Jul
15

DIA Bike Installation Project

Lately I was contacted by Plus Gallery Denver to create a sculpture using a bike for the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado. Among other art bikes, my bike will be at DIA after the 29th of July.

I decided to fly back to Colorado to sculpt the bike, after much back and forth, I finally made it back home to Leadville with a suitcase full of confetti.

We love Leadville Sign

Not much could be more ‘home’ than the We Love Leadville sign just outside the official town city limits. I grabbed a picture of the sign to commemorate my visit back home.

So here I am in Leadville with my bike, starting out by spray-painting it a nice DIA Bronco Blue

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After a few hours of work it began to look okay, but still needed more paper.

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And more paper…

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Finally after a while it ended up looking pretty cool. The plywood background in this photo doesn’t help much, but ok.

 

 

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And, the bike ended up looking MUCH nicer against a darker, or non plywood background.

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Overall, I’m pretty happy with it. From concept to realization, it developed fairly on schedule and met the concept sketch very closely at 16 hours of work with a few pounds of paper.

At the finish of the construction, the weather began to get cold. Yes, it’s cold in July in the remote Rocky Mountains, so, my mom lent me this retro Trail 100 sweatshirt. It’s at least as awesome as the LT100 belt buckle.

 

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More pictures soon! I can’t wait to unveil the bike.

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Jul
15

What are you chasing after?

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Just this last spring the family and I took a trip to San Diego to see my brother get married. I’d never been in California before. Despite working for two companies based in California, and feeling like I had a deep connection with the entrepreneurial side of the state, I had no understanding of the visual diversity in the natural world there.

I have to admit I had never fully understood one of my heroes in painting, David Hockney, until I visited San Diego for my brother’s wedding. I felt like I suddenly understood all of the Hockney pool paintings once I’d seen San Diego’s variegated foliage.

The whole trip looked like these three more-recent paintings from Hockney:

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These paintings, with their European landscapes and mercilessly bold California colors, have been slapped in my Documents folder for months.

So, this influence is what I’ve been working with lately. That aside, in portraiture I’ve been going after pieces that nail down the physics of an expression, yet leave the feeling of the expression open. I don’t want to communicate the feeling first – the face’s pure appearance must come first and the feeling is up to the viewer. This sounds like an obvious setup, right? Not always. When doing a portrait, an artist may be chasing after “anger” or “sadness” as a priority. Choosing to chase after feelings first, or pursuing exact surfaces first, changes everything.

Or, I almost want to trick people. I want you to look once and say “This is an obvious drawing,” then the second time around, you see there’s something more to it.

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Becky Jewell Art 2014

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Jun
16

New Bird Collages

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It’s June, and the colors that I use year-round finally align with the actual colors in the natural world and fashion. Among other projects, I’ve been having fun creating these lively birds out of colored paper. This time around, the birds are smaller. Only about 4 inches high. In this blog, the photos will be close to actual size if you’re viewing this on ye olde average laptop.

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I sent almost 20 of these birds to Leomyka gallery in Leadville, where about half are still left.

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The process for these remains the same. Step 1: paint a bunch of paper. Step 2: cut the paper into strips. Step 3: reassemble the strips in an interesting way.

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So far overall I’ve made about 30 of these, slowly making each bird a bit more elaborate and definitely not true to a biological species or actual science. Since I am both predictable and obsessive, the next step will likely be different animals or abstracts built from the same process.

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May
02

Fashions from Hong Kong Polytechnic

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One of the greatest things social media has brought to modern life is the ability to connect with worlds that are far beyond our own. This is definitely one of those ‘beyond’ moments.
 
 
Last spring I began following a photographer in China on Twitter and Instagram See-ming Lee. He does great work, and I was glued to my iPhone for a week as he photographed this fashion show.

 
 
Though these photographs are from last year, they showcase some exciting work coming out of China in fashion. Photos here were taken at Hong Kong Polytechnic University during a graduation show for the Institute of Textiles and Clothing.  Here are more photos from the school’s students.
 
 
It seems that over here in the states, photographers and book publishers have made it easy to witness the wild styles of Japan in big coffee table books, and like always, it’s easy to keep up with the fashion trends of Europe.  But check out the work of these young designers in China! You definitely don’t see this every day.
 
 
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Apr
22

Beautiful Things: Chanel Color Palette Dresses

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Remember in high school art class, when, on the first day or the first week, your teacher would have you mix colors to set up a value scale? When I saw this collection from Chanel, I couldn’t help but notice the art-school feeling of the swatches of color.

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These dresses, shirts, and accessories are kind of meta in that way, though most may not see them immediately as palettes. For the entire span of each dress, it looks like a meticulous student was trying to find the perfect color, and, in the midst of it, ended up creating a piece with a mind of it’s own. Palette mixing is a rote exercise, but it looks fun, vibrant, and free as a wearable.

Of course you’ve already seen these dresses everywhere:

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The dreamy dude in the show itself reaches the levels of over-the-top, with the paint brushes he’s toting, but hey, it looks like it could happen in some art world, somewhere. Everyone wants the romantic image of the artist I suppose.

