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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Art ltd. Review

There's a review from the January 2009 issue of Art ltd.

John Yoyogi Fortes and Linda Raynsford at Pamela Skinner/Gwenna Howard Contemporary Art 
by David M. Roth


Hip deep in the appropriationist methods that took hold in the 1980s and that continue to fuel lowbrow production as it inches toward highbrow respectability, John Yoyogi Fortes stands out for his ability to seamlessly integrate many different styles. His canvases, which roam from large to monumental, begin with an under girding of marks and color swatches and then build out into quasi-expressionist statements that hint at oblique political and personal conundrums.

In league with current trends in street art, Fortes practices a loose method of icon and symbol deployment that keeps viewers intrigued and suitably off-balance. His thinly painted characters, pulled from American and Asian comics and from ‘50s clip art, are united pictorially by brushed, spray-painted and stenciled graphic shapes that when combined, allude to narratives that may or may not exist. It’s a trickster’s game, and a good one at that. To wit: It’s easy to be amused by the telepathic “communion” between Superman and Jesus (Exercise in Mindfulness); the vaporization of ‘50s television characters (Christonite/Unsuspecting Impure Halo); and the apparent satirization of the Chinese pharmaceutical industry (Gift/Immaculate Misconception). Still, for all the fun, Fortes knows how to sling a broadside. His largest (120 x 96 inches) canvas, Immaculate Rendition, shows an Asian cartoon character bound in chains whose face appears to be that of Little Black Sambo. Outlined by a white shape that is equal parts Swastika and human figure, the picture makes a searing and unambiguous statement about American foreign policy.

Sculptor Linda Raynsford seems like an odd partner in this context; but she activates the room’s considerable space with works that challenge conventional notions of how steel should behave. I’m thinking in particular of Connected, a piece derived from metal doors that were cut up and “woven” into forms that dangle like seed pods from the ceiling, and of Swollen, a similarly crafted pedestal piece that looks like a big, gleaming donut. I Left My Wife, a large, floor-mounted stainless steel disk pounded into irregular surface shapes and inscribed with text, also confounds perception: the bottom is flat, like a deflated tire.

In art and life, things are rarely what they seem, and in this show, which is essentially a conjuring act, both artists succeed at upending expectations.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My kids come to see the show in Sac

This was shot when my son Willie came up from Fullerton for a visit during Thanksgiving weekend and we took him to see the show in Sacramento.

Friday, December 12, 2008

ART ltd. Video

Today is my first day back into the studio after some time off. Getting itchy to make something!!

Art ltd. Magazine put my video on their website last month. It's the same one I have posted on YouTube. I'm doing a test and will upload a Flash version to see if the quality changes since YouTube now can handle HD. Click here to check it out on ART ltd.'s website.

Friday, December 5, 2008

January 2009 Review

Was talking with Gwenna at Skinner/Howard Contemporary Art and she mentioned that the show at their gallery will be reviewed in the January issue of ART Ltd. magazine.

Midtown Monthly Article - November Issue

I met Tim, who wrote the article, the Thursday before the opening and had a nice conversation. Thanks Tim.

A few years ago I stumbled across John Yoyogi Fortes’ work in a side room at the Skinner / Howard Gallery while there to see another show. My immediate reaction was, “Why isn’t this guy’s show up right now?” I should be careful what I wish for, because Fortes has had so many shows in Sac recently that I can scarcely fit them all on my calendar. I like Fortes’ work a lot; he serves up hamfisted cartoon imagery- sort of Phil Guston meets Skip Williamson- with a street art twist, and then tops it off with a hint of Squeak Carnwath. The colors are always good and his graphic sensibilities are right on.
I’m greatly looking forward to this show if for no other reason than to see how Fortes resolves Immaculate Rendition, an immense canvas that he’s been wrestling with for thirty-five days, all meticulously documented on his blog. -TF

Friday, November 7, 2008

SFMOMA Artist Gallery Opening

On Wednesday we went to Fort Mason to check out the 30 Year Anniversary exhibit and the exhibit upstairs that I was in. Ran into Heather Wilcoxon who introduced Heather and I to Inez Storer and her husband. Looks like I'll be doing an artist video of all of them. Nice to have cooperating volunteers, ha! I'm really looking forward to visiting Inez's studio and talking to her husband who is a descendant of the Romanoff's.

