stuff I haven't posted

i thought I might as wel update something here. So this is a show I set up in the beginning of the school year. A look at what some seniors, two sophmores, and an alumni can do over a summer.

It's not much and all the photos of artwork I have are old outdate and the painting has moved else where. Also questioning what I really want to do for my show. I have a foot in subjective conceptual work, and objective paintings. It feels like i need to choose between the two, and it's hard to make that choice.


FIlm Critic - "Eight and a Half"

I'll start from the beginning, because if you have the time that's the best place to start. I sat in on contemporary art history last week and we discussed the role of the critic. I continued the discussion with my good friend Chris Pianka, found here. Our conversation turned to what film critics did now a days. He commented that the shit found in papers is just there as advertisement for the movie to get you to go, and the shit on the internet is filled with polemics where no one is really saying anything. With his statement that he as an audience was looking for sincere film criticism and that product wasn't being delievered, well the answer seemed obvious I should provide.

I should clarify that I am not a historian of film. Actually I avoid film of the serious affair. For I take it to be a serious activity and it's hard on my bleeding moral heart. I like to keep my mood up beat and happy. Sticking to things like "Glee" and "Community." Seeing my show choice you may say that I am probably the worse person to be a film critic. Well running off of Chris Pianka's version of what criticism should be; being that criticism is bringing a new perspective on the work to bare so that the maker and other can learn from it. I feel I can fill that role adequately. Chris Pianka gets his product of sincere film criticism, and I force myself to watch film of a more serious matter. I hope it to make me more worldly, and also getting in the habit of making this blog something to visit. I hope to make this a weekly event.

Chris Pianka selected the film that I watched this evening, so it's even more to his interest. Coming in the only thing that I knew of the film was that it like "Synecdoche, New York." After watching the film I would say that it is Charlie Kaufman's response to Federico Fellini's "Eight and a Half." I will talk about that comparison as well as a few basic other things. With the sole objective being to bring my perspective to this work I'm not exactly sure what to talk about. Actually I have something in mind I just didn't know how to transition into talk about it.

I got four things that I would like to talk about. Lets make it easy with bullet points

  1. Bringing my perspective to bare on what I thought about this movie by giving a synopsis of the movie and my interpretation of it.
  2. What I liked about the movie
  3. What I didn't like about the movie
  4. Talking about the context of the movie ("Synecdoche, New York," and being an Italian film)

If I get comments on a different format of how people would like these posts composed then I will probably conform to most suggestions. This is a first draft so I'm going to pray that there is a sense of clarity. I do this enough and hopefully I'll get better at it. Also SPOILERS from here on out. This is not a review I will be talking about the movie and specific scenes. So yeah you've been worn.

1. Synopsis

An Italian filmmaker is sick and goes to a spring to get better. He has moved his entire production team there with him. Also he has given his screen play to a film critic to see what he says and make the film a collaboration between the two. The Film is about his life and all he wants to do is be honest with it. The film touches on things like his relationship with his father and mother, his relationship with religion, and his relationship with what seems like countless mistresses and his wife. When his wife comes down and is happy at first until she begins to see that he is still spouting lies, and eventually while they are viewing screen tests she walks out on him and says she wants nothing to do with him anymore.

I got scene from the movie linked below that I feel is probably the climax of the movie.

He then goes to a press release at the constructed launch pad for his not yet constructed space ship and calls the whole movie off. Or kills himself. It's not really apparent which, but I'm a optimist when it comes to a medium like film. Then after that as he's walking back to his car and the critic is praising him for calling off the movie, saying "you don't help the chaos by adding more chaos to it" something like that. but then the director has a day dream and feels like he suddenly knows the meaning of true happiness and love. the next scene is all the people that matter to him parading down the launch pad. there is also a boy in a white cape with some carnies and instruments. It is my interpretation that the boy with the white cape represents the director. Now whether this is a dream sequence or he actually changed his mind and made his movie which ended up being just a long parade sequence. Once again i'm an optimist so I beleive the latter.

