Singular Images

March 8, 2019

Middle Ground – Just Exploded at Grenade in a Jar

Filed under: Middle Ground, Photobook, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 7:52 pm

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Middle Ground, limited edition artist book, copyright 2018 Douglas Stockdale

I am very honored and excited to announce that my limited edition artist book Middle Ground just “Exploded” at Grenade in a Jar Books in Santa Fe, New Mexico!

Grenade in a Jar Books is a curated bookshop that is focused on contemporary photobooks being run by Melanie McWhorter. If Melanie’s name appears a little familiar, that is probably because of her long previous tenure as the Book Manager of photo-eye bookstore before recently starting her new photo book venture.

It is very nice to have a new book representation with Melanie and her team at Grenade in a Jar Books and another opportunity for collectors to find my books.

Cheers!

Doug

 

February 27, 2019

Middle Ground – San Diego site morphing

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I-5 Southbound, San Diego, February 2019 copyright 2019 Douglas Stockdale

First, this is not meant to be an inspiring photograph as it’s a cell phone drive-by grab shot. Essentially a quick visual note about the evolving demolition of the I-5 middle plant divider as this freeway winds down along the Pacific Ocean coast in San Diego county.

The backstory is that this interesting freeway divider provided an unwilling subject for my artist project Middle Ground that led to my artist book of the same name. It is a wall of a different name located near the San Diego-Mexican border. My project’s intent was to look at this particular urban landscape to investigate a darker metaphoric (and political) condition. Somebody’s medieval bigly wall.

In probably six months all remnants of this vegetative, some places stunningly beautiful, plant barrier will be reduced to  bare dirt and then a series of concrete barriers will rise in its place. The character of this unique urban San Diego landscape will soon morph in to a boring sameness that extends perhaps the entire length of the I-5 freeway, from the Canadian border to Mexico.

I had not driven down this section of the I-5 into San Diego for probably five months, maybe more, so I was taken back yesterday with the new K-rails adjacent to the road way edge and the long patches of the endless string of bushes being hacked down. Maybe even shocked. The use of a decorative plant barrier to create a visual separation along this section of the I-5 freeway goes back to as far as I can remember.

Which also means that my Middle Ground project will become in short order a historical documentary of what once was in San Diego. I am pretty certain that no one else has photographed this middle section of the I-5 as it meanders through this norther section of San Diego county with as much diligence. Which was not my intent as I was unaware of these pending landscape changes to help widen the freeway to improve traffic conditions.

Change. In this case, a visually ugly change.

Best regards, Doug

Note; opps, published this without resizing the image; so a do-over for the photo above.

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January 1, 2019

Holiday working on my website – Middle Ground

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Alternative Crossing (Middle Ground) copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

This Holiday weekend I found myself working on an unexpected task; while making my end of the year posts, I wanted to link-up my various projects on my web-site. Except when I went to link up my recent artist-book project Middle Ground, this project was not on my web-site. What!!. Then it dawned on me, I was wondering what was missing when I made the recent SquareSpace transfer for my web site’s back-bone; now I know; I had not included the transfer of Middle Ground project.

I guess what I might call a Freudian-slip; spending so much time with this project recently I must have been on a bit of over-load and forgot it, OR a bit disappointed with how this book and project did not resonate as a social protest project against the Trumpian-fourth-century-barrier along the US-Mexico border (yes, think how effective the Great Wall of China was for the Chinese. Hint: it wasn’t).

So the fix is in and I now have the Middle Ground project up on my web-site; here. This will of course help a tad bit with some of my gallery and exhibition submissions that I am planning for this year ;- )

Cheers & Happy New Year!

Doug

December 31, 2018

Best wishes for a Creative New Year in 2019!

Filed under: Art, Memory pods, Middle Ground, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 12:45 am

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Untitled (Memory Pods) 2014 copyright Douglas Stockdale

In my last post I recounted my accomplishments for 2018, which is the first half of my end-of-the-year two-part series, while today’s post is the second part that is more about looking ahead at 2019. At the end of 2017 I did not announce very many stated goals for 2018; essentially I wanted to self-publish my artist book Middle Ground. That appeared daunting enough and I really wanted to focus on that publishing task to make it a reality.

