NEW WEBSITE!

So my blog has now moved into a fully fledged website.  Don’t worry if you really liked the posts here they will remain here as an archive of past posting. Also if you want to keep reading more blog posts in the future there is a full fledged blog at the new website.

So here it is without further ado!

http://calvinjwhitehurst.com

Moving on to bigger and better things people!

Cheers

-Calvin Whitehurst

Artist Interview #4, Boris Ostrerov

Its been awhile since I’ve posted an interview for the “Artist Interview Series” but here’s a recent one with Boris Ostrerov.  Currently Boris lives in Chicago and is pursuing a masters degree at SAIC.  I wanted to catch up this interdisciplinary artist for a little one on one about his recent accomplishments.

A Recent Pile

CW: Could you please explain what your “stacks” are?

BO: I’m still figuring this out, but, they started as a thought to stack bands of flat colors as a sculptor or architect would if he were given a 2D surface, paint and brushes. I do not intent most of them to represent something real in the real world, but they can resemble piles or stacks of different things. I was interested in physics, namely gravity, balance, anticipation of collapse, and the relationship of colors.

Here is from my artist statement:
I often find a seemingly dumb misunderstanding is more intriguing than an understanding and may reveal a surprising truth.

With this idea in mind, I objectify paint marks to create pile-ups or stacks of brush-marks that exist in their own world, the space of which is confined to the dimensions of the substrate I work on. I have now begun to not only paint pile-ups of flat uniform brush-marks, but a diverse range of marks and color forms and on a larger scale.

I think about:

A pile that grows up not knowing where it came from or how it got there.
A pile that grows up with the possibility of collapse.
A pile that keeps growing with the knowledge that any subsequent growth can add instability.

an Ink Puddle

CW: How have you evolved from performance/interactive pieces and ink blots to the stacks?

BO: I stopped focusing on performance work for a while because I didn’t like the idea that I don’t have an audience, and most of my performances involved audience interaction/participation, so I didn’t know how to reconcile this every time I went to the studio. Still, I wouldn’t know what to do in the studio on a daily basis if I was a performance artist… As a painter you can always paint, but as a performance artist, I guess you just sit and think. Or gather your supplies/set and write proposals for venues. If I think of a good performance idea I’ll do it. Till then I have other mediums to explore. The ink splatter and drip pieces led to the stack pieces. I wanted to use ink to “clean” white paper with a sponge or broom, and when I made a few strokes with a sponge in black, the idea of stacking these marks and using them as objects came to mind. The next thought was to stack colors.

a Stack

CW:In the last two years you’ve lived in both New York and Chicago. How did they both affect the way you created?

BO: Well, New York is most stimulating city I have been to. It’s hard to explain until you’ve lived there. The best of the best is there in every field. And all their ideas get exchanged quickly because of the density of population. In NYC you feel you have to prove yourself because there are so many good artists, so that makes you work harder and realize what good artwork looks like from being surrounded by it. But in Chicago, the pace is slower, there are less worthy art events to go to, so that gives you more time to create. But the girls are better looking in Chicago!…That’s a distraction. So I can’t definitively say one is a more productive place to create than the other.


CW: In your work you also recently comment on mainstream hip hop and contemporary Russian/American culture, specifically in the video “Teaching Grandma Lil’ Wayne”. What do you think is the importance of this cultural exchange?

BO: It was important for me because I felt that without explaining Lil’ Wayne to my grandma, she couldn’t understand who I really am. Because I do have a Lil Wayne inside of me that significantly influences my views on life, values, and what I aspire to such as popin’ and pourin’ champagne on supermodels. In addition, this would be a way to assimilate her to American culture, spend quality time bonding with me while also learning about things she whished weren’t a part of me. Also, I often find myself trying to explain certain cultural phenomena to my family, and no matter how hard I try, there are some things that are simply not possible for people to understand and accept.

I’ve also realized that I’ll never be able to do what Lil’ Wayne has done, and it boggles my mind that artists aren’t talking about his work and studio practice within academia. Furthermore, I think hip-hop raises the issue of “what role does visual art play in present time amidst hip-hop?” If we can’t directly change or affect the world at large with visual art, then what can we as visual artists do? Painting just isn’t dangerous enough to DEMAND attention. Sometimes I go to an art show and think, “do these people/artists really think they can outdo or make something more significant and compelling than Lil’ Wayne?” Cause I think that’s a delusion. Idk, it’s a tragic thing that I’m trying to figure out as I am predominantly a painter.

CW: Any plans for the future that the blogosphere should know about?

BO: Yes, “…if you’ve got eyes, look at me now.” – Lil Wayne  http://borismakesart.wordpress.com/

One day (getting back to the last question) I want to make paintings that will make people feel like listening to Gucci Mane, and in the reception I want Gucci Mane’s music to be playing and not drown the paintings towards the background. That’s one goal I have. Someday…

For more information about Boris Ostrerov please visit:  www.borismakesart.com

Is John Kerry a Member of a Secret Fight Club?

