Mass Migration

Mass Migration
Collage Painting by Colin Hoisington

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Periodical Update of my Latest Painting

These are little snapshots that I will show from time to time. I am documenting the painting process using stop motion photography.  But there is still a long way to go.
June 12th 2012

late May

Early May

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Collage of Ideas about Collage and Culture

#1 of the Series:  Ignorance is Bliss (Prueba de Artista) by Colin Hoisington

Collage as Culture: the foundation and vehicle for cultural evolution and how intellectual property rights constrain it. This article is a collage itself, made up of pre-existing ideas about how it shapes society and its artistic practices. 

As an artist myself that uses collage as a method for developing ideas, I have found freedom and an increased confidence thanks to articles and literature that support fair-use. Art itself is an investigation, where building upon preexisting knowledge should be as hailed and supported as much as it is in scientific research.

We start with a comprehensive article by Jonathan Lethem that lays-out the current state of the question. Through interviews with revolutionary hip-hop music artists Chuck-D and Shocklee we will see examples of how collage gives birth to new creations. Then, an example based argument by Rob Storr illustrating that copying, stealing, borrowing, or appropriating has always been integral to the essence of creation. Finally, a short video from 1997 predicting the future of communications which highlights some ideas by, the author of Free Culture(PDF download link), Lawrence Lessig.

The article, The ecstasy of influence: A plagiarism, By Jonathan Lethem, starts off by raising questions about originality within the artistic canon. Was Lolita first thought of by Vladimir Nabakov, or far before? Was Bob dylan borrowing or stealing his lyrics from Shakespeare and F. Scott Fitzgerald? The article goes on to question whether culture should be treated as a market where everything of value is owned. Lethem speaks about " source hypocrisy" where corporations such as Disney appropriate fables such as Snow White, Fantasia, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi, Cinderella, but threaten to sue Pop-Artists who would then dare to use its imagery. Should art be viewed as Commons, such as roads, the beach or sky, which is used by everyone and owned by no one. What happens when pre-existing knowledge from one field of study is applied in a different field or context.
(I originally found this article in the blog

In one of my favorite excerpts from Lethems article he speaks about the existence of collage in the evolution of art in music.

"Blues and jazz musicians have long been enabled by a kind of “open source” culture, in which pre-existing melodic fragments and larger musical frameworks are freely reworked."

The Origins of Sampling (Music)

Wikipedia defines Sampling: In music, sampling is the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a sound recording in a different song or piece.........

A link between sampling and "open source" culture is made in the podcast (embedded below) featuring Hank Shocklee of the rap group Public Enemy, a pioneer in musical collage and hip-hop, and Professor KEMBREW McLEOD (Professor, Department of Communication, University of Iowa).  
FLATOW: Hank, let's start with you. As producer for Public Enemy, you really treated sampling as collage, putting pieces together. How did you come up with this technique?
Mr. SHOCKLEE: Actually, it just came from my DJ and radio, you know, experience. And it was it was actually another DJ that came and he mixed - he was mixing like four records together and it sounded like -to me - it sounds like a mess to everybody else.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. SHOCKLEE: But to me, I heard something that was unique in it. And because all the different, you know, textures just playing off of each other gave another rhythm. It created another sense of harmony. It created another sense of timing and different things. So it kind of like - that aspect of it kind of like propelled me into wanting to do more of those things on a commercial level, as you put it.
FLATOW: Right, right. And it became a more complex with the technique as you moved along.
Mr. SHOCKLEE: Correct.
FLATOW: Yeah. Kembrew, how important is sampling in pop culture today?
Prof. McLEOD: Well, I think it's basically the central part of popular culture if you think about social networking and the way that people interact with each other across great distances. And they get to collaborate with each other, you think about open-source software, the way that people collaboratively create stuff, they're essentially taking samples of computer code and remixing them.
And the same is true with music. I mean, I know a 12-year-old who make mash-up videos on YouTube and upload them. It's just - it's almost part of the DNA of - not just youth culture but just popular culture more generally.