So a few goals for 2019; one part is developing deeper relationships with my friends while looking forward to new connections; one part is moving at least two of my long term projects forward and third part is making some infrastructure investments that support my creative processes.

I realize it is very easy to get wrapped-up working on projects in the studio so I need to work on getting out a bit more often in conjunction with doing a better job of staying in touch with all of my friends, family and new acquaintances. A friend of mine reserves at least a couple of hours each Friday as a stay-in-touch day; of course this was started a bit before the advent of social media. So I am going to try to do that each Friday; phone calls and maybe emails and Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn do not count. I am also going to expand my Friday task list to work on increasing my collection of gallery rejection letters; like the lottery, if you don’t play, you can’t win. So I need to make regular submissions and more networking for my various projects.

Last year I think one of my un-stated goals was after self-publishing Middle Ground to start working on the publication of my next book; either my project Gardening for Ordnance or maybe Memory Pods. I had this grand idea of finishing a book each year, only because books were something I could work on in the background while doing my day-job. The recent gallery representation and selling my art-work at Fabrik Projects this year has turned that idea upside down. I can now anticipate getting my projects exhibited and obtain more feedback while developing these projects into a book; I think the publication will happen, but may just take a little bit longer to develop. Which is a good thing.

The continued interest in Memory Pods is bringing this project to the forefront going into 2019, such as the revised image above with this post. One thing I would like to experiment with this year to support this investigation is acquiring a short extension tube, probably 21mm to start, for use with the 120mm Makro for the Hasselblad. I think that the Memory Pods project is one I will be basing a lot of my gallery submissions on this next year. After four years, I think I have a nice body of work for this project, and I will be adding more to it this year. Kind of struggling with the publication pre-visualization of this project for a while now, but perhaps I might make progress on this as well this next year.

I have the introduction of my Trabuco Flats project pretty much worked out and much of the body of this project but unsure of how to close the project. I also have the book concept developed and a local printer who thinks that they can print and bind this book as I have intended. One thing I think I need for this project and hope to acquire early next year is a moderate wide angle lens, probably a 50mm CF f/4, for the Hassleblad to use conjunction with my stash of very expired film. So I will continue developing Trabuco Flats in 2019 as well. Appears that this project is taking precedence over Gardening for Ordnance for a while, although these two projects overlap a bit, so working on one can support the other.

The other investment I need to make is going to be a new larger printer since my 14 year old Epson 4800 printer is working only about 75% of the time (which is to say that one out of every four prints does not print well, with the trailing edge of the image banding). I have my eye on a 24″ wide Canon, but I will need to move a lot of things around in my tiny studio space to make this happen. A 44″ wide printer will just not fit, so I will defer to my friend Mark to create the 40″ x 50″ prints when I need these. Hopefully I will need Mark’s printing support more often this next year ;- D

So I want to close this year with a big Thanks to you all for reading what I irregularly post here from time to time, your comments and feedback and wish you all a very creative New Year. I know that I am going to do my best!

Cheers!

Doug

December 28, 2018

2018 End of year wrap-up

Filed under: Art, Memory pods, Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery, Workshops — Douglas Stockdale @ 9:56 pm

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Loss (Memory Pods) 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

It’s the end of another year, so time to celebrate new friends, closer relationships, accomplishments and good times. So today I am looking back and in the next day or so, I will be looking ahead as to what I would like to accomplish for 2019.

The life of an artist also has its ups and downs, sometimes success and sometimes not. Earlier this year I wrote about dealing with stress, which for many folks goes well beyond being an artist, so worth reposting the link. I also find looking back at all of the year’s accomplishments to help keep things in perspective; life is best lived one day at a time and that living is a process of putting one foot in front of the other, whether at a crawl or a sprint. Interestingly, of the many things that went well this past year, only one or two were really anticipated, while many of the others were great opportunities that materialized and I was ready to take advantage of the situation (maybe another good post for next year; be like a Boy Scout and “be prepared”).

