment celebrating the first decade of freedom after lifetime of dictatorship. I witnessed students block 5 lanes of traffic to petition the government to change school policy and other riots. I actively participated in the National Strike, where everyone literally closed shop and demonstrated before police in full riot gear.”

Credit: http://www.shawnshawn.co/

Credit:  ShawNshawN.co

ShawnShawn watched as Europe rose like phoenix from the ashes, both socially and financially. “Later I lived in Germany in the late 1990s. Here I was witnessing the prolonged techno parties and raves, which got their start after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In Belgium, I studied my MBA in Marketing right as the Euro was being born. Here I learned to study many hours more than in my BA. It truly was grueling work with small pleasures.”

In 2000, ShawN returned to the US and settled in California. “I decided to move to California to ride the Dot Com rush in 2000. Here I saw the collapse of dotcoms over night and the panic of workers as their wealth evaporated overnight. This truly was a place of dreams and broken dreams.”

Credit: http://www.shawnshawn.co/

Credit:  ShawNshawN.co

When ShawNShawN began painting again, he turned to eBay to generate interest and sales. “First I sold on eBay to get started, selling over 35 works online. It was a great experience to get started in the art world once again before moving on to gallery sales.” His work knows no boundaries. He is an experimental artist who has enjoyed working with various styles to grow as an artist. “I first started forming my abstract styles: Free Form and Architectural Abstraction. In free form abstraction, I experimented with metal tools to capture the essence of the paint and pain in the same moment. In Architectural Abstraction, I moved from pure angular work to a very settled systematic angular painting style. From one art show by Augustine Kofie, I was greatly influenced to change from free form angular to my new style Architectural Abstraction based on 30, 90 and 60 degree angles. Along the way, with my background in history and living history, I started my third style: Political Pop. This style takes on large political ideas: freedom, political repression and popular icons from Hollywood and the world in paint. One of my major influences here was Shephard Fairey as well as Mr. Brainwash after seeing “Exit through the Gift Shop”. I look forward to exploring this style as new ideas come to me regularly.”

Credit: http://www.shawnshawn.co/

Credit:  ShawNshawN.co

We were thrilled to not only have ShawNShawN’s work featured in our LA show, but also to have him at the show. He is an artist who puts no barriers between him and his audience. He signed and handed out some of his prints during the show and attendees loved it!

 

Original article: ArtCrasher.com

 

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

Yes. I send about every 4-6 weeks at http://shawnshawn.co/Site/Contact

Interview on Online Art

OA: What is your favourite film of all time?

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SS: One of my favorite films of all time is The Shining by Stanley Kubrick. The original novel was written by Stephen King. What stands out in my mind is the play of isolation, increasing madness and supernatural possession. The little boy, Danny, in the movie has an imaginary friend who acts out the fear of this massive hotel that is possessed and has many mysterious murders over its long history.

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The hotel was built on Indian burial grounds and has the motives throughout the hotel in the carpeting and decor. The scale of the hotel and living there alone is well captured by the scenes of Danny riding his Big Wheel through the corridors of the hotel and the scene of Jack, the husband, throwing a ball against the walls of a massive room as he stirs in boredom and writer’s block.

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Besides the slow build-up in terror, mystery and later horror, Kubrick was able to take a popular novel based on a possessed hotel to a blend of natural break-down of human nature in isolation with the illusion of a possessed hotel, which drives a fine line begging the question: was Jack delusional or possessed by the Shining? Of course, I have painted a work dedicated to The Shining, “Overlook Hotel, Maui”.

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OA: What music are you currently listening to and why?

SS: Right now I generally listen to electronic music streamed on http://www.di.fm. My brother introduced me to the station and I actively use it to paint my work with. I originally got into House dance music in Chicago and later Trance as a bartender in Germany. Another genre of music to paint by is very aggressive rock or death metal even to stir the rawest emotions into the passion of the painting.

