From 2009 to 2011 I used dave-estes.com as my online portfolio.
I have had a ton of domains. I am also not the best archivist. This is my best attempt at archiving some of the more interesting posts from the past in one cohesive place.
This is a living document.
This Just In: Art is Dead.
Art is Dead. Bet you didn’t know that. Well, it’s not so much dead as it is missing in action. Then after a while, we just assumed it’s dead. In his new book “Art is Dead: A Manifesto for Revolution in the Visual Arts”, Ted Mikulski illustrates this point perfectly by asking the audience a key question: Who is your favorite living artist? This may not be a tough question for an artist to answer as most artists live inside the “art bubble”. But the astounding thing is that most people that are not artists themselves do not have an answer to that question. They simply do not know their favorite living artist. That my friends, is bad news bears from the point of view of an artist.
This book leads us down the path towards revolution in the arts community as it illustrates contemporary American society’s dis-interest in the visual arts. The replacement of fine arts with commercial arts is listed as one of the main culprits behind the vandalization of the art world.
Featuring the commentary of 16 other artists as well as drawing from Mikulski’s personal experiences in the art world, “Art is Dead” brings up the proverbial “elephant in the gallery”. The main issue that is in the back of most artist’s minds is “Why am I doing this if nobody cares”. This dis-interest leads many away from the path of fine arts and towards the path of commercial art. So much skill is wasted on pushing product and as the interest in fine art continues to wane, so many more skilled artists will find themselves selling product instead of ideas. This then would mean that art as we know it… is dead.
A description from the Artoholic Publishing website:
If you were asked to name your favorite living visual artist what would you say? Unfortunately, the average American does not have an answer to that question, nor can they rationalize a piece of art beyond the Mona Lisa. Intriguing and entertaining, Art is Dead takes a profound look at visual art in America through the eyes of artist and art professor Ted Mikulski. This book steps outside of the conventional art bubble and rationalizes how we in America perceive both art and the artists creating it. Art Is Dead takes a stab at the question, why don?t Americans know more about art? Drawing on interviews with artists, gallery owners, curators, and those not involved in the art world, Mikulski takes the reader on a journey into visual arts current status in society. Artists will always be around, but are they revered? Are they appreciated? And more importantly, are they figureheads in society?
I just finished reading my copy and I will give you this: Be sure to check out this book! It’s a “Hell Yea!” kind of book for artists and a “Hmmmm” for everyone else. Thoughtful and idealistic, “Art is Dead” holds a knife to the throat of the stale -bread art scene of today’s America. And it does it with class.
This book can be ordered directly from the publisher at http://artoholicpublishing.com. Read a book! It’s good for you!
November 10, 2009
Painting for the Hell of It: New Pic and Interview!
Also, while I was working on this bad boy, a certain author by the name of C.M. Quinn decided to ask me few questions about the painting I was working on. Stumbled upon the record of our conversation. Here are the results:
Not exactly 20 questions, but we did our best. Let’s see what progresses from all of this.
What are the odds that you could walk into the average household and stumble across an artist? Now picture that home also containing a writer. Slim chance, you say? Well I’m about to prove you wrong!
I convey a message with words on paper. He uses oil paints and canvas. Not too unlikely of a match, it seems. Yet we have never, truly, combined our forces to create an epic masterpiece with letters and brushes.
I took it upon myself to attempt an unbiased interview. Mostly forcefully. Since I have finished my latest book and he is in the midst of completing his newest work . . . I figured what better time to ask a million questions of him.
It’s such a rare occasion. I have an inside look that most people might never get, as does he, with my writing. He hears the story progress before anyone else and I actually get to watch his work in the making. So why wouldn’t I want to get some insider trader secrets to share with all of you?
So here you go:
A first time attempt at a candid and, hopefully, unbiased interview with that crazy artist living in my house . . .
The basics about the upcoming piece:
Working Title: “Painting for the Hell of It” (approx) 6 ft by 4 ft, oil on canvas (hand stretched)
1.What inspired this piece?
A: “I needed to fill a large portion [laughs] at the gallery. So I made the biggest possible painting with the canvas I had.”
2. Who inspires your art the most?
A: “Ummm . . . in terms of artists? Dali, Beksinski, early Lukasz Banach . . .”