So Chronologically, here are some of the really nice creative things that happened this year.

Middle Ground; self-published my limited edition (E of 99) artist book last spring, which I had in development for the past year and half. I also learned about the vexing intricacies of leporello (accordion) book binding. I had not anticipated that my living room was going to be a dedicated book production area for almost two months.

Solo exhibition, gallery representation and an Artsy.net featured artist for my project/artist book Middle Ground at Fabrik Projects, Los Angeles at the end of Spring.

Book designer for Christine Kaplan’s self-published photobook On My Walk that was launched at the UCLA Health’s “Back-yard Concert” & fund-raising event during the summer.

Started another new project, Trabuco Flats, while working on my Gardening for Ordnance project when I happened upon what the OC Sheriff called a “suspicious circumstance” (what they thought looked like an old sunken shallow grave). Start of a mystery investigation. So I now have three long term projects that are on-going. Yikes.

I attended a number of Los Angeles area art and photo exhibitions, book events and art fairs meeting up with old friends while making numerous new friends and acquantances. The Jasper John’s retrospective exhibition at the (Los Angeles) Broad Museum was one of the highlights of the summer.

Provided artist talks and portfolio reviews with a number of local artist organizations, including LACP, Palos Verde Art Center PADA, and during my solo exhibition at Fabrik Projects. I also inked a book design workshop with the Medium Festive (San Diego) for next March 2019 (limited space still available).

Ended the year with the Holiday Sale exhibition at Fabrik Projects and very honored to sell the two photographs (including Loss, above). I quickly framed another edition of Loss for the gallery exhibition (I can now talk about this as it was someone’s special Christmas gift) and provided a third framed photograph that was in reserve, both of which are still available for a special price until the end of this year (yes, a couple of days from now). The sale of these two photographs from my Memory Pods project has reignited the creative flames and I have been working on this over the holidays.

For my photo book review site, The PhotoBook Journal, we had some nice accomplishments as well. This is the tenth year of publishing this book review e-zine and in conjunction with the growing editorial team, we have published over 500 contemporary artist and photo book reviews. Wow.

I am sure that I have missed something, but overall, I think it was a pretty good year and now getting ready for 2019. Yes, I did purchase some photographic equipment, such as a new (used) lens for the Hasselblad, as well a bunch of new brushes for my acyclic painting (that I resumed my interest in painting might be another subject to post for next year). More about what I would like to accomplish for 2019 in another post shortly.

Cheers!

Doug

PS (update); also realized that in 2018 in conjunction with Gerhard Clausing, we started to curate a series of on-line exhibitions with the Photographers Exchange, a group of photographers who meet monthly at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, CA. I curated three on-line exhibitions for 2018 and I will have another, “Water & Ice“, in early January 2019. We are planning to continue this series through 2019 and probably beyond.

below: cover of Middle Ground (Note: copies of this artist book edition are still available)

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October 5, 2018

Photo Independent 2018 exhibitor

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Memory pods, Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Douglas Stockdale @ 5:15 am

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Loss, Memory Pods, copyright Douglas Stockdale

Truly an interesting weekend and now the following week as I just found out that I have an opportunity to exhibit at this weekend’s Photo Independent 2018 being held in Los Angeles. I will be sharing some exhibition space with my book printer, Dual Graphics, thus my stronger emphasis on my artist books that I will have for sale; there are still a few editions of Bluewater Shore left, as well editions of Middle Ground and copies of my Guide to Self-publishing an Artist Book.

Yikes, still less than seven days notice; so I have to say there is some value in having some of my art already framed. There are some limitations on size and where/how to hang, so I quickly determined that I have four pieces (including the photo above that was awarded Honorable Mention at the IFAC 2016 All Media exhibition), that will work within the confines of this exhibition space in conjunction with my artist book sales.

