Etching Collaborations with Other Artists
Daniel Ponce Márquez
Juan Luis Buñuel
Jean Kazandjian's origins and education brought him into contact with three different cultures. His roots are in the Armenian tradition, his high school education introduced him to French culture,
while his years spent at the university opened him to the influence of the English-speaking world. After his "freshman arts" year in 1960, Kazandjian was unanimously the first prize for his
submission in a special competitive exhibition for tapestry, organized by the Sursock Museum of Beirut in 1962. Spurred on by his desire to become familiar with the techniques and the materials
peculiar to the cultural world in which he had grown up, he embarked on studies in design.
Kazandjian moved to Paris in 1963 during the height of the artistic revolution of the 20th century. As a consequence of the Diaspora brought on by the Armenian genocide in Turkey, Kazandjian’s family of Armenian descent lived in Beirut, the city often referred to as the “Paris of the Middle East.” Discovering his creative voice in the real Paris, Kazandjian’s paintings evolved in an ongoing engagement to transcend the boundaries of perception. This evolution has continued in a multitude of dimensions since the artist moved to California in 2000.
Gloria Orenstein, Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Southern California, wrote: “As we enter the visual world of Jean Kazandjian we encounter a cosmos in which everything is alive and everything is capable of dreaming. Not just Man, as Surrealist Andre Breton had defined him: “Man, that inveterate dreamer” but Woman, the landscape, and even art. Everything that is created has a spirit, and it is the spirit of a Dreaming Being. Kazandjian has captured them in their moments of reverie, as their spirits wander non-locally throughout the universe, and plunge into memories of the past, visions of the future, or into parallel lives in other dimensions.”
Kazandjian’s collectors span the globe and his work has been shown widely in Europe U.S., Canada and Japan both in public institutions such as The Brooklyn Museum, New-York, Musée de l’Athénée, Geneva, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, Musée du Surréalisme, Melun, Sursock Museum, Beirut and private galleries such as Galerie Jeanne, Munich, Galerie d’Orsay, Boston and Galerie Furstenberg, Paris. The artist currently lives and works in Venice, California. In describing his painted work, Kazandjian writes, "To me, painting came from the recognition that nothing is eternal. My works have a common point: a representation born from the duality of what is internal and external to man. When I conceal some segments of the painted surface or when I reveal it in part with screens, I bring into play the concepts of reality and illusion. The use of repeated figures is a challenge to transcend reality.”
At the beginning of 2002, Jean Kazandjian began his etching venture with Gary Eisenberg. Working at Eisenberg's studio, Kazandjian produced a total of 16 works, the most recent of which was completed in February 2003.
At the end of 2003, I was no longer able to continue my studio activities. Jean had started working on this plate, which we never completed. It showed great promise...
And here is a drawing that he did right from his head, no photograph, no horse in front of him - in a matter of minutes!
Jean Kazandjian recently had a solo show at Galerie Anais in Los Angeles, at Bergamot Station. Portions of the above information are from the Galerie Anais press release for this
Essay from Vasken's website, which you will want to visit, at www.vaskenm.com
The brush and the fury: Vasken Matyan’s abiding quest for inner freedom A patina of lucid indignation, often bordering on fury, suffuses the works of Vasken Matyan. It is the indignation of the conscientious denizen of the 21st century vis-à-vis an escalating onslaught of destructive forces that include environmental degradation, runaway consumerism and serialization as its concomitant, the curtailment of privacy and other civic rights in the name of “security,” and a fast-resurging Puritanism that seems to pervade conservative and ostensibly liberal societies alike. Architecture and architectonics are, in a manner of speaking, the building blocks of Vasken’s art. This is because he levels his critique – whether directed at the existential paradigms of the modern world or registering as a meditation on the realm of the metaphysical – by focusing on structures and their function as organizing principles: the structures of the socius, the edifices of the metropolis (and now, increasingly, the megalopolis), the economic and political underpinnings and assumptions called on to hold together the fickle fabric of the whole enterprise. Accordingly, geometric abstraction and constructivist forays are key esthetic strategies in most of Vasken’s paintings. The general effect is that of imposing, bigger-than-life architectural constructs that elicit an immediate emotional response while force-opening the doors of perception and provoking thought. The peculiar urgency of these aspects owes in no small measure to Vasken’s meticulously controlled subversion of framework and form: his compositions communicate a powerful sense of fracturedness and dislocation, of being askew to any number of degrees, and, ultimately, a profound alienation which, remarkably, refuses to give up on the possibility of meaningful, positive