Photos coming!


Well tomorrow is the reception for my show in Sacramento with Linda Raynsford at Pamela Skinner/Gwenna Howard Art. The installation went well, but the big one is so heavy that it wanted to rip a hole in the wall. Extra screws and anchors please!

Fellow friend and  artist, Jack Alvarez help me hang the work. Without his help I think it would have taken me another day.

On Thursday I was able to meet Tim Foster who did a little write up about the show in the publication Midtown.

Here's some pictures from the day after the installation.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Immaculate Rendition Video - REVISED!

Like the painting, I couldn't leave the video alone. I added a few more photos of the painting in transition, a new shot taken at night in the studio after the section when I talk about the bricks and a final shot zooming out at the end so you see the final painting. Oh...and my website, ha!

Now get out there and VOTE!!!!

Studio visitors

Erica Agyeman and Demetrie Broxton from Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco came by the studio Friday afternoon. Erica called last Sunday and invited me to participate in an upcoming exhibit entitled, "Decoding Identity: I Do It For My People." Looking forward to it. Hope you can come by too. The exhibit opens January 23, 2009. Wow, seems like Y2K was just yesterday!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Immaculate Rendition Video

This is a video that I've been working on after Maria Medua, SFMOMA Artist Gallery Director said they were planning to do podcasts of some of their artists. It's a brief look into my process and follows the progress of my painting, "Immaculate Rendition."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Foot Soldier

I rearranged the piece that's going to the SFMOMA's Artist Gallery at Fort Mason this Saturday. This is the latest and final incarnation. Curious to see it once Renee installs it. Reception is on November 5th.

Day Thirty Five

Delivery for the show in Sac is the 4th of November so here's the latest. The previous blue, red and yellow, were too intense. I think I like the gray better.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

SFMOMA Artist Gallery Exhibit

Was working this past weekend to finish up this or these pieces for the exhibit at SFMOMA's Artist Gallery at Fort Mason. The theme is U.S. War and Politics Should be a fun show. The reception is on a Wednesday and opens November 5th.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

SFMOMA Artist Gallery Exhibit

I'll be showing some pieces on paper at Fort Mason in November along with some other artists. I'll post the specifics soon. Here's a piece in the show.

Parasitic Knowledge
Mixed media on paper

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day Thirty Three!

I bought some latex elf ears at Wishing Well in Sac and had to see what they looked like on Coco. I did a little Photoshop to match the color on her face and make them look like they were attached to her head. She's ready for Halloween. Coco Yoda!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Making of IR

I've been working on this video of the Making of Immaculate Rendition. Stay tuned . Here's a bit of it.

Day Thirty One

Ok, I've been a bit lazy and haven't posted the last few days working on "IR. Just been watching all these debates. Is anyone out there wondering what's so great about Sarah Palin. Is she on crack!

So, I think I'm at about day 31 now + or - a day. Here are a couple pictures from this past weekend. November is coming up soon so I need to get this baby done. Seems like every time I think I've sewn it up, I go into the studio and have second thoughts. It's like picking at a itchy scab. This isn't the first time I've felt this way about a painting, but it sure is a pain in-the-ass when you need to move on and get pieces done for another show.

I think I need a blood transfusion with Juan Carlos Quintana. That dude kicks ass when it's crunch time.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Jazmine in Make Magazine

This Summer, Jazmine did an internship at Make Magazine and was photographed for a story on electronic drums. Here she is in the Volume 15 issue of Make.

PYC Field Trip

On Monday Belle Orpilla brought over a group of Vallejo Filipino youth to the studio. This was the second time the visit was planned. The first time one of the kids got in an accident a few blocks a way and the car that hit her flipped on it's roof. Fortunately no one was hurt. Great visit.