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Just the other day I was painting to Tool, which I hadn’t really heard before while painting. In my youth and even now, one of my favorite bands is Nine Inch Nails. I grew up with my mother always crying over lost jobs with her flawed personality driving her failure, so this type of depressing, suicidal music really pierces my soul and allows me to purge those memories. The weird thing is after listening to NIN, I feel happy inside from releasing the inner demons to rage awhile. I think I’ll play some today while I paint.

OA: Which living artists do you most admire and why?

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SS: I would say Shephard Fairey. He took his art to the streets to get the visual feedback of what worked and didn’t in his work. At the same time, he strove to address the littered landscape of advertising: bill boards, subway ads and bus stop ads to subvert them to his OBEY campaign, which exposes the hypocrisy of police chasing down graffiti artists while protecting advertisers to shout their message to the masses endless with corporate money. Another interesting angle was how he repackaged various politicians into new ways to expose or even make fun of the propaganda, which is basically repeated, unchallenged art with message. I do have mixed emotions of using dictators such as Saddam Hussein, Stalin or Lenin in posters with a neutral message. I lived in Communist Poland a year and saw how an autocratic regime tarnishes the masses, belittles opponents and smashes political opposition with jail, prison or even death. I don’t believe these types of leaders should be positioned neutrally. In my work, I actively pursue revolution against these types of regimes like in China and Russia currently.

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OA: Which deceased artist do you most admire and why?

SS: This is a tough choice. So much great art and artists. One that sticks in my mind was Picasso. He evolved over several painting styles: blue period, pink period, cubism and later social realism. This is the essence of an artist, to continually explore and push the limits of art. He even painted a massive painting dedicated to the fascist bombing of Guernica during Spain’s Civil War, which precluded the coming atrocities in WWII. He kept this painting out of Spain until Franco, the dictator, died, which was a very, very long time. In essence, he outlived Franco barely to keep this treasure out of Spain until democracy returned. Of course the reality is Franco would likely have destroyed the work, since he used Nazi airpower to win the Civil War. Like any artist, he was flawed in his relationships and I believe he went astray painting the socialist realism after cubism. This paralleled the art world in closed Communist countries, which I find disturbing with the tinge of the gulag attached to this propaganda style. Another reason to respect Picasso and why he was so famous, he lived in the great art capitals of his day: Paris and later New York City. One of the reasons artists become famous is simply by being where the action is. He showed complete devotion to his talent with all else secondary, he lived for the art world. People reward this.

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OA: Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?

SS: Easy. The Guernica. Picasso painted this right after the bombing of civilians in Guernica, the first civilian air raid, capturing the cruelty of modern air warfare in a massive scene all in black and white. It was kept out of Spain until the fall of Franco, which gets to the heart of being Spanish — respect and honor to the end. The painting was right in his maximum successful period of cubism, so is beautiful in this light as well and capturing the horror of war. I have seen it several times while studying art as a student living in Spain. This is the essence of painting, to capture the audience, expose injustice, have an amazing story and even outside story of keeping it out of the country until Franco’s death.

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You can literally feel the arch of the Civil War in this painting and the paintings life outside of Spain as an emigre as well. Art should change the world and in many cases does not, this work did.

OA: What is the question you get asked most frequently about your work and how do you answer it?

SS: Usually it is about the process as I work in three different styles: Free Form Abstract, Architectural Abstraction and Political Pop. One version of my abstract I use pure metal tools on wood panels similar to how Gehard Richter paints his massive abstracts.

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I have a passion of finding where the paint will take me and combine. The second style is Architectural Abstraction. This style developed from my more angular style I first used into a highly structured 30 degree, 60 degree and 90 degree style with various planes of color fighting for dominion in the work.

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My third style is Political Pop, currently my favorite to explain, since each work has a distinct message and story. These works deal with political injustice, crimes against humanity and an artist’s struggle to change the world through art.

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One of my largest works “303 Signatures” deals with the rise of Charter 08 in China and the imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo for merely crafting this declaration of rights. It has all the 17 points of the petition to the government covering political freedom, freedom of expression, religion, etc. all in 76 hanzi, which alludes to 1776, the year of US declaration of independence. Along the frame I have most of the 303 signatures, about 900 hanzi characters. Keep in mind I speak no Mandarin, so this was really challenging work. Now over 13,000 people have signed it and the writer won the Nobel Peace Prize and was rewarded with 11 years in prison. I plan to keep this work out of China until the fall of Communism there.