Written excerpt from the podcast: Digital-Music-Sampling-Creativity-Or-Criminality
LICHTMAN: introduce us to the concept of sampling, which is basically taking a snippet of a song and repurposing it. And for the purpose of this segment, we thought we'd do a little demonstration. So what we first have is this song, which is by James Brown, "Funky Drummer." It's one of the most sampled songs in history.
(Soundbite of song, "Funky Drummer")
LICHTMAN: That drum beat...
LICHTMAN: ...that you hear is sampled all over the place. And so, a musician would take that drum beat and pick it out of the thing. And so, let's hear then the sample from that song.
(Soundbite of song, "Funky Drummer")
LICHTMAN: That's it.
FLATOW: Just took it out.
LICHTMAN: Just - exactly.
FLATOW: And now he's going to take that and make something new with it.
LICHTMAN: So the next step is taking the drum beat and then looping it. So here's a loop.
(Soundbite of song, "Funky Drummer")
FLATOW: Over and over, it keeps playing.
LICHTMAN: Oh, repeat, repeat, repeat.
LICHTMAN: And then that becomes the basis of a new piece of - a new song. 

The next interview features Chuck D, a colleague of Shocklee who also played a crucial part in the birth of sampling.                         
Stay Free!: What are the origins of sampling in hip-hop?
Chuck D: Sampling basically comes from the fact that rap music is not music. It's rap over music. So vocals were used over records in the very beginning stages of hip-hop in the 70s to the early '80s. In the late 1980s, rappers were recording over live bands who were basically emulating the sounds off of the records. Eventually, you had synthesizers and samplers, which would take sounds that would then get arranged or looped, so rappers can still do their thing over it. The arrangement of sounds taken from recordings came around 1984 to 1989.

Justification for sampling, absurdity of intellectual property in art, and stealing vs citing.  

I found this webcast at  Rob Storr details how the origins of art was based on pupils copying the work of there masters, and that the idea of originality in art is a relatively new phenomenon.  He goes on to explain how masters such as Picasso were infamous for "stealing" others ideas or styles, that outright stealing ideas can lead to fame whereas giving homage leaves the artist with little or no recognition.

The Case for Appropriation: Rob Storr (Joy Garnett, Rob Storr, SVA ) / CC BY 3.0

The future of communications and copyrights final days.

His book, Free Culture(PDF download link), is fundamental to the movement of open-source software and net-neutrality. The following video is from 1997 and predicts the future of communications. The accuracy of the predictions up to today are astonishing. The video also mentions Lessig and his concept of "free culture". 

The video points out an interesting idea that, as technology increases, the ability to determine what is real and what is a digital representation will become increasing blurred and complicated.  Just look at what 3D imagery is doing today in 2012.  Hologram technology is now picking up steam and may soon make 3D imaging a relic of the past. 

It appears that copyright and intellectual property have had little to no place in history and nor will it have any in the near future.  

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Open Enrollment | The “I” and the “We”

Art Literature Review

The article Open Enrollment by Andrea Fraser, found on the blog art21 shows the perspective of a fine arts graduate student, having completed her studies and now entering the ¨real world¨. My favorite excerpt questions,  

"Is the problem the old conundrum of whether art is necessary or not? Are we as artists superfluous because art is only valuable as long as it can be commodified, either as a good that will appreciate in value, or as bait for tourists and wealthy patrons?"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Inspirational Work

I stumbled upon this Smoke drawing from Edie Nadelhaft while reading the blog Two Coats of Paint.

My natural persuasión to surrealist ideals immediately began projecting and morphing the smoke into figures of weightless dancers floating through space (also a project that I have been developing for some time).  A few years ago I made some digital drawings where I took images of dancers captured in acrobatic poses and liquified them, giving similar results to the drawing above. But the inherent context of weight that liquid carries, and gave to the image, always gave me a contradictory and unsatisfying conclusion.
Draft: Liquified dancers. by Colin Hoisington

I went to the artist Edie Nadelhaft's webpage and read this small excerpt:
 "Until recently, my work has been very heavy (see above). With Smoke, a new series of drawings, I employ light materials (paper, pencil) to describe a weightless subject (smoke) in delicate lines and soft shades of muted color. As in my paintings, the materials underscore the subject matter in these works which explore the more transient, ethereal aspects of existence."
The heaviness in my work is also very apparent and lately somewhat concerning. This has led to a recent fascination and attempt to capture scenic photographs of fog, clouds, steam and evaporation. To my delight I have found it impossible to capture its magnificent subtlety, smoothness, and delicacy with a camera, thus giving me the perfect excuse to express it through paint.