3. What about music?
A: “Music is probably more inspirational to my art than actual artists. Music is more functional as inspiration, because with artists, you see something and say ‘I wish I could do that’ but with music it’s more of a tool . . . I guess, like, the way people would use drugs. But music is more consistent and effective. And [laughs] probably more easily accessible . . .
4. And now, why are you painting with only one contact in?
A: “Oh . . . I don’t know . . . laziness. I’m in the ‘zone’ aka to lazy to put another one in. Let’s see what happens. Let’s see how important depth perception is . . .”
5. But, seriously, what inspired this piece [Painting for the Hell of It]?
A: “It kind of inspired itself . . . I usually just sit down and paint with no idea what I’m doing . . . like a stream of consciousness, almost. I’ve been thinking pretty politically lately, so . . . that’s what I ended up with, on the canvas. Usually about halfway through is when the story progresses and I start tying up loose ends.
6. This seems so different than your other work, in terms of the intense use of color. Any reason for the change, or it is really no different?
A: “The color aspect of it is, kind of, unintentional. I think it’s more of like mood change, because when I first started this series I could see a def. progression in my moods and you could see it reflecting in the diff. paintings. To me, they [the paintings] always feel like they’re saying the same, but when I go back and look at them, they’re all completely different. So . . . maybe it’s not my message that keeps changing, it’s the language I’m using.”
7. Is there any reason why you aren’t yet releasing the whole painting online, like your other work?
8. What do you look forward to, in the upcoming year, pertaining to your artwork?
A: “I’ve got some new stuff I want to try. New directions. I think I’m going to try to use more color. I might try to get away from politics. Which I said, right before I started painting this [‘Painting for the Hell of It’] . . . which really worked out.”
9. Why step away from politics in your painting?
A: “Because I admire artists that can paint, like, beautiful stuff, that no matter who sees it, it’s applicable. But when you start messing with politics, you’re already dealing with a divided audience. So right off the bat, you’re already lost half the interest.”
10. Do you think there will be any drawbacks to attempting to back away from political statements within your art?
A: “Drawbacks? Um . . . Artistically, I don’t think there will be any drawbacks. Personally, I use painting as a coping mechanism, I guess. And so, if I don’t do that, that might be a negative thing for me. But I think the art is there regardless.”
11. Does your reasoning have anything to do with this piece, seeming to, be very politically driven?
A: “Yes. The way I designed this piece is a final statement. It’s, kinda like, the end cap to the series. Which is why it might not look as similar to the other ones. That and the fact that it’s so big, I’m sick of it.”
12. Quite a few things stick out about your latest work. Is there any specific message you’re trying to get across?
A: “I don’t think there is any one point I’m trying to make. It’s always just a really broad, generalization of some emotion or feeling I’m having. Plus I don’t want to put words in other people’s mouth; it takes the fun out of people looking at it.”
12. So you’re not trying to convey how you feel, politically, to the rest of the world. You just want everyone to see what they want in your painting?
A: “I think I’m being totally contradictory in what I’m doing and what I’m saying.”
A; “The symbolism I use is totally one-sided, in intention. But the actual interpretation of those symbols still vary person-to-person . . . so it’s more up to the viewer to decide what they deem significant on the canvas.
15. So, you don’t see this as an orgy of everything you love and hate about politics and people as a whole?
A: “That’s exactly what I see it as. But it’s an orgy that I’m standing and watching and not participating in . . . and I feel creepy.”
16. Changing it to a more typical interview question . . . What is your favorite painting that you have ever done? And why?
A: “Winter Dance Party. Just because it kind of just happened. I feel like I wasn’t even involved. When I went to paint it, it just kinda set itself up. And mapped itself out, in terms of composition. All the elements of it seemed to happen naturally, with minimal effort on my part. Because I had that vision in my head and that was one of the rare times that I was actually able to translate it perfectly without it getting filtered in the artsy version of what I was thinking.
17. Anything else you would like to add?
A: Don’t try painting with one contact.
Interview by C.M. Quinn. Her latest literary work can be seen at:
Nature, Nurture, Heaven and Home…
January 9, 2010
… Sum of all and by them driven.