OA: What / who inspired you to be an artist?

SS: There are many people. My mother took me to several art classes in my youth and was an excellent musician in her own right. In college, I was inspired to be taught under the late Tom Thomas. He would paint his own contemporary art right in class, so we could immediately leap frog to the latest style, which I later did. He organized great art competitions for the students with outside competition, so we learned the world of art very intimately. Additionally, his model would paint in class as well, so we saw her erotic paintings, which was one of the best learning experiences.

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Another inspiration would be Van Gough, since he persevered despite his mental lunacy that drove away his own customers, artist friends and gallerists. This is amazing to have lived so passionately in your art despite really gaining nothing materially. It is also very foolish not to learn how to communicate, but all artists have some flaws, some larger than others.

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OA: Can you tell us about where you make your art and what if any the significance of this location is?

SS: Currently, I paint at 4th Street Fine Art in Berkeley. It is an artist studio/gallery, which is kind of unique as most places are either studios or galleries. The advantage here is the ability to learn other artist styles as well as how to market better as a group. Working in a group is crucial for any artist to be able to stay on top of his field, constantly learning and debating the finer points of art making, selling and marketing. The physical space is pretty amazing with windows on 3 sides, so the natural light really pours in, which is very important to understand the richness of the colors and subtlety between shades. Close by is an Indian burial ground under a parking lot. The original building was occupied by Brennans, a tavern that was started back in 1958. They got moved down the block. So we likely have some ghosts like in the Shining.

OA: What do you like most about being an artist?

SS: One of the great pleasures of being an artist is exploring the world of art, painting and meeting people. In my current location, we regularly get to meet people browsing and explain how a work is developing. It is very exciting to get behind the scenes with clients on the process. Another great characteristic, is you are leaving a legacy. If you get to a certain level of fame in your lifetime, your work will literally live for centuries as your work is talked about and discussed. I believe this is very important to impact your world for as long as possible. What better way to live than enrich your descendants long after you have lived your own life?

OA: What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

SS: I believe being part of the Peace Project is my highest achievement for an artist show. This project was based on the wish raise awareness of the ravages of war on civilians and try to make a difference via art charity. One project helped distribute 10,000 crutches to victims of Sierra Leone’s war. As an art event, my work travelled to 8 major US cities: Oakland, Culver City, Chelsea, Dallas, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Santa Ana and Long Beach. Another great project I worked on was Adult Day Services twice for art donations. They serve the Oakland community of elders in their final years. Another great achievement was my invitation to go to the Art Dubai festival, which unfortunately I turned down due to the expense of flying. My first far show was in Miami, which was the most exciting to see my work up in a gallery so far away in Nina Torres Fine Art.

OA: What are your plans for the coming year?

SS: I likely will continue working with the Peace Project, Adult Day Services and other art charities to expand my reach to the community. So far as an artist, I have done a show in LA, which was my first physical onsite tour of my work. That was fairly exciting meeting new clientele in a completely different art market. It definitely opened my eyes up to the possibility. My goal this year is to be in several galleries outside of the San Francisco area. I also want to have some major art sales as well and gain income from it.

Original Article: onlineart.org.uk

 

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

Yes. I send about every 4-6 weeks at http://shawnshawn.co/Site/Contact

Interview of “Misty Masses and Merciless Mao” painting

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So why did you decide to paint a second time the June 4th “incident” as the Chinese government calls it?

tiananmen square crowd

I thought about what might have gone through the heads of the leaders rolling tanks over civilians as a way to restore order.  It was just insane that that happened while in Eastern Europe they threw off the shackles of Communist leadership.

Here you see that the square was full. This square is 109 acres and is the 4th largest city square in the world.  If this were farmland, it would take 109 ox to plow it all day long or 61 soccer fields.  In other words, the protest was a serious challenge to the leadership holding onto power.