transformation. Dichotomy is another core approach in Vasken’s art. Often his canvases reveal a “before-and-after” or “now-and-the-future” scheme, in which statements about the present tense’s alarming state of affairs is juxtaposed with either an alternative vision or an indication of the logical, catastrophic outcome of current patterns of behavior. In one work, for instance, a monstrously arrogant pile of corporate greed and malfeasance (the foreground) is contrasted with an idyllic scene of nature, the latter functioning as both promise and threat – after all, it might soon vanish if capital’s raping of the environment continues unchecked. In another canvas, Vasken succeeds at once to direct the spectator’s eye on the seething pulse of a volcanic crater. The blood-red of the crater, intimating the uncertainty, paranoia, and essential instability of modern life (the volcanic eruption in wait) is juxtaposed with the azure of a peaceful sky in the background, pointing, perhaps, at a still-accessible measure of peace to which humanity has the option of turning. Color, indeed, is a decisive element in Vasken’s dichotomous compositions, serving to delineate clashing themes on the one hand and defining the respective intensity, menace, or potential hopefulness of diametrical forces on the other. But whereas this might be obvious enough, Vasken’s esthetic singularity lies in his signature “stucco” surfaces, whose intricately layered texture and precisely calibrated plays of shadow and light heighten coloration to an extraordinary level of eloquence – even while tackling subjects of considerable complexity. In an interview with this writer, Vasken said he is averse to clean, neatly constructed surfaces because they don’t allow one to “breathe.” “You need that rough, worn surface in order to connect with something beyond the disinfected and the polished,” he noted. That sense of connection comes through to dazzling light in one of the artist’s most poignant paintings, in which a forlorn twig stands like a screaming question mark in the middle of a road which leads to an ominous tunnel. The metaphors here can hardly be exaggerated. It’s the human predicament as we know it, particularly within the context of the post-Industrial-Age situation, whereby our very nature, and certainly nature itself, are threatened in the face of hyper-progress. The theme is further explored in a brazenly “clinical” work, in which Vasken envisions a blood clot suspended in air on its lonesome, rendingly murmuring about the fundamental malaise of modern life. When not flexing his brush for social or political commentary, Vasken is also given to producing paintings that can be described as pure studies in structure and form. In such works, with their side trips to the figurative and surreal (though more in the vein of de Chirico), Vasken often gives a nod to various masters, chiefly Kazimir Malevich and Arshile Gorky. Yet whatever the art-historical reference of such canvases, what deftly comes through is Vasken’s own, irreducible style, his voice, which, perhaps more than anything else, is capable of conveying a steadfast, pulsating quest for inner freedom.
Daniel Ponce Márquez
Daniel's life as an artist dates back to his adolescence. It was in the late sixties when he began his career in the world of art. He worked as a painter of traditional folklore themes for a
souvenir shop and produced oil on velvet paintings of classic rock n' roll legends. He was also singing in a band at the same time. After the breakup of the band, he became more focused and intent on
his art. It was then he began to work with airbrush on car murals. His work using this media was well received and gained him recognition in a series of articles in magazines, as well as
opportunities to work with some prominent muralists on projects in Los Angeles and other cities.
After completing a degree in Commercial Art, Daniel worked for the art department of the Herald Examiner. This job was followed by freelance artwork and a series of art exhibits. He has always drawn inspiration from the work of the Surrealist Painters, and surrealism continues to be a key element of his work. There are also Pre-Columbian themes involving interpretation of indigenous rituals, spirituality, and the relation of ancient wisdom to man and the world.
Daniel participates in workshops and special projects at Self Help Graphics, an art center in East Los Angeles, CA. He has been working with silkscreen, producing limited edition prints and a line of garments called Nativo Designs. He has painted murals, and organized exhibitions. His illustrations have been used for movie posters, book covers and the music industry. He also works digital technology and has recently developed an art and residency program where he is involved in teaching a broad range of art media and specialized techniques.
"My visual art experience started in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. When I started painting, I was only interested in making beautiful traditional landscapes and portraits of Elvis and Rock and Roll legends on black velvet. Then I moved to Los Angeles. As I evolved as an artist, I became interested in many techniques such as airbrush, silkscreen and mono-serigraph. My surfaces changed; I worked with metal, paper, canvas, fiberglass mesh, synthetic panels and ceramic tiles. It has become my intention to create works of art that draw the viewer into contemplation and a search for meaning.
