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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holiday!

Well the show in SF has been down for a while and the paint can lids that remain are going out to those in need of some holiday cheer. Let's kick ass this coming year! Be safe during the holiday!
Best to all of you!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Review a Squarecylinder

David Roth wrote this review of my show at Jack Fischer Gallery in SF on SQUARECYLINDER.COM

. I hear there are two others out there. We'll see if they actually manifest. Will post them as soon as I know.
Thanks David!

John Yoyogi Fortes @ Jack Fischer

"Runt", 2010, mixed media on canvas, 120" x 84" (diptych)

John Yoyogi Fortes isn’t a street artist but he paints like one – one who’s especially well-versed in American and European Expressionism. His specialty is the urban fever dream, a realm in which subconscious fears and desires play out against backdrops of crumbling paint-spattered walls. It’s brightly hued and richly textured world into which the artist inserts comic- and graffiti-influenced characters that are in psychic pain. They appear — along with forms that are collaged, sprayed, and hand-painted — in colliding planes that rest on layers of scraped paint that recall surfaces where concert posters are continuously stripped and re-stapled.

Fortes creates an electrically charged, claustrophobic atmosphere filled with high-def images and stupefying excess, where little makes sense and everything seems wrapped in a cocoon of white noise. Thus, in Fortes, fans Francis Bacon, Manuel Ocampo, Sue Coe and others of an expressionist bent will find a kindred spirit – one who’s also absorbed the influences of underground comic artists like Robert Crumb, Ed “Big Daddy” Rothand the whole freak-show milieu of RAW Vision, the journal of outsider art.

"Untitled", 2010, acrylic, enamel and collage on canvas, 50" x 40"

Runt, the largest (120 x 84”) painting on view, is typical of the artist’s output over the past few years. Out of a ground of geometric swatches laced with vertical stains and loose spray-painted lines, faces and figures appear like apparitions. Some are vividly rendered; others seem vaporous, as if summoned by a darkroom trickster in an early 20th century “spirit photograph”. The painting’s most prominent feature is a trio of elongated eyeballs that hang by tentacles from a mask in the manner of Roth’s “Rat Fink” character — an expression of extreme cartooning and, perhaps, a pointed reference to the ubiquity of the surveillance camera. I say perhaps, because Fortes’ works rarely make direct statements about anything; they take an allegorical stance, but their allusions are wide-open.

Where in the past Fortes’ work pointedly referred to issues of race, identity, sexuality and global politics, the paintings here seem less driven by conscious intentions than by an urge to allow his arsenal of self-invented characters and appropriated images to interact freely. Like many of the Lowbrow/Pop Surrealist artists with whom he feels an affinity, Fortes tends to back away from overt proscriptions, preferring instead to play hot potato with live ammunition to see what ignites.

"It Sounded a Lot Better Before I Said It", 2010, acrylic, enamel and collage on canvas, 12" x 9"

Untitled, a portrait of an urban hipster, is cheerfully apocalyptic. Sprouting from its Picasso-influenced face is a thought balloon filled with red splotches of blood. Below the face, which rests on a pedestal, is a severed hand onto which spills more blood. It Sounded A Lot Better Before I Said It features a boxy figure. Its heart is exposed, and one of its severed limbs sports a swastika-like crest. Both are fine examples of how Fortes projects terror into a comic format.

In this exhibition, he fills much of the gallery with small works, many of which seem small-bore when compared to his more expansive, wall-sized excursions. A reoccurring motif these small paintings is a cigarette-smoking primate whose picaninnyvisage appears most memorably on Smoking Monkeys, a series of 18 wall-mounted paint can lids. This racist caricature should shock, but when pulled out of context, as it is here, it loses power. To understand why, look at a prior work like Immaculate Rendition (2008), where Fortes used a similar image to devastating effect, and you see that as an abstract painter with narrative inclinations – however abstruse — Fortes only hits full stride when he has a big canvas.


John Yoyogi Fortes: Parallel Boondocks @ Jack Fischer through Dec. 4, 2010

To learn more about John Yoyogi Fortes watch the video of him creating Immaculate Rendition.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Installed the Work

Drove to SF today in sunny weather. Much nicer than the day the art movers came! Jack and I installed all the work and to see Runt on the wall was very cool. If you're in the city I hope you'll stop in to see the exhibit. It'll be up till Dec. 4.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Paintings Headed for NY

The art shipper came today, in the rain and wind, to pick up two paintings for the traveling exhibit Infinite Mirror. First stop Syracuse, N.Y. I was the last stop and it was a packed truck as you can see by the photo. Coco even made the shippers see the art in her room.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Paintings in Progress

I should be finishing the paintings that I've already started, but I got into this one and will show it next week in SF. The top and bottom are different sizes so there is about a 3 to 4 inch difference on the left. The top is panel and the bottom is canvas. Still in progress.

This is also in progress, but should be finished by the weekend.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Goin to Jack Fischer's

These are 2 completed paintings that I just finished. Both are 40 x 50 inches. Acrylic on canvas.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Painting in Progress

Well I'm on the home stretch for my show at Jack Fischer Gallery next month (Oct. 28). This is a 40" x 50" painting that I've finally gotten back to. Here's the before and far!

Black Dahlia

This is a piece that will be going into a local Exquisite Corpse exhibit. Mine is at the bottom. The othertwo artists are Melanie Bown and Brad Mossman. The show will travel to Texas later on...y'all!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


2 paintings on sheetrock. The frames are from the moulding taken out of our house when we knocked down a wall.

Paintings in Progress

This is what happens when you can't leave it alone. It changes! These are the two paintings that are in the last two postings. the Smoking Monkey is creepin in!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Painting in Progress

Ok, after finishing the big painting I've been slackin watching Project Runway with Heather. Time to get crankin again so here is the latest.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Collaboration with Coco

I've been drawing over my daughter's (she's almost three) watercolor's, but the other day she got mad at me for using her artwork. She said she didn't like it. So now I have to ask permission and have her select them. Seems reasonable!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Coco Meets Sandow Birk

We were in San Francisco this past weekend and stopped in to see our friend Nathan at Catherine Clark Gallery. Sandow Birk was there with his wife and 4 month old daughter so we asked if we could get a photo of him with Coco to add to her web page. Thanks Sandow!
Coco is figuring out the painting by Scott Greene

Friday, July 16, 2010


I know my paintings are sometimes cluttered with stuff, so I'm taking it easy on this one. As Heather said the other day, "don't screw it up! Well I don't think I will and it is after all my painting, but I have been known to paint over paintings that looked pretty good at one time. It does make me question though what pair of eyes I'm using when evaluating a piece.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

DONE! July 10, 2010

Finally finished this painting today. Need to live with it for a while, but glad to get it done. Next!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

New Starts

Here are a couple paintings that I'm starting on. With the bog one almost out of the way I can almost feel some breathing room!
40" x 50"

About 24" x 24"

Painting in Progress

I think I'm done with this one. Just need to sit with it for a while. Happy 4th of July!

Michelle Meunnig at Jack Fischer Gallery

Our good friend Michelle Meunnig has a show up at Jack Fischer Gallery in SF. Here is a link to see some of her work on ArtBusiness.