“Commodity Suicide” A Series

I have since been studying the decay of capitalism in modern society.  The dialectic of commodity and how it moves from the evangelical to the excremental.  How consumerism has become a kind of duty.  How we are prosletized to by the market through immense visual stimulation in the form of advertisement.  This series is the product of my study of consumerist society.

Fur die letzte jahr habe ich der zerfall der capitalisumus ins zeitgenossichegesellschaft studiert.  Die Dialektik der Ware macht heilig und es macht scheisse.  Wie consumerismus ein heilge pflicht geworden. Wir sind durch die markt missionert zu.  Mein Serie is der product meine studium von Konsumerentierenkultur.

 

Buddha/Stormtrooper: Buying Art by RYCA

 

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So today I made the first installment on a payment for a new piece for my art collection; A Bronze Buddha with the head of Storm trooper.
   So I came across this art piece because I routinely keep scrupulous tabs on the local art scene between here and L.A.  While checking my email I came across a show at a “lowbrow” art show in Santa Monica featuring a collection of works by British artist RYCA (Short for Ryan Callanan).  He’s rather well known in the UK and this was his debut show here in the states.   Anyway the galleries that I frequent typically shun the “lowbrow” art scene.
  So why did I invest in a bronze storm trooper for exorbitant amounts of money opposed to going to target and buying a plastic hasbro action figure for $9.95? First off that term lowbrow does is not in some way invalidating; it is a legitimate art movement.  Second I love Andy Warhol and I love Star Wars (refer to my critique of Warhols book here.)   RYCA represents the new dawn of pop artists like Jeff Koons or Mauro Peruchetti who can actually pull of pop art in a way that is fresh and not anachronistic.  Pop needs to be: transient, expendable, low cost, mass produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous and big business, RYCA’s work is just firing on all of these cylinders.
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    Don’t confuse the lowbrow with the anti-intellectual, this artist is definitely a thinking mans artist.  His use of imagery is incredibly perfect for its place and time.  I know that Star Wars imagery is obsessive in the lowbrow scene but the way RYCA does it is entirely tangential.   By colliding religious symbolism with pop iconography he is making a very bold statement.  His work challenges our notions of devotion.  He blends the space between the sacred and profane radically changing the connotations behind our beloved pop heroes.  The Star Wars mythology has become pure commodity as Lucas expands his franchise into perverse dimensions of capitalism creating zealous fan boy consumers. Likewise, undying devotion has been the ongoing enterprise of religion.  RYCA shows us that cathedrals of the modern age aren’t made of brick and mortar but they have been transplanted by the entertainment industry, movie theaters, shopping malls etc.  Nowadays we find ourselves turning on the television with almost religious resignation and fans show zealous determination and piety.  Thats why they are called fans (fanatic).  11190808_676697975791087_1638102945_n 2
  To me RYCA brings high art to low art.  Once again I need to stress that “lowbrow” in no way should be diminutive as a term, it is merely colloquialism to describe the movement in general.
   I purchased this piece from the Copro gallery the owner of which started the magazine Juxtapoz.

Representing San Diegan Culture Through Narrative

Part 8

The History of San Diego is a series that I have been developing over the past few months which has turned out to be a huge success.

Every month I release a new section of the book which will comprise at least 10+ booklets.   The story chronicles a fictionalized history of San Diego as seen through my eyes and narrated through short prophetic tales.  I have already completed part 1 and part 2 and I am currently working on part 3.

Each book is meticulously drawn up with vivid landscapes and interesting, memorable characters.  I have tailored each story to have a valuable lesson or a moral to it so that it instills ideas and promotes thought among the San Diego community.  It is not meant to be taken as a piece of literal history but rather an exception in the form of legendary mythology.

Tierra Diego

The booklet is latched together by a clip which is an equally interesting little artistic object. The booklet is about 2.75 x 4.25 and easily can hold a business card or a small flier.   About 100 of these charming booklets are held in a specially designed display case which is completely made and painted entirely by hand.   So far I have the case displayed at six different locations around San Diego.

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Customers appreciate the hands on approach to this cultural iconography.  In fact the book has been such a success that it has been used as in example to teach in many local artist workshops.  These books are distributed freely and have been very very popular at each location which they are displayed.  However because of the massive demand and popularity I can’t keep up restocking 1000 booklets per week without some sort of return. I want to keep this book free for the public and the only way for me to do that is to expand my business by allowing other local businesses to use the success of my work to promote themselves. The booklet is about 2.75 x 4.25 and easily can hold a business card or a small flier 

I can fill them with your business card or (for a small fee) I can draw a coherent and interesting flier to accompany the booklet which will promote your small business.