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photo by Haraz N. Ghanbari

Today I watched the State of the Union Address.  It was a good speech, whatever.  What really was the shocker of the night was to see Senator John Kerry with a completely obliterated face.  I mean this guy looked like a raccoon!  They really only showed him a couple of times but there was one shot that focused straight on him for a good 10.5 seconds.  He had bruises all around his eyes as well as a little below his temples.  His nose was definitely broken, it was all bent and huge like Owen Wilson. I watched it on a giant HD screen so I saw it in full detail.  His bruises were in some sort of transition stage because they were still sort of black but some were not as severe. These had turned an olive green and some were even a bit yellow ochre.  And if I’m not too mistaken there was some yellow and white crust in the corners of his eyes  My first reaction was, “Is he in a secret fight club? He must be.  Some of the Senators are probably in the same club.  I’d buy that.”  

 

Upon further research of  internet news sites I found out that over the Congressional Christmas break Senator Kerry had played a “friendly hockey game” in which he was beaten with a hockey stick by someone he would not name. I can only imagine what the reporters probably asked him, “Senator Kerry why do you like shit?”, or, “Who beat your ass Senator Kerry?” or even, “Senator Kerry, is it true that your wife pushed you down those stairs?”

 

 After the information I gathered about fight clubs, I know that individuals within different regions of fight clubbery in the United States sometimes like to mix it up a bit.  Some sects don’t just fight with their fists or their legs but also like to use weapons which very often are just simple household items.  These items include cookie sheets, ladles, colanders, and monkey wrenches.  Often times these are fights that occur in garages, so the immediacy of available weapons is very unpredictable and spontaneous and the items mostly consist of things at the host house.  Perhaps a couple of hockey sticks were in the arena where John Kerry fought.  In most garages this  would be very likely.  It is also a proven fight club fact that participants do not talk about fight club outside of fight club.  This is a universal rule for all North American fight clubs. This may explain why John Kerry would not reveal who hit him with a hockey stick in the said “friendly hockey match”.  Cleary there is more to this than meets the eye. 

Calvin Whitehurst- A Holiday Food Memoir

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Lately on NPR they have been featuring a lot of food memoirs, probably has something to do with Christmas and Thanksgiving around this time of year. I have also read quite a number of them throughout the years for various reasons and I absolutely despise them. Usually food memoirs consist of a look back at an author’s childhood.  First of all, anybody’s childhood that is halfway interesting isn’t typically expressed through a food memoir so childhood memoirs told in the food format are probably going to be dull and will not be any different than the worst “One Man Show” you’ve ever seen.  The second thing I dislike about the food memoir format is that the description of said food is usually too dramatic and the author always claims that their relative making the food created the best rendition ever.  An example would be “My mother made the best apple pie known to man”.  So in lieu of so many car rides home from work with head-smashingly terrible NPR food memoirs and the holidays still sort of alive, I decided to write my own anti-food memoir.  

A Holiday Food Memoir

By Calvin Whitehurst

Lutefisk is a Norwegian supper dish.  It’s gray, lumpy, and can be either a thick gelatin consistency or a soupy dribble.  Anyway you have it, it’s downright morbid and disgusting looking.  It smells like a dirty black sock soaked with slobber from a dog that just ate its own shit from the backyard.  What it tastes like, I could never tell you because it was never even accidentally ingested by me.  Imagine all of your relatives from Minnesota, all Norwegian, some with scruffy red hair and freckles slurping this glop down like it was their first meal in a week, grateful for the sustenance.  Than look down at your own imaginary plate, filled with sloppy white gravy and pieces of aged fish floating around in it.  Your cringe with disgust.  Now look around your imaginary table. To your right is a jar of pickled herring, a distant cousin of Lutefisk, like a coyote to a wolf, smaller and slightly less malignant.  It has a slightly darker gray sludge in comparison and has a more pungent sour smell to it.  Jars of these can sit in the fridge for years and still be good, making several holiday appearances until its old enough to start kindergarten or even reach puberty.  To your left is mashed up rutabagas, a pathetic substitute for potatoes and your only chance of eating something tonight.  In the center of the table is a crock pot filled with “meatballs” slow cooking in frothy light brown gravy.  The meatballs are essentially a dirty trick.  To the gentle outside these meatballs looking perfectly enticing.  He or she will see the other offerings on the table, especially the Lutefisk in all its primordial glory, and go straight away for the meatballs.  DO NOT EAT THE MEATBALLS.  They are made of a mystery meat that only the chef knows the true origins of.  They usually are prone to keep it a secret and this slimy Norwegian thinks its funny to do so.  Some speculate that the meat is simply freezer burned venison from many seasons ago, but the truth scientists will never know.  The meatballs are extremely overcooked, a mushy mush that is beyond any mush you have ever mushed inside of your mouth.  The appearance of Lutefisk coupled with the texture of the meatballs in your gob will make you want to gag and your eyes will water with fear.  You will internally ask of God, “Who are these people and why do they torture me with these food items that are worthy of the television show Fear Factor?”