What were the symbols of the citizen protest?

lady liberty lady liberty in tiananmen

Besides mourning a popular leader dying, which then led to protests about democracy, Lady Liberty was the symbol of the stomped out revolution.

Did any popular leaders side with the students?

ccp leader with crowd

Actually, a CCP leader tried to calm the situation down on the ground so there wouldn’t be a massacre.  He was later purged of the party in full dishonor for trying to avoid civilian bloodshed, but more for this one photograph.

Most of the leaders were teachers and other leaders close to the student body and aware of the popular protest such as Liu Xiaobo.  Liu spoke to the crowds and help disperse the public before the tanks rolled over the remaining students. He likely saved thousands from an all out massacre of large scale.  For this he was rewarded with prison time.  20 years later he was sent to prison again for writing a Bill of Rights for Chinese government reform called Charter 08.

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How does the CCP government like to portray the event?

Well the current wife of the Chinese appointed president Xi Jinping was in fact part of the “mop-up” tank brigade operation.  She sang to the “heros” of the square that ran over students fleeing for their lives.  This photo that was once published in a military magazine is now banned on Chinese internet.

xi wife at tiananment

Another thing they like to do is have multiple military parades now to show they still are in power.

tanks in tiananmen military in tiananmen military parades tiananmen

They need an all powerful image to sell to their citizens and outside world. No one believes it, but they think it sells.

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They want to forget this ever happened…

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What are the images in your painting?

I have military flags used in the Song dynasty era that spell out 1 9 8 9 with chinese poetry in the background. I thought it would call out the brutalness of the “popular” unelected regime and their mindset of power at all costs.

Are any works available? 

Check my shop at www.shawnshawn.co

 

Links:

Wikipedia

Wikipedia 1989

Google images

You Tube

History Channel

Time

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

Yes. I send about every 4-6 weeks at http://shawnshawn.co/Site/Contact

Interview on “Killer Cowboy Clouds”

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So why did you decide to paint the Marlboro man?

I had smoked 13 years previously and thought it would be an honor to Marlboro cowboy billboard ads that got me hooked. My father and brother both smoked.  My father got throat cancer from smoking 15 years.  I think my brother may die eventually of some cigarette related cancer.

Why did you choose Marlboro man vs. Joe Camel or other famous cigarette ads?

Well, Marlboro had essentially 1% of the market, selling only to women, moved to dominate the market place as number one after the cowboy billboard ads.  Later as the governments started to ban most forms of advertising, this just allowed Marlboro to be unchallenged for number one.  Camel Joe is an interesting image as well since most children can readily identify him instantly.  This suggests Camel may come to dominate in the near future the next generation of smokers.

Which brand dominated before Marlboro man came along?

I believe it was Lucky Strike.

What about the surge of vapor smoking?
I think the Marlboro, Lucky Strike and other traditional cigarette brands are in possible deep trouble since there is no limit on vaper smoking indoors and the advertising as well.  The worst advertising is one you cannot compete against say on TV and radio.  Additionally, this type of smoking is a bit healthier since they eliminate the tar and is mostly nicotine.

So what happened to the original Marlboro man?

Four of the real cowboys that starred as Marlboro man died of related smoking diseases.  This led to the name “Cowboy Killers”.

Why do you have other people in the background?

Besides tobacco companies, many other groups promoted smoking and profited it from it.  One of the obvious pairings was Hollywood from James Dean to Marilyn Monroe to Madonna to Jack Nicholson to Schwarzenegger to Sharon Stone. Other groups include musicians like Snoop Dogg and Bob Marley. Other artists behind the trend include

But beside blaming the music industry, Hollywood and pop artists, politicians are a major driver of encouraging smoking:
– Barack Obama
– Jack Kennedy
– Che Guevarra
– Fidel Castro
– Mao
– Lenin
– Stalin
– Winston Churchill
– Franklin Roosevelt
– Ayn Rand
Some of the worst part of the political connection was the politicians passing a draft and then encouraging soldiers to smoke with free tobacco and lighters.  The tobacco industry got tobacco included in soldier rations for WW2. Before the knowledge of the connection of smoking to disease and government regulation, cigarette makers like Lucky Strike used doctors and dentists to recommend smoking.
What happened to the original blog with images?
Well, do you think the tobacco industry sits on its hands? It had all my links dropped for copyright violation. So you see the power of these guys trying to expose its role models to pitch this drug.