The prices for including the amount of cards are as follows.

HOVSEPIAN

The History of San Diego

Product Category

Price

40 Cards

$50

100 Cards

$100

200 Cards

$175

300 cards

$225

500 cards

$375

Custom Card Service

$100

Custom Story Book

$1,500

For a special price I can include your company as an integral part of the theme of one of the book which also will include a full page spread of your advertisement.

Contact me to get your business active in this cultural phenomenon.

davidjhovsepian@gmail.com

(858)229-8311

See you in San Diego.

An Art Contest Commemorating the Armenian Genocide

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In Los Angeles there is a contest called The Centennial Art Contest which was put out by Council Member Paul Krekorian to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.  Submissions are being accepted up to the date of February 15.  I suggest all Armenians submit a piece of art.  The winner will have her/his art on display on local buses for a whole month.

This contest is important to me because I strongly believe that it gives Armenians a chance to engage and share their own culture.  For one we get to recognize and reflect on our history while at the same time building and creating elements of our culture through artistic medium. It is opportunities like this that help us to keep our identity alive and shape ourselves ethnically as a people.

For my art piece I used a digital painting program called Corel Painter. This allowed me to be incredibly versatile in the way that I worked my image.  It allowed me to make the mistakes I needed to make while still retaining a buffer by which to have time to adjust in order to refine the piece down to minute details.

The painting is called “A Memory of the Armenian Genocide for the Next Generation.”  This piece is meant to reflect on the resilience of the Armenians as a people to endure great hardships. Through specific imagery I show how the Armenian culture has survived and grown stronger through adversity.

Two central elements which I drew from were the colors of the Armenian flag and the stylistic imitation of the highly skilled artistry of Armenian rugs. These symbols are meant to provide a sense of historicity behind the art piece.  For one Armenian rugs have been a staple of Armenian art for generations and the national flag of Armenia is a symbol of solidarity of a people.

“WE ARE ALIVE!”  The art piece proclaims.  It makes it’s bold statement from the crimson red sheets of Armenian lettering which make up the center of the image as well as the English translation below. Here the very presence of this art piece is evidence that the Armenian culture is very much alive and thriving.  This art piece is meant to be bold and announces its presence to the City of Los Angeles where so many Armenians sought refuge after immigrating from their lost homelands.

I am very fortunate to be considered as an applicant of this generous contest.  I feel that I am making my contribution to my community and an addition to the Armenian culture in general.  I hope that I can help to inspire many more Armenian artists to keep our culture alive.

Freaks of Nature Presents: The Sword of Damocles

The freedom of potentiality is a looming dagger of anxiety
Contingent space separates me from the thin thread of becomming
The I am is not what it is soon to become
The flux of temporality surges me toward unforeseen fate
separated by the thin thread of possibility
What content holds a being I am not yet
This state to the next is sustained by the teathers of causality
This anguish of lamenting freedom of possibility hurls me blindly toward an immanent future unforeseen
A future with no conent
A voidness at my face which cannot be pierced
I am not what I will be
I am not what I was
Freedom demands I reinvent myself a new
In the contingent liberty death of existence becomes a real woe
The sword of damocles sways upon its tether
The prior dies and the subsequent is born
And having been is a with past I am
Sustaining its parasitic existence on the lonely island of my psyche
dead to all but itself
Who other than the subject can add value to its existence
The present exigence must die in past in order to be a found
Existence is constantly dying before my eyes
This is the melody of my humanity
The responsibility of life should be left to those
Who can let alone the itch
Of contingency
Stare down the spike of the sword
As it stares down at them
Life is a great fortune and great peril
For who would bare such fardels?
And to give this presence meaning
falls on me
Condemned to be free
My feet kick against the current
Hoping to hit upon land
It reaches out to something outside itself
Falls on nothing
We swim the ocean of nothingness until we drown
There the sword of anguish balances upon its string
Vanity of vanities

How I Turned A Bloody Paycheck Stub into Art

   This series was called “Bureau” because there were very specific conditions which needed to be in place during its creation. 

  These conditions were:

  • That each piece be assembled during business hours at an ordinary job
  •  Second that each object be created entirely from items found in a typical office

    I decided to pursue this series because, like most Americans in the middle class, I found myself in a cycle of conventional wage employment unable to escape in order to actualize my own life.  My identity was consistently being haunted by the specter of corporate management due to the fact that my actions were daily under their external control.   For eight hours a day I observed the object of my body  as an appendage of the corporation. Everything that I produced was the private ownership of the other.  I had for once experienced a form of soft slavery.  This alienation from the product of my labor caused me to realize that in order to actualize I had to re-establish a new identity the subject of which could not be this corporate entity. That is how I began this body of work. 

