untitled (Coral)
acrylic and oil on canvas

When my brother and I were young, our mom had a room installation in the house with neon abstract paintings, cut out images and wooden carnival animal heads.  It completely took over the entire space.  I'd love to recreate that feeling, but with a less skilled, more childish feel.

I know, this is a departure.  I've been working on several messy, bright paintings like the one above this week while listening to Maria Minerva.  I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this particular painting, but I really enjoy falling out of my very controlled zone.
Besides the fluorescent palette, I let technique go and replaced it with garishness.  Stippling, a technique I never use, has created piles of oil paint, making the surface very textural in a way I usually dislike.  The overall effect is a little Lisa Frank, drowning.  Or drunken Key West art walk.  Or Dade-County Youth fair. At best, maybe a Floridan Andreas Golder?



I had a successful dinner party a couple of nights ago and wanted to share a recipe I've created.  The style of cooking is related to the Sichuanese stir fried chili and chicken cubes ( 辣子鸡丁), but with a distinctive Indonesian feel. Stir-fried dishes are really about timing, so pay attention to proper heat and cutting before you start cooking.  This is not an exact science, so play with the recipe a bit.

Stir fried chicken cubes in peanut sambal 
~you'll need~

* four chicken legs with attached thigh 
* 1/2 oil for frying
* About 4 heaping tablespoons of peanut sambal paste (try for a Thai or Indonesian brand at an Asian grocery.  Dry cakes are best.  Should contain such ingredients as lime leaves, chili, shallot, palm sugar) 

* teaspoon salt
* pinch of MSG (optional, but don't knock it!  It's magic with fried food) 

* 3/4 cup unsalted peanuts
* Two fistfuls asian shallot
* 1" piece of ginger, diced
* bit of green onion, green part, sliced in long pieces 
* 2 fresh Thai red chilis, split lengthwise

Using a sharp cleaver, break the chicken legs and thighs into bite sized pieces.  Most pieces will have a small bit of bone and meat attached: this is correct. Discard any bits of bone or skin that has come loose.  Do not add salt at this point, as it will dry out the meat.  

Heat oil in a wok on high heat.   Once oil is hot, add chicken in 4-6 small batches with a large slotted spoon. Chicken should cause the oil to "flare up" on contact.  Stir and fry until mostly cooked through, around 2-3 minutes per batch and set aside. Continue until all chicken is cooked. Remove oil from heat but keep in wok because you will refry soon.

Mix salt, msg and sambal paste in small bowl and set aside.  Peel and slice shallots, ginger and chili.

Once chicken has sat for at least five minutes, reheat the oil on high heat.  Refry all piece in small batches again.  The chicken fat from the previous frying that is in the wok will make the chicken pieces crispy.  Remove when chicken is cooked golden brown and yummy.  Next, fry peanuts until cooked and set aside.  Remove and reserve oil.

 Make sure all your cutting is done.  Heat one tablespoon of reserved oil on high heat in wok.  Stir fry shallots very quickly until they start to brown.  Add sambal mixture and cook in the oil.  Next, add ginger then splash in a 1/4 cup water to hot wok to prevent sticking and to bring up the flavors.  Then, add chicken and mix well with sauce, careful not to allow mixture to stick to bottom.  Add a tiny bit more water if needed.  Lastly, add peanuts and heat them up with the whole mixure.  Once water evaporates and sambal thickens, remove from heat and turn over on large serving tray.  Top with chopped green onions and lengthwise sliced chili.  Serve with rice and salad. 

* do not substitute chicken breasts in this recipe, unless you enjoy bone dry little morsels!
* Strain out reserved chicken fat using a thin mesh strainer and save in fridge.  This is delicious when making stirfry and beats plain oil any day.


blue crystals
oil on canvas

Shiny, glittery, nonrepresentational.  I finished this in a few hours, giving it a choppy, effortless, thick-lined feel.

I'm not sure about how I'm titling these latest paintings.  Maybe I shouldn't just say what they should physically represent but rather allow it to be an abstraction?  "Untitled" is a bit harsh.  Ideas?


I made this tote bag from the pair of leftover wool trousers legs and a really cute hand held manual sewing machine.  Simple and a bit wonky, but functional.


artificial wood grain
chalk on primed canvas
Textural drawing, inspired in part by Chinese false wood grain ceramic pillows I'd seen at the national museum.


 feathers, lace, fur
oil and marker on canvas

This is a much larger, much more freely painted piece than I usually do.  It started off about two months ago as a more contained and realistic illustration based on a collage from Vogue magazine clippings.  However, I think this abstracted, monstrous result, finished in around two hours while listening to extra loud John Maus, is far more appealing.


Attn: Catalina

I made the suit pants into short shorts, as we planned.  Why am I so shocked?  Perhaps it was the 90 cent fee and high quality outcome.  Or perhaps it's just my milk white thighs. Hmmm...


Song Dong's bed frame maze, which spilled into another room
 HOTO, a tremendous pagoda bejeweled with gem-like LED counters

"Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust," in the main hall

 Ariel giving me peace signs, eerily

There is a very good show up at Ullen's that Ariel and I went to see featuring two very accomplished sculptors.

Song Dong is the current Chinese art world darling, and for good reason.  His large scale installations and sculptures made up of broken down Communist-era furniture are just so completely topical.  The unfortunately titled "Wisdom of the Poor" contains carefully arranged flotsam that is so evocative of the traditional Beijing hutong; arranged round bricks of coal, neat piles of spare wood, a carefully leaning piece of discarded furniture, which all lead to a maze like room composed of carefully stacked wooden frame beds.  A vitrine of soap cakes, artfully arranged in colorful, building block patterns, saved and appreciated, is every bit about poverty.

Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima had several aggressive LCD light pieces, the most affecting being another poorly titled piece, ("Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust") which was a large room simply covered in blinking counting down lights.  As they count down to one, they disappear, but seem to reappear twice elsewhere.  This adds up until a "critical mass" of lights is created, and they suddenly completely shut off plunging the entire room into darkness.  An affecting, spiritual piece.


This French collaborative piece features a metal ball that, when touched, enables the user to be "played" like a musical instrument when others then touch the user.  It encourages contact.

Spiraling powdered Styrofoam in an enclosed chamber, a la MSG Newness


The day after I got back to Beijing, I saw the electrifying Translife New Media art triennial at the China National Art Museum.  The work was so varied and is impressive that it's hard to describe it all.  Touch sensitive fiber optic sculpture, a deprivation chamber, music created by "reading" Amazonian electric fish, eerie windmills made of sand filled plastic bottles, moldy lemons that produce poetry.  I had this feeling of confused wonder that reminded me of when I used to visit the Miami Museum of Science as a kid.  Some pieces created a sort of mad scientist environment, complete with test tubes and dry ice.  (I saw a Korean artist at Pin gallery in 798 that had a similar but more "end of the world" feel with chipped scientific glass and metal equipment attached to wooden pulleys.)  This is really worth checking out.