Earlier in the week, Sunday, Colleen, her husband Kent and their two kids came over to see the painting that will be on one of their Eric Kent Wine Cellars wine bottles. They liked the painting so come December, Bondage will have a new home and Heather and I will have a lot of drinking to do.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Family Visit

After Coco's birthday party, Heather's family came over to the studio to see my paintings. Jay and Laurie have started collecting art and have a couple of paintings by Juan Carlos Quintana and others.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

21 Grand Reception

The reception at 21 Grand was really nice. It was the same day as Art Murmur (September 5th) so there was a pretty good turn out.

These are the two paintings I showed, One Step Ahead of Grief and Save MySpace on the Bandwagon.

Carlo Ricafort's work, barely visible was in the corner between my 2 paintings and Mel's work. Really like Carlos' paintings.

England Hidalgo's artwork.

Juan Carlos (center) came out with a friend to say hi and bring me a catalog for Miju's exhibit at Jack Fischer Gallery. Miju is the collaborative team of Juan and his wife Michele. great catalog! Behind him is Mel Vera Cruz's Filipino Guard.

My daughter Jazmine was a good sport hanging out.

More pictures here:
Link 1
Link 2

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Day Twenty-Eight!

I think this painting is getting really heavy and I don't mean in content. I was moving it the other day and almost lost it. Could have crushed me. My body would've been discovered days later under canvas and stretcher bars. Whew!

Busy week with the 21 Grand reception then Coco's first birthday celebration on the weekend. Photos of both events to come!

Recently I was contacted by Colleen Teitgen, curator at Eric Kent Wine Cellar about using one of my paintings on their 2007 vintage wine bottles. Colleen has picked Bondage so when it comes a bottle.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Immaculate Rendition - Day Twenty Seven!

I'd say I'm getting pretty darn close to wrapping this baby up. I need my wall back.

Esperanza Servito Fortes

This post is in tribute to my mom (90 years old) who passed away this past Monday, August 18th at San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp, CA. She was born on February 7, 1918 and surrounded by her family and grand kids when she was taken off life support per her wishes. I'd say some of my creativity and stubbornness comes from her. She'll be missed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Immaculate Rendition

This is where I'm at with IR. I've worked out a few ideas and will add them to the painting this weekend after the Tequila Tasting party at Jack Alvarez's house on Saturday. I'm not too keen on hot weather, but Jack has a pool so I'll be in there like a beached whale.

Sunday, we're off to Oakland to catch the Birth of Cool show at the museum before it closes. So after all that and watching Coco off and on, hopefully I'll find an hour to squeeze in some painting.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

21 Grand Presents Kwatro-Kantos
SAN FRANCISCO – July 8, 2008 – Filipino Collective Kwatro-Kantos (England Hidalgo, Lian Ladia, Marcius Noceda, Carlo Ricafort, Mel Vera Cruz) will squat on the grounds of the physical space of 21 grand in Oakland and explore it as a structure of relations both as a social environment and as a field of action. By use of paintings, sculpture, installation and video, the collective will also invite guest artist John Yoyogi Fortes to integrate his work with the environment that they have created. Kwatro-Kantos will be creating a morning-after-destruction, an exploration of rectitude and composition that will puzzle bureaucrats.

Mel Vera Cruz's outraged graffiti inflected painting is a mix between the purgatories of Heronymus Bosh with the cleverness of Jean Michel Basquiat. Carlo Ricafort's work is based on appropriated images and the use of planned chance. His pale abstractions evoke irreverence and grit, which are subtle yet potent. Marcius Noceda's surrealist paintings with digitized or erased images provoke the imagination to violent and dramatic degrees. His work daunts you on man's futile search for meaning, unity and clarity. Lian Ladia's curatorial concepts are inspired by fluxus' sensibilities disparaging the conventional market-driven art world in favor of an artist-centered creative practice. England Hidalgo's painting and mixed media work portrays immaculate chiaroschuro; layering historical facts, pop icons or punk music in one visual platform.