   I am including a few pieces which are actual invoices from the company I work at.  I shredded them and reassembled them.  This is an index of rebirth. It is meant to be the shedding off of the corporate image.  It is, instead, employee as the subject and not the object.  Another piece which I have included is the joining together of my own blood onto a real paycheck stub.  This exposure of my personal information is shared together with the exposure of the veins from my body.  Blood alone turns the wheels of history and this is shown through not only the exposure of the contents of my veins but the contents of my personal information.   The paycheck stub is also a symbol of  an event or experience.  Since the paycheck is only an object to represent metaphysical sequence of memories the personal blood that splatters on the face of the paper is the coming together of that material world and the metaphysical dimensions of memory.   

   These images are important because they not only reflect a deep personal history but because they are also a part of the history of the American working class.

Fracture 1 Put Through a Paper Shredder Fracture 2 Put Through a Paper Shredder Fracture hand 1 Master Master:Slave Dialectic The Nest

Letters From the Cubicle Farm

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The best days of our lives are being stolen from us. The pay that they give us will not even be a slight recompense to what they take.

The only thing more precious than gold is time.
hint: we never will get it back

Don’t ever dilute yourself into thinking that wage slavey (modern day employment) is some kind of business venture. You don’t make a profit off of your grind. Wage is a simple exchange, it is fixed and predetermined between you and your employer. Don’t ever forget it. Your pay day is just a per diem to ensure your return. Like the slave masters who give their slaves room and board. That’s all a wage is. Pittance. Don’t die so you can come back tomorrow.

Employer/Employee Dialectics: While the employee wants to do the least amount of work for the most pay the employer wants to get the most amount of work for the least pay.

We’ve been forsaken. To believe in the system that funnels us into passionless mundane jobs. The capitalist system needs complacent employees, that’s what schools were invented for, to train the next batch of rejects.

Good art can’t be made from the cubicle farm.  You have to escape, you have to deprogram yourself and learn to be creative again.  The system doesn’t want creativity, because creativity is a product of imagination.  Imagination is the enemy of the system, it demands subordination, it demands that it’s edicts be followed.

Why don’t people know they are slaves?

I think that Hollywood helps to perpetuate the false life.  For once in the history of humanity a class of people exists purely to facilitate ideology.  With all of their excessive glamour and ostensible lifestyles the entertainment industry has become the virtual life of so many middle class people.  We spend our lives obsessing over the pointless lives of these stars. Watching them religiously, vicariously living their lives and virtually interacting with them through our televisions and computers.

What would a world be like without hollywood or the entertainment industry?  
How would we spend our free time?  

Entertainment has become the new opiate of the masses.  It helps us to cope with the fact that we are, in essence…slaves.

On Finding Your Artistic Voice and Making an Impact on the World

“Talent is when you have something to say but genius is when you have something interesting say.”

The Elements of Artistic Style

Art is your medium of expression. It is the platform by which you communicate with the world. In a world where everybody is a winner it is really hard to tell if your work is ingenius or if your just being placated by your peers.  You may have plenty of talent but talent is the result of years of labor intense building upon your craft.  On top of that you may have focused too hard on the technical aspects of your work making your study far too systemic for exploration.  Style is essential to having an impact on the world.

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Be Recognizable:   

Artistic style is like a thumbprint, it is particular to the artist who created it. Your art will have to embody your personal character.

If you get to know the work of Dali or Picasso you begin to see an overall consistency within the body of work. If I see a painting  with long flowing penmanship, a dynamic attention to detail, a precise layering of paint, like an old masters work, along with strange phantasmagorical imagery, I know that I am looking at an art piece by Salvador Dali.

There should be a distinctness to you work that viewers can only trace back to you.

Study the Styles of Others:

The study of Art can be omnivorous! Keep a database of all your favorite artists.  That includes: musicians, painters, sculptors, philosophers, entrepreneurs or anyone that inspires you.  Most likely the way that they inspire you, in some way,contributes to your own personality.  If you follow the element of artistic style your personality will be woven into the fabric of your art piece and so will  all those who you emulate.

Broaden your Horizons:

In order to make your art a lasting and meaningful experience you yourself have to have lasting and meaningful experiences.  Artists take people out of their reality.  If you have vibrant experiences or dreams then your art will be vibrant too and people are drawn to vibrancy and beauty.

