Wednesday, 8 June 2011

JKPP on display at Future Canvas show in San Francisco

On June 6th, the Future Canvas show opened in downtown San Francisco. It will be up until June 23rd. The show is focused on iPad art and features iPad works by several Portrait Party artists. In addition, one iPad on an easel displays a continuous slide show of the entire Portrait Party. JKPP was included to show a community where digital and non-digital artists are working together and being influenced by each other - and not making too big a deal over what media any particular artist uses for any particular piece.

Opening atmosphere:

Here is the description of the Party posted at the show:

Julia Kay's Portrait Party (JKPP) is an international collaborative project in which more than 500 artists from more than 40 countries have so far made made more than 13,000 portraits of each other, with no end in sight. Along the way oil painters and iPad artists, professional exhibiting artists and beginners, bus drivers and lawyers, all rubbed elbows online, learned from and influenced each other, became friends, and started meeting up in person all over the world. And while the community thrived, so did the portraits.

There were some funny conversations at the beginning, for instance when an iPhone artist asked a watercolorist what App they had used - and the watercolorist had no idea what they were talking about. But over time, we've gotten used to each other's terminology and have been very happy to learn from and be influenced by each other. Artists who had stopped making art when adult life got too busy, started up again on iDevices, then became interested enough in what the traditional artists were doing to dig their charcoals out of the closet. And lots of traditional artists watching the developing body of work of the mobile digital artists started borrowing friends' iDevices or downloading art Apps to their own, and mixing it up. Many artists at JKPP go back and forth between traditional and mobile digital media, others combine both techniques in single portraits, and of course some work exclusively in digital or exclusively in traditional media.

Each portrait is of a specific person, and was made in a specific way. But the body of work as a whole - multiple interpretations of each posted photo in multiple media - each made individually but influenced by all the other interpretations - is far more than the sum of its parts. Dip into the pool on flickr ( or watch a section of the slideshow to see the party unfold.

The show is open to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays through June 23rd from 4:00PM-7:00PM. Hmmm... those are somewhat unsual hours. If you want to call before heading over, the number is (415) 843-1GAF.

There are also two more events this week:

Tuesday, June 7th
Theo Watson & Robert Hodgin Discuss their Work
- Open 6:30PM / Talk 7:00PM

Wednesday, June 8th
An Evening with Douglas Rushkoff
- Open 6:30PM / Talk 7:30PM

Here's the website for more info:

The location is the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts which is in the 'historic' grotto of the 'historic' Warfield Building which contains the 'historic' Warfield Theatre at 998 Market Street, San Francisco, CA. It's between Powell and Civic Center BART stations - two blocks in the grungy direction from the Westfield Mall. I suggest walking from Powell for less grunge :)

I thought they did a beautiful job laying out the show, all the more so since the walls were concrete - you know what that means for hanging shows! Some of the iPad work was printed and framed, some printed on stretched canvas. Interactive art and art apps were on iPads on metal easels, as is the Portrait Party display.

The space is rather large. You can find the Portrait Party on the middle easel of three in a nook on the far side of the room from the entrance, next to my three portraits made with the Hansol Huh's Typedrawing App (in other words, drawn with letters). On the left easel, is an iPad allowing everyone to play with Typedrawing.

Three more of my portraits are to the right as you come down the stairs into the space, next to non-portrait pieces by JKPP member Matthew Watkins, and there are more non-portrait pieces by JKPP artists Nini Teves Lapuz (nini_nini), Greg Durrett (gdurrett), Helene Goldberg (HGBerk), Benjamin Rabe & Susan Murtaugh (suzi54241) in the furthest nook.

A very special thanks to Josh Michaels, the organizer who invited us, and who went out of his way to make it happen in the eleventh hour, when it looked like including the Portrait Party was going to fall through.