Are any works available? 

Check my shop at www.shawnshawn.co

 

Links:

Wikipedia

Snopes TV

Phillip Morris

Camel

Lucky Strikes

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

Yes. I send about every 4-6 weeks at http://shawnshawn.co/Site/Contact

Interview of Kofie Augustine

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Where did you see Kofie’s work?

I first think I saw it at the LA Art show painting a massive canvas in his signature Vintage Futurism style.  We drove in one day from San Francisco to LA and back.  It was a really insane road trip for art junkies.

I just saw his work again in the White Walls Gallery and recognized his work again.  The amount of detail in his work is truly intense.  He uses the tiniest paint pens, ink pens to capture great architectural line and structure in his work.

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How long do you think it takes to do such a painting?

Well, first you need decades of work to get to this level.  You can see his work progress from his earlier free hand graffiti in the 90s under KOFIE to more fixed straight line and pure geometrical shapes in his recent work.

What does his graffiti work look like?

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Why is the work so linear?

Well, Kofie started out dreaming as an illustrator and he still free-hand draws frequently in his work.  Likely, he sketches some of the paintings first beforehand, but that is a guess.

Why did he call it Vintage Futurism?

As a kid, he loved to collect vintage found items from the street then later yard sales, junk yards and other yards to put into his works.  His earlier work has stencils from older adverts or futuristic signs incorporated into the work.  His more recent work in the show has been stripped of most of the textural and graphic elements.

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How has he influenced your work?

Well, I immediately went and bought even more drafting elements at the local art store.  I myself was always interested in architecture, so the connection to my work is very close.  Obviously, I have to put in more years to get to Kofie’s level.  After that I knocked out a painting yesterday, which I will photograph shortly. Below is an earlier work of mine in a similar angular geometric style.

This is the scene of the bombing of Libyan civilians by Gaddafi before he was captured and lynched by the rebels.

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Tribal Terror in Tripoli – ShawNshawN

Here are my works post-Kofie show:

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4 Band Resister 1, 4ImageImage

Miracle of Belo Monte 2, 3

What is Kofie’s website?

His website is prolific and well-laid out as well with great info on his development.  He is at www.KeepDrafting.com

 

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

Yes. I send about every 4-6 weeks at http://shawnshawn.co/Site/Contact

 

Interview on “This is not a pipe” painting

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So why did you choose to rip off Magritte?

Well, I wouldn’t call it a rip off, but really a dedication to the genius of Magritte in a modern take.  The original was done as a statement against realism in painting.

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How did Magritte respond to the public’s reaction to the painting in 1929?

“The famous pipe.  How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff the pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture “This is a pipe”, I’d have been lying”

Why does Ronald Reagan sign your painting?

Again, I took the joke one step further by having a dead US President signing the work as well, so in 100 years from now they will wonder if Reagan commented on Magritte or I came up with it myself.

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The curious fact is Reagan actually induced smoking of Chesterfields earlier as an actor.

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Later he came up with the “Just say no to drugs” campaign with Nancy helping to promote the campaign to eradicate the rising cocaine trade in the 1980s. Nancy Reagan travelled over 250,000 miles trying to campaign to stop the use of drugs during the Reagan administration.

How did the Reagans go about the war on drugs?

Below is the classic TV commercial on the the effects of drugs on your brain used by the US government.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub_a2t0ZfTs

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During the Iran-Contra scandal, Reagan with the CIA helped supply weapons to the Contra.  Some members of the Contra were actually selling cocaine after US aid was cut off.  Politicians speculated that the CIA had been involved in the drug trade.

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Why is your pipe metal vs. a wood pipe?

This gets to the actual subject of the painting.  In Magritte’s painting he is talking about a tobacco pipe.  In my painting I am referring to a crack cocaine pipe.  I choose metal over glass to enhance the gruesomeness of the habit.