I work with different styles, in a combination that represents my point of view. I paint my vision of the environment using the experience of the past, to create a conversation with y reality. Images in my artwork are from my feelings of confusion, struggle and faith. Elements of repetition are utilized to express the continuing occurrence of similar events. Memories of the past…Visions of cosmic future."
Artemio Rodríguez was born in Tacámbaro, Michoacán, Mexico in 1972. He studied agronomy at the Universidad Autonoma Chapingo and was later introduced to art when he apprenticed and learned
letterpress printing from Juan Pascoe, a master print maker working our of the Taller San Martin Pescador near Rodriguez’s hometown.
As a print maker who works primarily in black and white. Rodríguez’s signature style emphasizes simplicity and clarity. Though comfortable working in a wide variety of artistic media, Rodríguez regards his ten years as a print maker as the beginning of a long quest. His larger goal is to keep exploring and promoting printmaking until he feels he has contributed something important to the medium. He fully expects this to take a lifetime.
Rodríguez’s work has been featured in galleries in the United States and México. He has also illustrated and published several books. In 2002 he founded La Mano Press.
Enzia Farrell was born to very young parents in the Los Angeles area in 1966. She describes herself as a “latchkey child,” and because of this, she spent much of her childhood alone. She was
raised in the woods of Lake Tahoe, and quickly developed a deep affinity for nature. Enzia first became interested in art at the age of nine, when she began drawing. By the age of nineteen, she was
actively painting, developing her artistic skills on her own. When asked to describe her approach to art, Enzia states, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I try to portray how
happiness somehow leads to sadness and how sadness somehow leads to happiness. So, if I start a work really happy, usually at some point I’ll wind up seeing the sadness, and both sides eventually
Here is an image of one of Enzia's paintings...
Michael Montfort (photogravures)
From Guanajuato, Mexico, Judith Duran studied printmaking at the University of Guanajuato. She has studied with a broad range of recognized artists that have included Luis Nishizawa, Abraham Cruz-Villegas, melquiades Herrera, Francisco Platlan, Blanca Sanchez and numerous others. Judith Duran has had showings in Mexico, Argentina, Denmark, Los Angeles, and Romania. She has recently returned to Guanajuato, where she continues to produce exquisite etchings and prints in other media.
The Making of “The Beautiful and the Dammed”
By Gary Eisenberg
On a sparkling late afternoon in early June 2003, I greeted Raymond Pettibon at my tiny studio in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles. Raymond had agreed do an etching to benefit the membership drive of the Graphic Arts Council, and I had agreed to do the chemistry and edition printing. Raymond’s low-key demeanor and subtle sense of humor was refreshing. I also could not help but notice that our overly protective hound took an immediate liking to him, which I correctly interpreted as a sign of good things to come. We examined Raymond’s plate – the detailed image of a beaver, floating in the middle of otherwise blank space. Raymond explained that he still had a little work to do, so I set him up at the backyard table, reminding him that we only had an hour or so of remaining daylight. He assured me that there was plenty of time. I watched in amazement, as he worked on the plate with precise and deliberate strokes of the etching needle. These strokes were made with full-arm motions, as if wielding a brush upon a canvas. When Raymond was finished, there was a striking gathering of twigs alongside the beaver. After the image was completed, Raymond explained that he had several ideas for an accompanying text. He reached into his knapsack, pulled out a ragged bundle of papers, selected the text, and deliberately did the lettering without hesitation. This is no small feat, as the writing must be done in reverse. It is easy to make mistakes, and difficult to correct them. Before the sun had fully settled into the horizon, Raymond took a long look at the plate and declared that it was completed. He quietly wished me a pleasant evening, walking out into the summer evening air without fanfare - in the same gentle manner in which he had greeted me. I spent the next half hour studying the plate, trying to determine how much time it would need in the acid. Too much time would destroy the fine subtlety of Raymond’s lines. Too little time would fail to produce adequate definition. It was seventy degrees Fahrenheit outside, the perfect temperature for a nicely controlled acid bath. I decided to go ahead with the biting. By midnight, the plate had been bathed, beveled, and polished. Over the next two days and nights, almost non-stop, I printed the edition. By the end of the run, I had developed quite a rapport with the industrious beaver and his triumph. As Raymond’s caption below the beaver so aptly states, “And if I come safe to the end of it, I feel like one escaped.”
Gary Eisenberg 8/2/03
The Beautiful and the Dammed