Artist Look: Andy Warhol

I like Andy Warhol and all of his soup cans, but not particularly because I like the images of his art. I do like his imagery, but the important part of his contribution was his reflection on pop culture, and what he saw in society and what we now call social media. He subverted the entire social consciousness and made us confront what was actually important to us: Fame and Fortune. His outgoing lifestyle was a part of his art, And for the most part, his art is still out there doing it. I can’t go a day without seeing some contemporary art referencing his legacy, intentionally or otherwise.

"Muhammed Ali", 1978 Andy Warhol
“Muhammed Ali”, 1978

His understanding and perspectives on pop art, our culture, work, and fame are quite relevant today, so I’m just going to use a couple quotes like people use memes:

“The day will come when everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.”

Ah yes. This sort of thing happens all the time now. Because of access to social media and the way information spreads, you can go viral and be eradicated in the same hour. The true art starts to incorporate being a good marketer. Which brings me to the next quote.

“Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”

People rely heavily on their creativity, marketing, and social savvy to get paid, Warhol kind of had it figured out. Seth Godin always talks about business as art, and echoes that perspective. (I’m sure he likes Warhol, but I’d have to ask him.)

So being out there and marketing yourself is a part of the gig. Even back when he was on the scene, he understood how his connected social lifestyle added to his art. He became a blueprint for the type of social self-marketing that we see today. And I can’t help but think about our current quality and quantity debate, so here’s my favorite quote, although I like it for different reason:

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

"Mammy" 1981, Andy Warhol
“Mammy”, 1981

So yeah…that brings me to Gary Vee. A guy that is all about leveraging pushing content out there.

Now I could go on and on about Warhol and today’s society, but instead,
I’ll go post some more content somewhere else like a proper content factory would do.

And I’ll end with this one, because it resonates heavily with me:

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

So yeah. In the end, just make sure you’re getting things done. Now, if you’re looking for some Warhol material, here’s what I have for you:

Now go create something popular.

New Website Is Live. Now I Need An “Under Construction” Gif

Alright. I have been avoiding this for a long time, but I said that in 2019 I was going to be making some changes, so a new website is in the works. I am a firm believer that websites are still relevant. People used to say they didn’t need a website because they had “A Facebook”. Now it’s “An Instagram” or “A Twitter”.

Fact is, those outlets are just outlets for those corporations.

I’m going with the white-walled look like this some of those art galleries use. I think this should work out just fine. More as it develops. I’ll be dumping all sorts of good shit there.

The Trap Vector Blueprint

I’ve spoken about this briefly in other places, but I wanted to give a more proper explantation of The Trap Vector project. There’s enough information to go into that I’ve decided to break this posting into 7 parts.

This is the part where I define how The Trap Vector came to be.

Around 2011, I had just been laid off of my job at Rockstar San Diego, and I was beginning to become a little disillusioned with my career in the game industry and life. I had let politics wear on me, my family wasn’t doing that great, my social life wasn’t where I wanted it to be, and in general, I felt like I was fighting to stay afloat in quicksand.

I knew things had to change or I would fall into a pit of despair that I couldn’t pull myself out of, so I started changing course with a lot of my activities and really jumped into the fine arts, fashion, writing, improvement strategies/tactics, and started expanding my horizons.

I hadn’t felt that energized in a long time. In fact, the last time I felt like that was that time period in my life when my parents worked with me to expand my mind in numerous ways. It was a synergistic experience. I was that curious kid that wanted to see and learn everything I could. Over several years, they worked with me to give me powerful perspectives and insights on life. They had been to many different countries, met so many people, and seen so many different things that they felt it would be a shame for me to miss out on those experiences. That period of time stuck with me, and in my later years, the longing for those mind-expanding experiences came again.

Returning to the 2011 era, I needed to process what I was feeling/thinking/experiencing, so I developed a form of visual journaling that relied on an abstract language of forms and shapes. You will recognize the most prominent of those shapes as the arrow and the portal. These shapes came from various sources and don’t directly mean anything on their own, but they hold a lot of meaning for me. These representations are, after all, abstract.

For years, I maintained and refined this abstract language I was coming up with and came up with over 400 thoughtful concepts that have been archived and are now being released in the form of a fine art print project known as The Trap Vector.

In Part Two, I will go over the beliefs that led me to present my art into the world.

– Benja –

A copy of this can also be found on my blog at The Trap Vector.

Flattening Your Prints

In the last post, I talked about framing your prints. What I forgot to mention is how to flatten them. The Trap Vector prints come rolled in damage-resistant kraft tubes for safe transit. This is a common practice, especially for larger prints. As your art arrives, you’ll want to flatten them out before storing/displaying them.

Here are some recommended steps:

  1. Find a flat table or surface to lay your print on. It should be dry and free from dust/debris.
  2. Open the tube and slowly pull the protective tissue paper to slide out the enclosed prints.
  3. While leaving the tissue paper in place to protect the print, carefully unroll them so that the curl s are going into the flat surface.
  4. It is NOT recommended that you reverse-roll the print in the opposite direction unless you have experience doing so.  
  5. Distribute a few books on each of the corners and in the center of the print. (If you don’t have books, you can use some other flat-bottomed items that will keep your prints in place.)
  6. Let your print sit for a while under the weight of the books. Usually, a day will be more than adequate, but you can probably get away with overnight or while you’re off at a picnic.