Draw Outside the Lines:  

Don’t focus solely on technique. In order to create you have to play around.  Have tons of fun.  Treat your work like play.  When you reach a level of mastery those dynamic elements will be toys for your amusement.   Now you can draw from your vast experiences and put things together like an erector set or legos.

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To explore the realm of the human experience I like to study Philosophy.  For me I want my art to be deep and thought provoking and nothing is more so than the study of philosophy.

 note:  You can draw from whatever you want whether it be entertainment or your own history.  You don’t necessarily have to study philosophy in order to have an amazing message in your artwork.  

When we think of philosophy most people think of conniving old men in togas engaged in discourse about ascertaining the absolute truth.  Philsopophy is actually quite modest.  It is the most efficient modelling of human reality that we have.  Philosophy for ages has been obsessed with trying to interpret the human experience and draws upon a wide array of knowledge like:

1. metaphysics: the study of abstract dimensions.

2. Logic: Rationality and reason.

3. Aesthetics: Beauty and Art.

4. Ethics: Questions of morality and how men should interact with others.

5. Epistemology: Study of the empirical world.

I feel philosophy helps me to make my art deeper and more thought provoking.  Regardless of what study you find interesting in your studies the message you are trying to convey should come out seamlessly in your artwork.  Art is a way for us to see things through the subject of another.  It takes us out of our solipsism and helps us to engage reality in a whole new way.

COOL Beans

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Do You Want to Always Be Right? That’s a Rhetorical Question

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Rhetoric is the Philosophers Jiu-Jitsu.

Philosophers think in different ways.  In order to conceptualize their ideas they use words and when they use words they meet with other people in the world and here a philosopher needs to be able to show how his/her ideas fit into the spectrum of human reality.  When you meet your argument against another persons argument then it turns into something called dialectic.  

Dialectic –Dialectic is just a super fancy way of saying ” We are having a spirited conversation about our opinions.”  

Philosophers, like Plato, thought that these discussions should be aimed at establishing truth.  In this way dialectic wasn’t supposed to be about being right because that was not the goal.  However people got carried away with their own opinions.  They had to change how they argued in order to be right and thats when Aristotle made rhetoric!

Rhetoric:

Have you ever heard of people who like the smell of their own farts?  People who use rhetoric absolutely love the smell of their own farts.  They love the smell of their farts so much that they think other people should be smelling their farts so they use persuasive tactics to manipulate others into smelling their farts.

The Rhetorician has an arsenal in his toolkit:

1. Ethos:  If you want to give credibility to your argument you have to be a valid source of authority.  If a greased up hobo came at you with a syringe saying, “You need your medicine,” You would run (if your smart) but if a doctor came at you with a syringe saying “You need your medicine you’d sit there and take your fucking medicine!” Ethos means we’ll take your word for it because your super smart.

  note:  You don’t necessarily have to be an authority on a subject you can always “fake it.”  

2. Pathos:  Try and get your audience all stirred up.  Appeal to their emotions, win them over with arguments that “Just sound nice” or use flowery language. Using music can be a good way of manipulating your audience.  Music choice gives you a good basis to know when to cry and when to laugh.

3. Logos:  This is probably the actual nuts and bolts of rhetoric as you can’t really have an argument without appealing to a persons sense of reason.

Rhetoric is the fine art of learning to win battles with your words.  Your to craft your ability to use language along with some other attributes to influence your opponent to accept your position.

 My Favorite Rhetorical Stratagems

Extension:  Extend a proposition way past your opponents given propositions.  Take it to the outer limits of craziness and then exaggerate it even more.  Make his argument into the most absurd notion ever wiped from someones intellectual derriere.

Sophism:  A sophism is an argument that “seems” valid but is really untrue.  So start from the proposition “I am a white man.”

opponent:  No way! You’re as dark as the night sky.

You:  Then smile and show him your teeth and say:
“My teeth are white and my teeth are a part of me ergo I am a white man.”

Per Negatium Consequentiae:  The argument itself is directly refuted simply by denying the conclusion.  Even if your opponent gives you a valid logical argument like:

1. Everything that is blue is a carrot

2. The sky is blue.

Ergo the sky is a carrot           (This a logically valid argument)

To refute this all you have to do is disagree with the conclusion.  Keep saying, “NO THE SKY IS NOT A CARROT!”  Completely ignore the premises and just focus on the conclusion.  Keep doing that until it becomes really annoying and your opponent gives up.

Ad Hominem: This is my personal favorite. Ad Hominem means simply “Toward man” Or “At the man.”  Ad Hominem is when you bypass your opponents argument and you directly begin making stabs at his personal character, judgement, protruding stomach etc.

My favorite Ad Hominem statement is : “FUCK YOU!”

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