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What are the other symbols in the background?

I have the three big cities where cocaine and later crack hit the streets: New York, Miami and Los Angeles.  I used the symbols of popular sports teams to symbolize those cities and the sports stars who were also using the drug.

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Besides the illegal drug ingredient, you need baking soda or alumunium bicarbonate or ammonium bicarbonate.  I symbolized the other ingredients from the two companies likely profiting during the 80s scurge.

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Additionally, the tools are a lighter and a spoon.  So I have the top lighter and silver spoon makers in the US.

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Of course, the most famous victim was Whitney Houston, who I used from her star on the walk of stars in Hollywood.

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Are any works available? 

Check my shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShawNshawNart

 

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

Yes. I send about every 4-6 weeks at http://shawnshawn.co/Site/Contact

Interview of “8:46 am in the morning” painting

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So where were you the day of 9/11 attacks?

I was driving to work and decided to see my wife, who worked at a local hotel in Berkeley.  Everyone was crowded around the TV, watching the towers burn. After 20 minutes, I drove on and heard the rest of the attacks unfold on the radio.  It was a challenge to drive, but all the drivers were muted zombies driving, no one drove aggressively as we grieved together.

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What is this painting title?

This is the time right when the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York.  I had been painting an abstract painting and then this image started to form and I realized when I finished that it was the attack on WTC with the characteristic metal support beams on the building and explosion of the plane as it disintegrates on impact into the building.

What were the first days like afterward?

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One of the proudest moments was seeing that Art.com decided to print 100s of posters to create a massive flag on all the windows of their building. Imagine 70% of the face of this building was a massive US flag.  Immediately afterwards there was a shortage of US flags as everyone wanted to commemorate the civilian deaths around the US.

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How did artists respond to the tragedy?

Many people at first were drawn to the US flag and then people got enraged at the senseless attack on civilians not involved in US foreign policy.  People were really shocked that Osama bin Laden actually took responsibility.  People were upset at the Bush administration later for letting the family members related to Osama escape quickly out of the US.  Of course, they likely would have been lynched in the aftermath.  Above we see a massive mural by Shepherd Fairey and Saber on the 9/11 attacks.  I personally painted a type of flag painting as well, but never showed it as it was very vengeful type of work.

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“Would you like to play a game of thermonuclear war?”

What is the story in this painting?

Well, I had painted the US flag in off colors and green, which were the colors in the Saudi Arabia flag. As we know now, 11 of the bombers were Saudi in the group called “Al-queda”.  The branch in Saudi Arabia is trying to overthrow the monarchy supposedly and establish an even tighter religious ruling in Saudi Arabia.  The lettering of the Saudi flag is repeated in the painting.

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What does this lettering say?

“There is no God, but God and Mohammed is the messenger of God.”

Basically, the flag is stating that only Islam is the correct version of religion and we will enforce it by military means of the sword.  How many Saudi citizens think it is their duty to start a jihad just based on their flag design?  You have similar issues in Pakistan, where the capital is called “Islamabad”, basically the town of Islam.  How many Pakistanis think it is their duty to spread Islam as the only correct version of religion and piety?

Is there other lettering in your flag painting?

In the top left, where the 50 stars would go are the coordinates of the Mecca and Medina.  Medina is the capital of Saudi Arabia and Mecca is the holy capital of Islam, where muslims go each year in their holy journey required once in their lifetime.

Why didn’t you decide to show this work?

I was unhappy with the work and spattered it in paint and later had no idea how to finish it.  Seeing other works like from Saber, I came to realize we as artists were showing the blood shed of the event on the US flag.  The attacks were an abomination to what the US citizen believes as moral justice in the world ie. you don’t attack citizens in war, especially when you just start a war.  Below is a series of Saber’s flag works.

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So what is the title of your work about?

Basically, the title is a reference to “War Games”, a classic movie of my childhood.  The main character is a computer high school student nerd, who hacks into school system to change his grades. He then fumbles upon a secret Department of Defense computer that he can play multiple games.  One of the games is “Thermonuclear War”.  He starts to play and the computer decides the game is real and begins planning a nuclear attack on the USSR.  The student mush convince the computer that the endgame is only destruction of the world with no true victory in any scenario.

