I’d like to thank the many people that attended the opening night reception to launch my new art exhibit, Dark Chocolate Japan. Despite the bad weather and a tropical storm looming, there was a huge turnout. I’m very appreciative of the support and warm wishes of those who couldn’t attend —I felt you there in spirit.
Thank you, City of Sunrise, Florida, for sponsoring and hosting my second exhibition in three years. I’m forever indebted to your kindness and assistance.
A special thanks to Sweet Charity’s Bakery for providing the dark chocolate cupcakes, the perfect alternative to tasting dark chocolate paintings.
With a few months until an exhibit, I was compelled to reinvent and push myself to do more with less time. I purchased twelve large pre-stretched canvases and began a frenzied attempt to paint in the style of conceptual realism, departing from my usual loose brushstrokes and drawings. My new acrylic renderings were, in a sense, a return to the simple appreciation of the old masters and the post-modern painters that still examine realism.
I still vividly remember the criticisms of Andrew Wyeth, namely that he was an illustrator and not a true artist because his work was realistic in a time of modernity. Within the context of art periods, the ‘wrong’ style can have grave consequences. However, the art world’s acceptance of artists like Gerhard Richter who have painted realistically gives me hope that my work might find more acceptance. Even Wyeth’s name is appearing in art news with more frequency.
A touch of magical realism, for example, stylized clouds leaping from clothes to the negative space surrounding the subject, further brings the piece closer to conceptual realism, a term that has been used to describe art that attempts to express the unexplainable through realism. Since normal human thought and analysis can’t grasp non-conceptual thinking, I suppose art is naturally the ultimate vehicle to communicate the infinite.
The painting featured in this post, American Geisha No. 1, is an unapologetic obsession with feminine beauty—simple, straightforward and universal—the subject is a symbol for love and splendor. Note the tresses, shaped like a butterfly, the representation of transformation. After all, change is what we should all wish for, the dark chocolate way of perceiving the world—find what is opposite and fall in love. In a time of heightened racial tensions in America, falling in love with diversity, perhaps deeply, may be our only hope.
My Curve the Cube podcast began one Saturday morning when I arrived at a Hilton DoubleTree to meet Jaime (“Jemmy”) Legagneur (who I happen to think is a future mega star). She was sitting in the lobby with all her gear, including the funny looking recorder with twin microphones. But just as I was arriving, it seemed a mob of people followed me into the building. The interview began almost immediately, but soon we had to find a quieter place to talk. Jemmy’s fascination with talking to a painter/author brought an energy to her questions that led me through a natural flow of summarizing what dark chocolate is, as well as my life as an artist. It was nice to be able to talk about both my novels and visual art and how they sometimes tie into each other.
(Excerpt from The Dark Chocolate Art of C. D. Aleman)
…Dark chocolate to me represents the good stuff—the nutritious, antioxidant rich form of the deliciousness derived from the seed of a cocoa tree—the best of all chocolates. A Dark Chocolate Japan, for instance, is the Japan Westerners have fallen in love with, from Godzilla movies to anime and technology. Although art and media can be seen as frivolous, when one culture falls in love with another, it is a testament that dark chocolate exists and we can love everything that is strange, different and exotic—the cartoons we grew up with, the ancient stories of Samurai and the Geisha, kokeshi dolls and kimonos we have admired from afar. But no matter where we are, even if we see the less than ideal, the sugary cheap chocolate defiling our existence, dark chocolate also exists. It does. It does…
I’m fascinated by ASMR and would like to write about it in more depth at some point. For now, I’d just like to share with you my first ASMR video. I shot it with a Sony action cam while I was painting ‘Winter.’
This painting was inspired by the art of Japanese woodblock prints, particularly Toshi Yoshida. It was rendered with acrylic paints on masonite wood panel. The scraping sounds of the dry brush technique have an ASMR effect.