John Yoyogi Fortes is the recipient of a number of grants, fellowships and awards from both the East and West Coast. His work continues to address a broad spectrum of personal concerns ranging from social and political issues such as human rights, the environment and globalization to identity, family and memory.

Breaking institutions yet working collaboratively, Kwatro-Kantos utilizes collective effort to break didactic thought and cuts chains loose.

21 grand is at the heart of the Oakland art murmur. It is an interdisciplinary arts space championing innovative visual and performing arts since 2000.

ATTENTION CALENDAR EDITORS: PLEASE list under Gallery/Exhibitions
@ 21 Grand
August 15-Sept 13
Reception: Sept 5 (art murmur)
416 25th St. (at Broadway)
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 444-7263
Works by: England Hidalgo, Lian Ladia, Marcius Noceda, Carlo Ricafort, Mel Vera Cruz and John Yoyogi Fortes

21 Grand Installation

Went to Oakland to deliver my paintings at 21 Grand. The show is curated by Lian Ladia who is also a member of the group Kwatro-Kantos. Everyone had alot of work and I think the installation looks really good. The reception is on Sept. 5th the evening of Art Murmur in Oakland. Carlo Ricafort and I went to get his artwork at his studio in Hunter's Point so I was able to see my old stumping ground when I was a 6-7 year old...although it was night!

Here' some shots from last night. Mel showing his Ginebra Kwatro-Kantos with the security guard.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day Twenty Five!

Heather and Coco stopped by the studio to check on the progress. The rays coming from the dogs mouth and the black oval in the upper left are photoshop additions that I'll ad to the painting this week. Hope to be done soon. Sunday was shot with a wedding reception in the studio so we headed to the ferry building to get our weekend coffee fix.

Today I deliver my 2 paintings to 21 Grand in Oakland. The space is pretty big, but it's a multi use venue with music and performance events. Will post shots of the installation.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day Twenty Four and a trip to Ojai!

Installation for 21 Grand is next week so I'm cranking to get this finished.

We just got back from a trip to Ojai and saw the show, Weekend Warrior, at our friend Nathan Larrameny's gallery. Great show! While at Nathan's, Heather and I met Brian Storts of Queen's Nails Annex Gallery in San Francisco. Brian is passing the gallery on to the next generation while he and his wife Rochelle, set up a new home and open Queen's Nails Ranch in Ojai.

Heather, Coco and Oliver with Nathan's Travis Somerville painting.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day Twenty Three!

My thoughts were wandering very early this morning, half asleep, that CIA agents are similar to Pirates in that they kidnap individuals without cause. I realized, as I laid there, that the letters I and R are in the Pirate vocabulary! Too early in the morning to make real sense, but I like it.

Day Twenty Two!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day Twenty One!

Just got back from a weekend in Bodega Bay doing nothing. Watching people kayak on the Russian River was definitely something I want to do next visit. The Root Division show is coming down this week and then it's off to Ojai. Looking forward to visiting Nathan's gallery and seeing the Weekend Warriors exhibit there.

21 grand will be in August with Kwatro Kantos. Should be fun.

Here's the latest after a few minutes in the studio tonight.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day Twenty!

Nothing like a little florescent scare tissue!

Day Ninteen!

Added the I and R to the upper right last night (07-21-08). This shot is a bit cloudy due to the medium I added before taking this.

When I started this one I was thinking about self flagellation. Creating self criticism that in this case has manifested as kids beating its creator. Maybe criticism that relates back to his childhood! Who knows what hell we've been through.

Well, the I and R refer to Immaculate Rendition. Rendition as in the case of Extraodinary Rendition, the illegal forced disappearance, transporting, detaining and torture of individuals by the CIA. In this case Immaculate refers to the CIA's perception as being free from fault, flaws and errors. Hmmm.

I think this one flips back and forth for me. So I'm a Flip-Flopper! Got a ways to go on this one. Hang in there.

Day Eighteen!

The changes have been pretty sublte lately with as little time as I've been spending in the studio. At least the kids have a bit of drippy hair.