Alternatively, if you get your prints professionally framed, you can just bring the rolled tube to your favorite framer, and they’ll take care of everything for you.

– Benja –

Three Options For Framing/Storing Your Prints

The Trap Vector Prints

Collecting prints? Of course you are. I was asked about what to do with prints if they aren’t planning on putting them up on a wall just yet. You could simply keep them in the tube they were shipped in, but many opt for a storage solution of some type.

In general, you have three framing options:

  1. Print Protectors – Not really framing, but you can store prints safely in protectors or portfolios like the ones available from Baroque or by searching on Amazon. Shop around to find what you need. This option is usually employed when collecting numerous prints.
  2. Ready-Made Frames – This is the popular option. Head to your local framing shop such as Michaels, Art-To-Frame, or any place that sells frames and ask for styles in the desired size. You’ll find something that looks good and won’t destroy your wallet. Most prints for The Trap Vector are 18×24.
  3. Professional Framing – This is the nicest and most expensive option. Michaels actually does custom framing and is a suitable start if you’ve never gone with the professional option. You can always ask a decorator or an artist/gallerist to recommend a framer near you if you want to go this route.
There are other options available, but these are the most common. If you have any ideas or comments, let me know!

Splitting My Focus Into Three Projects for 2019

I have three projects that I plan on getting worked on this year. I know that sounds like crazy talk, but I’m trying something out, here.

The common idea is that you should focus everything you are doing into laser-light precision and get that one thing done. I get it, and I believe that to be true in a general sense. In fact, The ONE Thing (by Jay Papasan and Gary Keller) is a great book that really got me to a good place with my productivity.

I know that I waste a lot of time, but when I’m most productive, I’ve found that I have a few things that I can roll onto. Basically, when one task is completing, I can roll onto another one without losing momentum. If I have to keep doing the same thing, I can sometimes burn myself out. I’ll have to work on embracing the monotony, but that’s how it happens right now.

Also, when I pour a lot of energy into something, it seems like people back away from the energy instead of responding positively to it. I don’t know what that’s about, but I’ve often been told to “calm down” on social media and in life. I’ve been told that I’m “too much”. So pffft…I have to spread things out a bit or create new outlets.

Project 1 – The Trap Vector

The Trap Vector is my fine art print project. It’s my lead-off effort for the year. It’s a follow-up of sorts to a lot of the personal thoughts and feelings I was having for the past seven years. The genesis probably started well before that, but that’s what it’s about right now.

This outlet gets out my artsy fartsy concepts.

Project 2 – Transcendent Press

Transcendent Press is my writing project. If I could, I would probably just write for about a month, and then come out with some stone tablets full of god-like text. Then I’d realize it needs editing and I’d go away for another month. This doesn’t fit in my plans right now, so writing is going to have to take the long and laborious route.

This outlet gets out my most heady creative ideas, and is currently my biggest long-range goal. I have a book planned for sometime this year, and I’ve gotten to work on it.

Project 3 – The 8BitCubist

Oh boy. A lot of people have been wondering what happened to the 8BitCubist from a while ago, and simply put, the band broke up. I mean, we didn’t break up, but we went our separate ways, and the venture was never meant to be a solo one. So over time, I needed to put the brakes on it to figure out what the next iteration was going to be about. I am not going to be putting this in full force for the near term, but it’s coming.

I think a podcast and apparel will do good to start with.

I’ll do some other posts outlining what’s coming I’m learning in 2019 in greater detail.
Let me know what you think of the plan so far.

The 8BitCubist Returns

In 2010, I created an art initiative called The 8BitCubist. I’m sure many of you reading this are familiar with it. The friends and I . It was a good four-plus years of art-making, events, podcasting, and generally having a good time with friends.

But things evolve, and the band went their separate ways all went our separate ways. Personally speaking, I was pushed to the forefront of the art side of things, and that caused me to spin off into making my own art brand a much bigger thing than I originally intended.

But there is a part of the philosophy and idea of The 8BitCubist that I want to keep going, so the site will be relaunching this week with that in mind. I’ll take time to build it up, but I just wanted to let everyone know what was happening.

And while I’m here, I’ll also go ahead and thank Jeff Junio, Raphael Phillips, Marcellus Barnes, Theo Harvey, Ryan Dormanesh, Josh Lange, Daren Bader, Andy Lowe, Andrew Wilson, Cleo McKeever, Ashphord Jacoway, Aubree Miller, Tiny Nightmare, MegaRan, Aly Mayhem, Shayne Anigan, Keisha Howard, Thumbprint Gallery, Gam3rCon, The 10th St Theatre, Brian Bielawski, Lauren Selman, Jennifer Schumaker, Walter Meyer, JoJo Brazell, Amy Fan, Tony Hulse, Aloha, Brendan MacNeil, Annalice Heinz, William Morgan, Josh Stolze, JC Mendez, El Gun Legro, MC Lars, and a whole slew of other people.