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      Well friend, they are simply my relatives.  They are simple folk from Minnesota with simple holiday traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation with very little variance.  They make this goop in the spirit of the holiday season and they eat it with a vengeance every year.  And every year I go hungry and somehow manage to look like I ate it all (you shouldn’t insult the natives).  Somehow I manage to sweep tiny bits of this slop into a nifty plastic bag that I fashioned to fit in my pocket.  This pouch is simply a garbage bag that enters at the pocket and snakes down my pants leg.  At the end of the meal you bring it into the bathroom and flush the bag. No one is suspicious of the toilet being plugged anyways because of all the gut bombs people just ingested, the night will be full of these chaotic plumbing events.  All of this spares me of the lectures about how I’m Norwegian and I need to eat my culture’s food because I am so skinny.  For the record, I am an American, pizza for breakfast and ice cream for dinner.  When my sister was quite young at one of these events, she looked at my grandfather with soft glistening eyes and asked with a small Tiny Tim voice, “Gwandfadder, why do we eat dis food duwing Chwistmas time?”  It was at this moment that my grandfather Milton entered into a scathing story that I will try to paraphrase in a more entertaining and less Minnesotan way.

     ‘There was a terrible storm in the icy Northern Pacific Ocean.  Leif Ericson, the great Viking leader, led a convoy of about one hundred and fifty of the sturdiest oak Viking ships that ever sailed the seven seas filled with 25 Viking warriors each.  The ships were a worthy match to a great and furious storm that made Thor himself shiver a bit in Viking heaven.  They were sailing to lands that were uncharted, searching for a new port that they might pillage and plunder from.  Ericson’s men were hungry and needed something warm and delicious to fill their sea-worn bellies.  They had been in their ships for weeks rowing in and out with not so much as a tiny minnow in their nets to eat.  They survived off of moldy bread and crumbly doughnuts.  The storm was no help in their search for food as the waves were too extreme and would tear their nets to shreds.  Ericson stood at the bow of the lead ship staring into the midnight waters, one leg perched high on the neck of the great serpent head carved into the ship’s bow.  His great horned helmet glistened with rain as he turned and yelled back to his crew with a booming voice, “CAST THE NETS!”  “He has gone mad!” they muttered amongst each other as they threw their doomed nets into the ocean, the other ships followed suit.  As soon as they hit the water the nets were impregnated with hundreds of fresh cod squirreling around with ferocious power.  The other ships had the same result and the fleet was soon loaded down with a surplus of shimmering giant fish.  Shortly after, the storm went completely calm and the sun began to rise in the distance.  There in the west was the most beautiful thing the Vikings had seen in weeks, a tiny sliver of a horizon.  This horizon was North America.  The men yelled and leaped with laughter. Their great leader, Lief, stood there with the same old harsh grimace he always had.  With a growl Ericson yelled in an exaggerated manner “ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!”  The men were so excited they forgot their hunger and rowed so hard they soon made it to shore.  Upon arrival Leif Ericson cooked for his men something that never before had been thought of just like this new land that had never been discovered.  He took ingredients from the land such as a new vegetable, Leif called it “Lye”.  From it he made a hearty broth and cooked the cod in it. He then hung the cod up to dry and fester in the sun for hours as spring had finally come and the land was defrosting from a long hard winter.  Flies came and landed on the cod laying their eggs and defecating on the delicious meal being prepared.  Finally it was completed!  The Vikings ate it cold with great pleasure as it was a well deserved meal.    This disgusting delicacy would forever be known as Lutefisk.’

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                The Vikings at their new seaport would begin to trademark their signature dinner with this name and would trade it throughout the Viking Kingdom from Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and places as far as the near East.  Lutefisk was treasured for its amazing healing attributes of diarrhea, upset stomach, and projectile vomiting.  It was said to clean out one’s system as one would always feel extensively better after an evening of eating Lutefisk.  The Vikings and their newly adopted dish were the greatest terror that ever roamed the seas until colonial pirates came on the scene a few hundred years later.  It is from this rich heritage that my family partakes in these meals every Christmas at my Grandfather’s house in Minnesota.  It is horrible.

A Collage A Day, Forever Revamp

Ok so much to Huey Crowley’s delight I haven’t kept up with a project I started in May entitled “One Collage A Day, Forever”  which involves me posting a collage I’ve made every day on Facebook. For one reason or another I didn’t have scanner  or internet access since my final post in August.  BUT, now I have both, a fresh new website, and a revamped flickr site at http://www.flickr.com/calvinwhitehurst . So here it is my first collage post in a long time.

"Stop Cutting Up the Persian Rug Material Into Smaller Pieces With A Hunting Knife" 5.5" X 4" Paper and found images