Important concepts in this film. The way the film is shot within the framework of making a movie. It becomes very much more personnal for the director since the main character is a director. I enjoyed it also because within this frame work there is a character that represents the critic, and while it probably represents Federico Fellini's feelings towards critics, it gave me a new way to invest in the movie as I was trying to be a critic. Anyways I'm pretty sure a fictional movie about making a movie had no precedent up until this point.

There is also a question about what relevance does autobiographical work have. At the press release in the movie the crowd starts asking what's so important about his life that it should matter to them. This is a question I myself am working with since I consider my own work autobiographical, but I feel even the most mundane of life can give viewers a sense of affirmation. Which in a increasinly busy life can be hard to find. Affirmation is the reason. That is my answer though I'm not sure the movie provides it's own answer.

2. What I liked

Going to make this a bullet list also so i can keep it straight.
  • The critic. I know Federico is portraying him as an annoyance in the movie but a lot of his criticism I like. I liked the character even at the end where he's praising him for giving up on the movie. "a cripple disowning his own crippled footprint" there is a saddness in his character as he also asks if there is anything true enough and relevant that it has a right to be brought to life in this world. Which while harsh I think is a sad self realization for him. Though I think it might be a old realization that might just be an axiom for him. Through out the movie I enjoy him as a character, and was distraught that the protagonist daydreamed that the critic hung himself. Or maybe he did and that's why after the press release after he killed himself the character reappears. shit. damn it no I'm going to convince myself that no one dies in this movie.
  • The fact taht it touches on religion. Other movies do this by begging the question of who's God and whether or not its there, but this film is different. The question of God doesn't ever come up. It's more about the catholic instituition and it effects it had on his up bringing. It's an ambigious commentary on the whole thing but I appreciate that it's there.
  • the launch pad was awesome
  • I'm pretty sure he has the literal translation of the metaphor for the oedipus complex played out. He puts his father to rest in his grave then makes out with his mom.
  • I'm sure the cinematography deserves praise and there are a few scenes and transitions that stand out as beautiful but I don't have a deep enough background to really give him adequate praise. It's a pretty film.
  • the magician dude is pretty bad ass.
  • the musical score of this film is wonderful. It plays an important part of the movies narrative. the second dream sequence where everyone is drinking what I assume is holy water. the musical score to that scene is great. the protagonist is humming the beat to it at several points also.

3. What I did not like

  • Subtitles. No I'm not hating the movie for being a foriegn film. more I'm just lamenting the fact that I do not know italian. You view a film differently when you're reading it through subtitles. there is a lot of cinematics going on but I'm not really grasping it since I have to read. Honestly I would have to probably be trilingual to watch this movie without subtitles since there is a bit of english in here, and I think one of the actresses might be french since she has a translator. though I wasn't keen enough to pick up the difference. It's just a shame. Ran into the same problem with "Amelie." Luckily with that film there are a lot of scenes without dialogue so i could appreciate the cinematography. A film shouldn't adhere to that though. So i'm going to learn french and italian and come back and watch this film. or I'm going to rewatch it without subtitles and just absorb the cinematography.
  • guys view of women sort of slated but it's the own characters conflict so I don't really hate it or anything. just a hard thing to get behind.
  • a debate between Guido(the protagonist) and the Critic would of been nice. instead of the critic always harping and Guido trying his best to ignore him.
4. Context

First thing I want to talk about is Italy. It has a scued sense of gender. It was brought to my attention by this documentary there is a synopsis of the film there as well as a trailer. Enough information that I would make you give the site traffic by clicking on that link and seeing what it has to say. I'm not going to really dive into that topic that much, 'cause I don't really have the information or the will power to debate about gender, but I bring it up 'cause viewing this film I felt it had some understated feeling that is brought more under the lens of view in that documentary.

okay on to "Synecdoche, New York" which really at this point I'm not sure I have to go into this comparison. More to say after watching both these films which warrant a second viewing, though I would say "Synecdoche, New York" warrants more than two, the similarities are everywhere. So much taht I would say that Charlie Kaufman's movie was a response to "Eight and a Half." Here is what I consider the most powerful scene in Kaufman's movie. It really doesn't have the same feeling without all the context that is "Synecdoche, New York" but still a great scene.

with that I say good bye. I hope you enjoyed this I put some serious work into it so I hope you give it some attention. we'll see what Chris picks out for me next week. Until then hopefully I'll update you on the state of my art also. uh yeah I'll probably edit this somewhat as shit starts poping out and bothering me, but I need to paint also so yeah later.