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Apr
21

Atari Manual Art was Aces

 
 
 
Unlike the covers of books or movies, covers of early games had to be super exciting back when all the action involved 8-bit graphics. That said, this illustration below may be the most exciting artwork for backgammon that the world will ever see, 80s or not:

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But I shouldn’t say “80s” – this game’s release date was 1979. So groovy!
 
 
 

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It’s a cross between the Great Gatsby and a Bond movie. Gambling was never so exciting and colorful.
 
 
 
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How could you NOT want to learn to program after looking at this illustration? It’s like living in outer space! The dude has a bionic hand.
 
 
 
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Okay. Totally not an Atari game, but awesome nonetheless. Percy Bysshe Shelley has nothing on this.
 
 
 
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This baseball illustration seems to be painted on glass or mylar, but it’s tough to tell.
 
 
 
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This is my favorite. I have no clue what is happening here, but it’s great.
 
 


Apr
21

Drawings and Noodles: April 2014

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One of my favorite words of the past year? Facepalm. It works for so many situations. And here is a classic facepalm. I tried to keep the right parts of this clean, and the other segments dirty. The feeling that the man has isn’t perfect, so he himself doesn’t look so put together.

 
 
 
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This one was fun. His blazer is made with dry-erase marker, which does some strange stuff on thin paper. There’s no telling what the dry-erase will do, but I like the way it messes up black areas.
 
 
 
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Art school. Hipster. That girl.
 
 
 
 
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Well the blending on this could look better but I liked how her hair turned out.
 
 
 
 
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Though not sourced from it, this one reminds me of a scene from AKIRA the graphic novels, volume 3 I think.
 
 
 
 
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I’ve been looking at a lot of Eric Fischl lately, honing in on the bedroom paintings. The key ace in these pieces are the lines across bodies, created by just-open blinds. Voyeuristic? Yeah. Interesting as art forms? Totally. Though I don’t expect anyone to see the above drawing and say “Those are shadows from barely parted blinds!” I wanted to keep the style and the meaning and keep it weird.
 
 
 
 
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Some people really are modern Midases. Whatever they touch or interact with, it turns into gold. This one ended up looking a bit darker than I wanted it to – originally the idea in mind was drawing the person who jumps from company to company, leaving success and profitability in his/her wake. You don’t really see the person, you see the results and the work.
 
 
 
 
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I didn’t really have a goal with this guy, but his expression ended up being meaningful.
 
 
 
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Marc and I ended up at The Domain mall in Austin while looking for a cable from Apple. Tons of great cars out there, outrageous outfits, and terrible little dogs. We visited Victoria’s Secret in order to laugh at the many provocative phrases you can wear now on your butt. It’s easy to go in but tough to get out of there. When you finally get your underwear, the store makes a ceremony of packing the shopping bag with wads of pink glittering paper. There’s SO much paper in those bags! The bottom of each bag holds a durable cardboard square (great for making art on as well), so, everywhere you go, you’re basically carrying a giant pink box. Forced branding. I couldn’t just throw the bag out, so I made something on it. What’s the opposite of a sexy, frisky Victoria’s Secret girl? A gloomy dude. They go together like a horse and carriage.
 
 
 
 


Apr
11

These Retro Activision Manual Covers (and interiors) are Rad

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While bumming around a Game Over Videogames store in Austin, I came across some of these amazing manuals from early Activision games.

Who made these? I couldn’t find an artist listed anywhere. I dig the late-70s rainbow look, and the animals and trees that try their best to look digital.

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Oh my god, I love the cows. The only thing better than the cows on the cover is the booklet’s interior page where Bob Whitehead gives advice on how to become a Cattle Baron:

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Also, I give you: Pitfall Harry’s Diary.

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Apr
10

Beautiful Things: Rex Ray

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About four years ago I ran into Rex Ray’s work for the first time at the MCA Denver. He had a huge work set up on the second floor of the museum, a technical masterpiece that spanned a full hallway. A few weeks after the opening, the museum hosted a screening of “How To Make a Rex Ray,” where the artist details his process.

The big reveal of the film, if there was one, was that the colors and shapes in his pieces are all paper cutouts, sliced and lacquered to a panel with delicate craft.

An escapee of Colorado Springs, he’s working now in San Francisco. Aside from the pieces you see here, Ray has designed show posters for David Bowie, Radiohead, and The Rolling Stones.

Enjoy.

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Apr
04

Becky’s Beautiful Things: Boucheron Inspiria Collection

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One of these necklaces first caught my eye in a jewelry addendum for the January issue of Vogue Japan. I’d never seen such well-crafted asymmetrical jewelry.

Usually asymmetries in jewelry are fashioned to look cutting edge or defiant, but these pieces from Boucheron glitter with equal parts verve and rococo. They’re built from lively source material, with shapes, colors, and titles drawn from specific Cirque du Soleil shows.The assembly, seen in this youtube video, looks painstaking.

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I adored these off the bat since its such an unusual fusion of art worlds. Could you capture the spirit of an entire acrobatics show in a necklace? Quite the mission, and well-performed.

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This last piece may be my favorite – inspired by the Cirque du Soleil with all Beatles-based costumes and songs.

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