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In my painting, the coordinates of Mecca and Medina are a new updated version, where the US decides to nuke Saudi Arabia for the 9/11 attacks, since so many of their citizens were behind the attacks.

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What do you think of the conspiracy theories that came out after the dust settled?

Well one theory was that the WTC 7 was not in the attack.  When I first heard this, I thought these guys are just not processing the attacks as possible and thought there must be some type of government conspiracy to attack Iraq and Afganistan.  But really, would the US government be able to pull off such a massive conspiracy theory?

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One of the newest wrinkles in this particular story has been uncovered by Edward Snowden.  He claimed that Saddam Hussein actually planned a simultaneous attack to blow up WTC7 on the same day as al-Queda attacked with 4 planes.  Who knows if this was possible, but based on some photos like the one above you definitely start to wonder.  The conspiracy here is the disbelief that the US would actually invade Iraq without reason seeing the US as impervious to invasion, so an actual attack would have been justified if Saddam had attacked.

The reality is that it is possible that the US government just decided to invade Iraq.  We did it in Vietnam and then passed the War Powers Act of 1973 to prevent US presidents from unilateraly declaring war without Congress permission after the disaster of limited engagement in Vietnam.

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Interview on “Toxic Cafe of Lac-Magentic” painting

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So why were you inspired to paint this theme?

I heard of the tragic accident at Lac-Magentic with the whole town basically obliterated and grew curious to how this explosion happened.  A train was parked by itself above the town, the conductor goes for a cup of coffee, the train runs away downhill and then blows up an entire town.

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Who do you think is to blame in this tragedy?

Well definitely the policy of allowing one conductor to a train with hazardous material looks very foolish.  I think the fact that this train carrying such type of explosive material should be under guard 24/7 to prevent such a catastrophe.

Isn’t guarding this oil 24/7 extreme?

Well, look at the situation this way, what if the explosion was intentional or had been intentional? The minimum thing MMA, a US based company, could do was at least guard the train.  Looking at the statistics of declining train derailments from 3000 in 1980 to 500 in 2010, the advent of a terrorist connection is unlikely.

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Has there been a major train terrorist attack post 9/11?

Yes, in 2004, terrorists hit a major train depot in Madrid. They blew up the four trains three days before the election and thanks to the initial bungled investigation of the PP, the party was overthrown in the elections.

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Have you ever been close to a terrorist attack?

In fact, I landed a few hours after the terrorist bombing of the Madrid airport garage.  We were stuck in the plane for an hour at least before they secured the airport for people to evacuate the planes.  As we came out of the airport we saw 4-5 levels of the front of the garage blown up.

When I lived in Spain there were bombings by the local Basque terrorists called ETA.  In 1993, they blew up seven people in a van in the streets of Madrid. Additionally, they set a second bomb next to the US and French Embassies, but the second bomb cause was unsolved.  I lived about 6 km away at the time.

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Why is ETA striking terror in Spain?

Well, Spain suffered a dictatorship after the Civil War in the 1930s.  Franco used very repressive ways to eliminate other language groups and political competitors: anarchists, communists, socialists and regionalists throughout Spain with the exception of his native Galician.  People were forced to learn only Castillian (what we know as Spanish that conquered the Americas).  During the dictatorship of 42 years, the only political action was to use terror.  In this case ETA formed to overthrow the dictatorship and establish themselves as a free country.  After democracy the group continued in their terror campaign despite having achieved language protection, preservation and respect within Spain’s new democracy.

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ETA mural in the Basque Country

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March against ETA, 2010

Why do you think ETA continues?

In many ways it represents the poor transition to democracy in the 1930s and the continuation of the original Civil War of 1936-39.  Hopefully one day the terror will end.

 

Are any works available? 

Check my shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShawNshawNart

 

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

Yes. I send about every 4-6 weeks at http://shawnshawn.co/Site/Contact