Small updates

Something I've been working on. I've gotten to a point where I just want to stop
working on heads like these. My work is taking a turn after reviews and graduate portfolio day. hopefully i'll have the work ethic to produce the work that I now see in my head in a sufficent quantity.


So I have this blog I haven't posted to in forever...

So here is a cutting edge update on what I'm working on.

As you can see I've gone crazy. I basically got to this point and decided that it wasn't very impressive. It didn't have the pow that I was craving. It wasn't as impactful as before. Too flat and all that jazz.





I made this...

So yeah that's the story. it's not done, I'm not happy with the color in some area and this photograph is in bad lighting. however, i feel the drawing is a bit stronger and I'm happier with it. I would like to hear your thoughts. short and sweet post I'll try to do this more regularly, I have some backed up content now so I can do that.



Yeah I know i haven't done a update in like forever. I'm uploading this photo just so I can link to it. later on I'll have an update with my 6th semester work and what I've done over the summer. This painting is one of the things that I've been working on. So think of it as a sneak peek.


Graphic Design Portfolio

I am currently looking for an internship position with some graphic design firms, so for now the top post is going to be dominated by my graphic design portfolio for my own selfish use. Also for that reason comments have been disabled for this post. When I finally land an internship I'll turn on comments for this post and also perhaps talk about my experience in design. For now enjoy the pretty pictures.


Berger does Abstract? or tries to?

Alright well I'm not sure how I'm going to start this. Part of me wants to explain my thought process behind these pieces, another part thinks it'll undercut the work with these preconceived notions before you even see the work...

Also I'm pretty sure that people just look at the pictures and don't even read what I'm typing... So I'm going to let the paintings talk for themselves. I got process photos because I'm still holding Kevin's camera hostage. If you like this you should join me in convincing Kevin he doesn't need his camera really.


But yeah, on to the paintings.

You saw the beginning of this one last post, here is with some text. I know where I'm going with this one, and the text is going to be obscured some more, but I'd thought I'd keep you up to date on what I'm doing.

I liked the beginning of this painting. Was terrified in the middle, after a chat with Jordan, I pushed through and created this. Would love to hear your opinion on it since I'm basically waiting to see Scott's reaction before I move forward with it. Jordan likes this painting and with his confidence in me I went crazy and...

This one is my favorite right now... Just freaking pops

Look I made a Jordan Elquist Painting.

And turned it into this. This is no where, where I want it to be, but the surface was wet and the bright colors I wanted weren't going to happen until I let it dry.

Don't start sentences with "and." This is the last one.

I think I'm going to hold off in delving into all the crazy thought behind these paintings. I will tell you though that all the paintings, except for the license plate painting, are rifting off of the same theme.

If you prod I'll probably tell you more, but for now I'm just going post this and see what bites.


I'm suppose to be painting...

But I got ahold of Kevin's camera and I feel the urge to update this here blog thing. So lets get to it. Here is an update on what I've been doing.

This here is the work in progress from an earlier post, but I wanted it next to the finish one to see how much I changed it.

That's nice. I feel this piece took way too long for me, and I'm really upset with how long it's taken me to get this underway. The whole idea was that I would think about every piece before I really committed it to panel, but now I'm not happy with the quantity of work I'm producing. I am happy with this piece though my mom is going to be beside herself, when she sees this. That alone makes it worth it.

Okay on to the other stuff I'm been working on.