Work by JKPP artist Matthew WatkinsWork by JKPP artists Susan Murtaugh and Nini Teves LapuzWork by JKPP artists Helene Goldberg and Greg Durrett

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Conversation with Catalan architect Joan Ramon Farré Burzuri

I had the pleasure to have a virtual conversation on architecture and art with Catalan architect Joan Ramon Farré Burzuri. I met Joan Ramon via Julia Kay's Portrait Party and he was very kind to answer me patiently. For the readers, I would like to say that my mother tongue being French, I do think in French and therefore my English has a different flavor and many mistakes...

B: Hola Joan Ramon, you are an architect and you are an artist. Your drawings of houses and buildings are, not surprisingly, very good and accurate, the architect background, but you do portraits, very precise and also very loose when applying colours, the artist side. Did you always draw, made art?

JR: First was the love for drawing,... then came the dissatisfaction with the job done.
But the flame was already lit and never faded, and this was the beginning of my passion for art.

B: Did you do a lot of portraits before joining JKPP, or first time?

JR: I was always terrified of drawing portraits. I never draw any portrait before my accession to JK'sPP.

I always considered it is the more difficult job in the world.

In a year that I belong to this group, I learned a lot from my colleagues and I discovered a new way to expression.

B: Is it common among architects to do art, portraits etc...?

JR: Within the guild of architects you can find scientists, writers, musicians, painters, sellers, sportive, bon vivants, and all the possibilities between all concepts .
Some of them have a passion for drawing, but I've never met one architect drawing portraits.

B: Does painting, drawing, make you see buildings, structures, differently?

JR: To me is not very different if I'm drawing a building, a rural landscape or the face of a beautiful woman or a child. Really, the important thing for me is to express the emotion that makes in my inside the contemplation of the objective.
In this sense, the culmination of this idea will be the abstraction.
(still so far of my usual work...)

B:. When I look at modern architecture I see a lot of square boxes with symmetry, aligned windows, no colors, blend etc.... I am not thinking just of skyscrapers but also at all the smaller buildings that make a city.

With modern technologies,being so much sophisticated than before, it seems that style is less exuberant, very severe, like always designed by engineers.
Wouldn't it be possible to have different shapes, to have curves, to break these straight lines, to have other angles than 90 degrees? Gaudi does come to my mind but also Gothic cathedrals, roman arches ...
Are curves a big no no for architects?
Are colors a big no no?

JR: When I read the first part of the question, one word appears in my mind: “minimalism”...

But in the global actual culture, the things aren’t so simples.

Technology has always influenced both process, design and constructive.

The incorporation of reinforced concrete "liberated" the tyranny of cubic shapes recommended by the prismatic form of the brick and allowed the construction of volumes with more freedom.
There are plenty of beautiful examples. For respect to a master of modern architecture, the first of them can be Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier.

At the same time, the incorporation of computer as a tool for project, gave wings to the creation of new shapes and also to the way of representation of these projects.

The first example that comes to mind is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, designed by Frank O. Gehry.

But this is not the only one, going to let me recommend you a stroll through various examples of how imagination, art and architecture meet and we "give away" beautiful buildings.

I suggest the links below, there are for teams of architects that I think can illustrate the idea of this happy meeting.

Frank O. Ghery:
Enric Miralles/Benedetta Tagliabue:
Coop Himmelblau:
Zaha Hadid:

As you can see, the curves are more a problem for the builder than for the architect.

Referring to your question about the colors, thinking as a creator of forms, I would reply that if a volume is beautiful in itself, it no need to apply color, light will highlights her beauty.

I recognize that maybe it is more an argument from a sculptor than from an architect.

B: After looking at the links you gave me,I agree with you,it is art, imagination and architecture. I see a lot of new shapes, curves and different angles.
Some are so amazing, considering the long way with constraints and compromises from drawing to building.

Back to colour, reading your comment, I have the impression that architects have and develop an eye for volumes, shapes, and space.

Colour, for me, should not be a a decoration, it is part of the object, building, and with a function, like in this example:

Green was a perfect choice for these balconies, it was chosen because here in winter we are in need of green.

Thank you very much Joan Ramon.

Joan Ramon's photostream in Flickr
Benedicte's photostream in Flickr