To conquer every mountain shown,
But I’ve never crossed the river…”
Well, I have a new year’s resolution. Well, I have a few, but one in particular that deals with the work I make. I resolve to abandon politics in my art for a year. Yup. This past year, my focus has been almost exclusively political in notion. I feel like when I first started painting and drawing, however flawed in technique, my work had a visceral sincerity and an unintentional spirituality that seeped it’s way onto the canvas. This is what I am trying to get back. This is where I feel that my purest work comes from. So things are going to look a little different. Well they may not, maybe I’ll be the only one who notices the change in direction. But things are going to change a little bit. I’m going for a little trip to try and find that spiritual center. The funny part is that for an artist, you get to document and materialize your spiritual journey.So let me know what you think and keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks. This is going to flow like water
“It’ll take a lot more that words and guns
A whole lot more than riches and muscle
The hands of the many must join as one
And together we’ll cross the river…”
STRANGERS INTO FRIENDS AND FRIENDS INTO CUSTOMERS – SPEED SKETCHING
After finishing a couple speed painting videos, I thought it would be interesting to record my process when I do pen and ink work. I had been discussing the problem of visual pollution occurring both globally and immediately in my home town with fellow artist and friend Ted Mikulski. It seems like billboards have all but ruined any sort of natural landscape here in CT. He suggested I incorporate this into . I decided to dedicate this piece to the effects of marketing on the internal landscape. The results are well… take a look!
Monday, January 3rd, 2011
WHAT’S NEW: THANKYOUSOMUCH
Well, I decided to embark on a new project. New year, new project. Makes sense to me.
I’m trying to keep this one under wraps until I get the site up for it and get some momentum behind it. The basic premise is this though:
There are some corporations, people, and political systems in place in today’s world that for lack of a better term… suck. I mean, they literally just feed and feed and don’t really give much back. I have been racking my brain on how one could use art as a form of communication, something to bring about change. But really what happens is that most of the time, the people that need to see the art never see it and things stay the same.
That is how this project came about. I realized that every company, no matter how big or how small contained a hole in the fortress. The name of that hole is the United Stated Postal Service…
and an envelope makes a beautiful canvas…
Monday, January 3rd, 2011Today while looking through some of my older work, I stumbled upon these pictures of an old stop motion movie set I was working on. Although the project was abandoned when the set was knocked over (still angry at gravity over that one), I thought the pictures were worth sharing.
Monday, January 3rd, 2011
New work “In the House of Flies”
Pen and ink – SOLD
Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Wow! So things are getting busy around here! Between ThankYouSoMuch.org , painting, and me taking off for hikes in the woods… I almost forgot to update! In case you haven’t noticed I have been devoting about 80% of my artistic attention to ThankYouSoMuch. I have 3 new letters up (It’s been THAT long since I’ve updated here?) and I have had an interview in Art Threat which blew my mind. I had no idea that anyone would be even interested in this project! I want to thank everyone for their support with it and I promise to keep it moving forward! I also got a mention on RheeFirst.comCheck them out, they have a good compilation of information regarding Rhee that should give you a good idea of why I decided to send her a letter. Stay tuned for the next letter, which will most likely deal with farmers and how they may be our last hope at stopping domestic spying in the USA
Until then, check out the
and check out ThankYouSoMuch.org for the newest letters to The WBC, KV Pharmaceuticals, and Michelle Rhee.
Monday, June 6th, 2011
—-> A LINK TO THE EBAY AUCTION!!! <—-
The concept behind Anonymous is amazing and the actions they are doing are even more so. Activism with no real agenda other than protecting free speech and preserving freedom on the internet. All anonymously. Beautiful.
I am no cyber warrior by any stretch of the imagination but the ideas supported by Anon are ones that I see reflected in my own ideals. Transparency, community, and freedom in general. So I would call myself an Anonymous fan, you know seeing as you know who I am. Here is a toast to all who have played a part in the movement. Know that you have support in what you guys are doing. Now for the other idea I had …
This original pen and ink will go up for auction on Friday night (6/10/11). ALL (100%) PROCEEDS WILL GO TO THE ELECTRONIC FONTIER FOUNDATION. The EFF is the leading civil liberties group defending peoples rights in the digital world. If you haven’t heard of them go check them out and see what they are up to. Good stuff. This was the best way I could think of to get involved other than harassing politicians via the postal systemCheck back for details!!!
SOMEONE’S GUNNA STEAL YOUR CARBON” – PEN AND INK ON WOOD – 9″ X 12″
Friday, January 14th, 2011