My history with paintings with multiple figures is a mixed one. There was life painting 3 where I did a full figure self portrait with a head only self portrait next to it. Was pretty crappy. Then there is the painting of a kitchen scene of 40 federal when kevin, mike, erik, and kathleen use to live there. I'm going to tag them as well as others in an upcoming post. You should really check out their work. Anyways I took a lot of photos for ideas but the one I picked seemed good to me, because of the perspective going on in the room. However, when I got to painting, all I really cared about was the figures which I had blown up a bit... and well there's a lot of space that I just didn't care about. It is now acting as my kitchen table.

I need bigger paintings though. The one above is 4 feet wide by the way. The grandpa is less than 2. I had a big self portrait with my face on it, and the classic words "this is my crutch." but I'm hating that painting now too, and I'm not sure if I can really make use of the full space with the head that big. This painting though I have high hopes for. It's using a lot of the space properly and it's mostly figures so I shouldn't get bored with anything. Only thing that scares me is how long it's going to take. I don't want to get caught up with this piece and now try to develop other ideas for other paintings. Probably not going to finish this one until they open up 24 hour access to the school. I'll keep you updated though.

So the next painting. Scott Hadfield and Jordan Elquist don't really like. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I was really excited going into it. It's not done but I feel the need to put everything I am working on up here.

It's kinda crazy. It's a follow up to my other license painting. Kentucky being the weirdo state that it is, has gone through maybe 3 license plates in my life time. That seemed like fodder for some paintings and I was excited to start it. I picked this format 'cause I wanted it to feel like a monument somewhat. However, where the last one was painted when I was feeling homesick. This one I want to be about more how I am sometimes embarrassed to be from Kentucky. The idea to try to emulate something though that is unpleasant to you is hard. Also there is a lot of abstract space here that I'm going to need to understand. I need to stay excited about it though, so I'm going to try to just ignore everything and stick with it. It's really going to change when I add the text to it, but still.

So to sum up I need more paintings. I've bought a lot of lumber over this week and I hope to create some more paintings here real soon. I might be getting into some more drawing too. We'll see how that goes. Speaking of which.

I did a whole series of these using old paintings for my poster class. I don't feel that great about them since they were pretty easy, but if you guys are interested in seeing them let me know. This event is real by the way. Except for april 17th which is open house, I've set up free life drawing and painting sessions with the infamous Dan the model. So come over to montserrat some saturday if you would like to hang with us and listen to Dan quote movies like crazy and take out crazy props.

So that's it for now, I'll see how many more updates I can get to this blog, while I have Kevin's camera. Enjoy. Also, please comment with your thoughts on any of these, would love it here it.



So I'm going to be in a live auction this year at Montserrat. It's a good opportunity to see how people would respond at the chance to buy my work. It's a nice price reference also in the future. Most of my work is either really personal and wouldn't really belong on someone's wall. However this painting, while it's personal I imagined was suitable for someone's wall.

Miss Sara Santarsiero linked me on her page so I'm returning the favor. Her work is also in the auction and is totally worth a look at.

I'm on spring break so I'm trying to put my balls to the wall and get a lot done with all this free time. We'll see how that goes. This is a small update but expect more soon.

Edit: two things. one the montserrat website designer sucks and i really don't like how the auction site looks. two now that I have this painting linked up here on my blog the image repeats like 3 times. Find them all?


Books I would Recommend

I'm going to be editing this for a while till I get all my thoughts about these books down, because right now I just kinda want to get this post up. Then I'll remember something and change it.

Note to reader: Anytime I say "our library" I mean the library located within Montserrat College of Art.

Alright so here we go!!!

This is a must read. I don't know what else I can say. I found this my freshman summer in beverly, when the old bookstore was going out of business. Picked it up and basically couldn't put it down till the sun started to set.

It's a nice reassurance that everyone doubts themselves and the best thing to do is just believe in yourself and keep working. I have my copy around somewhere if you want to read it for free. Don't know if I'll be able to find it.

Our library has it though.