The image above has revived a dormant and marinating idea that just needed a small push. "Don't liquify the dancer's,,,,,,, free them into the atmosphere!"

Draft 2: Liquified dancers now evaporated, by Colin Hoisington
By playing with opacities, blurs, and overlays, I was able to give the image a lighter feeling. The next step is to use the image as a reference and then paint it. I believe with very soft layers of translucent paint, the effect can be enhanced incredibly.

Also interesting was when I overlayed the smoke drawing on top.
Draft 3: Evaporated dancers overlayed with smoke drawing
The image becomes much more fluid again, but also too much noise,,,,,it has lost its sense of peace. The key will be in the process of painting the image.  Where I will be able to decide what elements to keep and enhance and what elements to fade or eliminate.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Quotes and Definitions

1.   "Literature and Art are instruments for presenting that which can not be described nor seen."
"La lituratura y el Arte son un instrumento para mostrar aquello que no se puede decir ni mirar de cerca."
M. Teresa Lopez de la Vieja, Etica y Literatura, Madrid, Tecnos 2003), p.270 

2.  "Una sensibilidad narrativa nos obliga a atender al contexto; en mas relacional que decisional."                                    

H.Brody: Stories of Sickness (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1987, 171-181. 
(note: I don't have the ability to translate the above quote, too difficult for me. It would be great if someone could, and then post it.)

Taken from class: Procesos de Creacion: Aproximacion Transdisciplinar. Prof. Jesus Camerero

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Related Artists

Artistis with Relation to my Current Investigation

Dorothea Tanning, (Fusion of human figures and natural elements)(sculpture, painting, fabric, human figure).

This exhibition at the Reina Sofia, Madrid 2010, was extremely moving to me for reasons I am still trying to decipher. The ambiguous forms acted like a blank canvas for my subconscious to project itself freely and blissfully. An analysis of the artist will follow soon. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Periodical Update of my Current Collage Painting

Notes from class, "A new imagination"

Response to the article "Una nueva Imaginacion"(Español), "A new Imgination"(English), by
Vilem Flusser

This article gives support, meaning, defense, and perhaps inspiración to why artists, especially painters, today are doing what they are doing. Flusser defends that there exists today a new imagination distinct from the past. One that is more concerned with creating a vision of the world instead of reporting.  The quote below stood out to me the most. 

The old pictures are tables of orientation within the world: they point at the world, they 
show it, they mean it. The new ones are projections of calculating thought: they point 
at thought, they show it, they mean it. Now thought itself does not mean the world as 
it is, but as it could be.

{Original text en enspañol} "Los cuadros viejos son tablas de orientación dentro del mundo: señalan hacia
al mundo, lo muestran, lo representan. Los nuevos son proyecciones del
pensamiento calculador: señalan hacia el pensamiento, lo muestran, lo
representan. Pero ahora el pensamiento en sí no representa el mundo como
es, sino como podría ser."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Art Review

At the Tabacalera, Lavapies Madrid, an occupied ¨squaters¨ community center, I just visited the latest exhibition by:
Gervasio Sánchez.

An impressive exhibition of photos taken from all over the world in locations infamous for human rights abuses.  Above is an image that impacted me greatly.  Clearly it touches on my current body of work that deal with human migration caused by social and environmental pressures. Also relates to an idea that is developing in my mind that I will one day create artwork around. The idea is about the ignorant bliss that we assume in western culture.

For example, I have friends that live in paradise that want nothing to do with the sadness of the world, and are occupied with raising their kids, living well and appreciating what they have.  Then I have friends actively involved in trying to make the world a better place. People from this side of the spectrum have said to me, "how can I be happy in a world so sadly out of balance,,,, injust". I can see clearly both perspectives.  I find myself sliding from one extreme to the other.

 How can I represent this in a future art project?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Art is in the Process #2

Printing onto non-absorbant surfaces. The original image is a collage I made, inspired by Gustav Klimt, The Medicina:

Trial 1:
Print the image on polyurethane, slightly coated with patented chemical from profesor Julian Irujo

Ink runs slowly. The desired effect is achieved.  I made a mistake and sprayed acrylic varnish, thinking that it would seal the print. The ink was not dry yet and spread into little droplets where ever the spray landed. This can be seen on the top part of the image.  Slightly interesting how the image changes into droplets, but not what im looking for at this point.

Trial 2:
Print on uncoated polyurethane

Result: Ink runs fast, the image is almost completely lost.

Trial 3:
Print on uncoated polyurethane with faster print setting. I had hoped that the ink would run less.

Image was jammed in the printer.  Somewhat interesting results, but not interested in this at the moment.


Trial 4:
Print on wax coated pallet paper

ink runs slowly, desired effect is achieved. Hung vertical to dry.  BUT....
3 days later....

Result after 3 days: Ink still not dry and continues to run. Effect is very interesting, but will be stored in memory for use another day.

Trial 5:
Print on pallet paper, setting on printer is for photographic paper: Thus it will expel a greater quantity of ink.
Ink runs fast and out of control. I decide to transfer the image to super alpha paper by rubbing vigorously the reverse side.

2nd Result: 
Poor quality in the technique used.  Will try to transfer with hydrolic press another day. The scraping pattern shows through clearly. Could be interesting to compose a relief drawing, contouring the forms while transferring. 

Trial 6:

Print on pallet paper with printer setting on minimal ink usage.

Image appears almost normal. Boring

Trial 7:

Print on pallet paper, printer set to medium ink usage.

Ink runs slowly. Will allow to dry for one week in horizontal position.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Perforated Borders, Mixed Media, Oil Painting, 2011

I present, Perforated Borders, the first to be completed for a new body of work. This mixed media/oil painting was completed in summer 2011.

Art literature review

1. The Painted Word
by Tom Wolf

      This book came to my attention as a professor described it as "ground breaking" in its day, around the 70s. I found it to be nothing short of that. A brillant summary of the Modern Art movement, compressed into a 3 hour read. Many of my friends tell me they just dont understand modern, or contemporary, art. I believe this book could be a quick and effective way to break this barrier.

2. Where is creativity? An approach to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi´s systems model

Defining creativity from my experience is difficult. This read has changed my idea of what it actually means.  I have found inspiration in the idea, presented by the author, that creativity is a cultural and social event.    The quote below is one of my favorites.
"Creativity is the engine that drives cultural evolution"

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Video Links for Colin Hoisington

A presentation of my past work in Pecha Kucha format. Spoken in Spanish

A mural I painted summer 2012, in an occupied "squaters" community-center, in Madrid. Its a piece based on the 15-M movement in Spain.

Periodical update of latest painting

Latest painting about 1/3 complete, April 27th 2012.

Latest painting, 1/3 complete

Alternatives to Galleries

Today I found out that in Spain there are places called, casas de cultura, where proposals for exhibiciones are accepted and considered. A spectacular alternative to the exclusive world of galleries, and the seemingly pointless exhibiciónes in cafes, bars, and restaurants. It has been recommended to me to search for these by their corresponding comunidades.  Below is a list of links where they can be found.

Pais Vasco:

Art is in the Process

The following is a record of one experimental process combining print making and painting.

The Studio
Starting point: a line drawing of figures, one stacked on top of the other. The drawing is scratched in to sheetglass and transfered to paper through a press

The same drawing is done with oil sticks and transferred to paper through a press

The last two steps are combined, and both pressed onto paper.

The same drawing is carved into pinewood making a stamp. Rootlike structures fill in and surround the drawing.

 The stamp, along with a bed of foam, are pressed into super alpha paper using a hydrolic press.

Watercolor is added


 It is observed that when the watercolor is wet, the color is vibrant. Here acrylic medium is combined with water and watercolor in an attempt to capture this effect.  

More detailed drawing is desired for a starting point

Drawing transferred to Stamp 2, carved out of MDF

Hydrolic press onto Super Alpha paper

Close up to show the relief and natural shadows.

Coated with watercolor and acrylic gel medium

Coated with Oil Paint and acrylic resin

Coated with Oil Paint and acrylic resin.  Several layers of glazing using various colors

The original with no color is preferred. A change in material is chosen instead.  Canvas is coated several times with Acrylic gel medium

More dynamic angle

The soft texture of the canvas is incredile, although cant be seen from this photo. The next phase will be experiments in using different fabrics and mediums. Next: rabbit skin glue on canvas.