What painting is... This book alongside "Art and Fear" rocked my world freshman summer. The way this man talks about paint is mind boggling and poetic. Later on I'll probably pull quotes out of it. It's because of this book that I'm a crazy James Elkins fanboy, but to be honest the books that I have read hence haven't been nearly as good. If you are going to read one of his books this would be the one to try. It's when he talks about the color plates that come along with the book that are really terrific. There is a lot of talk/history/lecture about alchemy in it, but it's worth wading through those blocks of text to get to the parts where he talks about paintings. He talks about working in the studio being a type of psychosis. It's really great stuff. I highly recommend it, but I've been recommending it for like 2 years now, and have only recently been able to convince one person to pick it up and read.

The library might have it. If not I own a copy that I would lend out.

I don't read that often despite what this book list may say. I get most of my reading done when I'm traveling back and forth from Kentucky. Books make airplane flight tolerable. So that might explain why I didn't pick this book up till like sophmore year had gotten underway. I picked it up 'cause it was written by James Elkins, but also I found it to be a paradox. How is a handbook for art students about how art cannot be taught.

The book is crazy pessimistic. "What Painting Is" is like rainbows and awesome art rants. This book is like a dissection of how art schools run. The books main point is that teachers do not directly teach. They do not directly impart you with knowledge. They talk, go on lectures or rants in the hopes that something they say clicks and inspires you. Besides expanding on that notion, the book also takes a very close look at how critiques work. More specifically seminar critiques, when you have several teachers from several disciplines talking about your work. It's insightful. It has some ideas in the end about how to mix things up. I read it all though so it had something in it that kept me reading.

Stupid small image messing up the page format
You can get it through the library

Alright lets round up this James Elkins fanboy train real quick. This book is a survey of how Modernism and Post-Modernism progressed. It stops just short of the year 2000 so it's not trying to make any statement of the world now. It's more talking about the transition into modernism and the resistance of post-modernism. It has interesting ideas, and basically put's forth all the theories of what modernism is. It's good for conversations about such things. We're going to move on from it now.

Our library has it don't worry.

Jenny Saville. One of the YBA's. (Young British Artist) If you're not sure who they are, Damien Hirst is a YBA. If you don't know who that is. Well stay tuned you'll be educated eventually. Anyways yeah. Jenny Saville rocks my world. Her paintings are huge. 6 ft being the smallest dimension in any of her work. Biggest being like 16 ft I think. Nice color plates. From afar they seem to be expressive figurative paintings. Walk up to it and suddenly you're looking at a De Kooning. This is one of the books I'll take out when working in the studio. Have it open just so I can look at it. Lovely color plates. Her imagery can be rather jarring at first, but eventually you're desensitized to the imagery and just appreciating the paint. Take that notion however you want, that's what's going on in her paintings.

Our Library DOES have this book.

Euan Uglow... It's a crazy hard name to remember. Hopefully now that I've had to type it up several times I'll be able to remember it now. Uglow is another british artist, but not part of the YBA's. Not sure what the difference between the two is? Jenny Saville crazy popular and rich. She sold one of her paintings at her grad school show and took off from there. Uglow had to be at his craft for a while before he got a book. While Jenny Saville's imagery is very powerful, this guy's paintings have such a meditation on them that it's crazy. He was so into making marks for measurements that he would mark the wall behind the model. Just another great figurative artist. If you get a chance to flip through this book don't pass it up.

Great Britain has a huge tradition of figurative artists. Like the entire island has a collective school of thought when it comes to figures. I don't know if you would include Jenny Saville in it. However, Uglow and Freud would definitely be part of it. Trends in this school of thought being very realistic and the avid use of browns.

Our library has it.

I found this book over winter break my junior year. It was my one and only christmas present to myself, and my stomach paid for it later on down the road. I was able to get it for 75$ though. Which is awesome, since now that I see what it is going for on amazon makes me feel much better about buying.

Anyways this book is copyrighted 2009. It is a wonderful survey of contemporary painting today. from 1970's to 2009. It's like you went on a trip to New York and were just bombarded with great paintings. Not only does it have great color plates, but it's like a text book. I'm currently reading this, and not yet done, so I can say much for it right now. Besides that it has wonderful paintings in it and gets me very excited.

Alright that's all the books I can think of. Please leave a comment with what you think. I'm not sure what I'm going to talk about now that I've done the one idea I had.

Thank you for reading, see you later.


I'm wondering what you want me to say.

I'm wondering what you want me to talk about. I mean I tend to ramblings already but I'm wondering what you are interested.

I could talk about books that I like to reference often. I might do a post about that.

We could talk about aspect ratios that I'm finding pleasant. Like this one of Dan the model. I had reference photos of his face from a class way back, and when I had to crop it for a painting I decided on this size. It's like only 21 inches tall, but there's something about this ratio that seems to be working for me. Not a lot of dead space going on here, but that might just be yellow being varied enough to hold up that corner. I'm going to keep on talking about this, 'cause I don't like how this paragraph breaks underneath the photograph. This paintings is done on paper adhered to a panel with matte medium. A drawing was done then fixed. A coat of clear gesso was then applied over it.

Whatever the case may be it showed up again in my portfolio with this painting of a security guard's daughter. This one, the reference photo was already cropped and I didn't have access to the original photo to make any decision on how it was going to be cropped. Also the original was in black and white. The guy gave me two photographs of his daughter, one vertical wise in color, and the other horizontal as you see here, but in black n' white. I thought the horizontal composition was stronger. I had to use the color photograph for color ideas as I worked on the black n' white composition. If that makes any sense. I think working from that awkward situation really pushed this painting into areas I hadn't been to. The space the figure inhabits has some direct thought put into it, that seems to stand up to the figure.

It was a hassle, but it's one of my only paintings where the background doesn't feel that influenced by Tim Harney. It starts to look like something that's truly me. The thing is though, I was painting that area when I was frustrated with the paintings and not keeping up with my journal, so I'm not exactly sure what my train of thought was when working on it. However, from this I'm able to transition into my newest painting. Which I'm doing in spirit of this aspect ratio that seems to be working very well for me.

It is a portrait of my now deceased Grandfather on my mother's side. She's been asking me to do a portrait of him forever, and right now as I get setup to put some thought out ideas down onto panel I thought I could bust out this portrait and make her really happy. She comes from a family of eight so once this semester is done I'm going to be sending it home to see how all my aunts and uncles respond.

My class was saying that my grandfather looks like Hunter S. Thompson...

It didn't hurt either that she sent me the photograph up with a care package right when I was scrambling to set up a new painting. I had to scan in the photograph since it's analogue (and also they had flash on it seems) but I was able to get a nice resolution and crop it nice to what I'm comfortable with. The panel is prepared with polymer gesso rather than my usual homemade gesso with animal fat. However, when I put the rabbit skin glue on top of it and let it dry the paint started to do wonderful things. It's acting much like the first portrait of Mike Vance, and being very fluid on the surface. This plus the fact that I have some newly mixed safflower oil and stand oil mediums set up kindly by my roommate Jordan Elquist, creates a new arena that I'm enjoying. Though the stand oil is making this thing take forever to dry. It's still a work in progress and I'll follow up once I'm done with it.

I'm thinking of doing a follow up piece with my 3 uncles in it. Then after that I'll hopefully be prepare to take on my more advanced ideas and start looking back into my meta painting theories. I'm trying my best to put a lot of forethought into my paintings, in general, before I jump into them. But these family portraits however, are done off of old scrapbook analogue photographs. There's not much to think about besides cropping. The painting's purpose is simple, my family would like a painting of our grandfather. No grand statements about what paintings should be doing. Just a portrait that I know would make a lot of people happy.

Alright I think I'm going to wrap this up for now. Drop me a comment to tell me what you think about this blog. It should be updated more regularly than my other two. Also, I want to know what you guys want me to ramble about. I think the next post is going to be about books that I think are valuable to artists, but after that I'm blank. Give this scattergun some direction.

Thank you for reading, more soon hopefully.