Printer update; appears that my old Epson printer had a slight bit of temporary coherence, but then lapsed back into its printing coma. sigh. So evaluating alternatives and will there will be a bunch of printer discussions with friends at Photo Independent. I know that I would really love to have a 42″ wide printer, but there is absolutely no studio space for this size printing monster and since I am not selling this size prints yet, a nice dream. Perhaps more realistic is an upgrade to a 24″ wide and I can move some things around; it should be a tight fit, but do-able.

One thing I have come to understand for my book projects; I need a smaller printer to make test prints for the book dummy, etc, thus also looking at a 13″ printer since the 24″ wide printers have issues handling/printing paper smaller than 8-1/2 x 11″.

Last, with all of the past nozzle clogging issues of the legion of Epson printers that I have had, giving very serious consideration for a Canon printer.

Okay, still some things to do to prepare for this weekend.

If you are attending Photo Independent, look for me walking the isles or hanging out at the Dual Graphics/Douglas Stockdale exhibition booth.

Cheers!

July 11, 2018

Middle Ground – Published

Filed under: Art Market, Middle Ground, Photobook, Photography, Picture Postcards — Tags: — Douglas Stockdale @ 9:06 pm

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Middle Ground, self-published artist book, edition of 99 copyright 2018 Douglas Stockdale

Last weekend the publication of the Middle Ground edition was finally completed! Binding the of 99 artist books took a bit longer than anticipated.

Introduction (text not provided in the artist book):

My urban landscape project Middle Ground evolved out my attempts to make some Lemonade. Perhaps not literally. I was commuting from Orange County to San Diego driving south on Interstate-5 freeway and frequently ensnarled in bumper to bumper traffic in North San Diego for a least a half hour of my trip. That part of my commute was a real lemon experience, a stop-n-go traffic condition that left a bitter and unpleasant taste. As part of my artistic practice that I call experimentation/play, I began to use my mobile phone to photograph the adjacent freeway landscape each time I came to a complete stop in traffic as an attempt to create something fun out of an event that was anything but.

As a result of taking the photographs, I was now seeing with clarity an urban landscape that is unique to this section of Interstate-5 as it traverses part of San Diego County. This is a man-built landscape that is usually experienced at speeds of 65+mph while being singularly transfixed on the tail lights of the speeding cars and trucks in front. I quickly came to realize that although San Diego County had planted an extensive landscape barrier between the northbound and southbound freeway to act as a beautiful boundary that over time, this barrier wall had evolved. What I saw was a mash-up of beauty and desolation with an undercurrent of detritus and neglect. A serendipitous element of chance in this project is that I had little control over when the traffic would come to a complete stop to briefly reveal the adjacent landscape.

Intrigued by what I was capturing, I made a decision to upgrade my investigation of this unique landscape to the use a full frame DSLR, with the lens focal length set at the approximate wide angle view of my mobile phone. I had shifted into the next phase of the development of this project.

With my cognitive shift I started investigating the elements of the morning light, which shaped the landscape masses while revealing tantalizing details that had gone unnoticed before. Likewise I found myself drawn to the layers of this urban landscape; the foreground k-rail (Jersey Wall) and vegetation, a mix of planned bushes and wild weeds, the opposing traffic that could be brief seen and heard, the adjacent homes and businesses in close proximity to this roadway as well as how the landscape extended beyond. I also began to notice the mysterious gaps in this barrier landscaping, various marks on the barrier walls and the occasional numbers painted on the concrete.

While the project began to evolve I pre-visualized the potential photobook for this project; a leporello book design that would extend out to simulate this barrier wall, which both a K-rail and this book interior extend 21 feet. Another element were adjustments to the composition of each photograph in order that the top line of concrete barrier would create a continuous line though out the book.

The ensuing body of work is meant to appear factual without an agenda, a very banal urban landscape that is normally not noticed or rarely seen. It is a unique urban landscape that I believe is a realistic characterization of Southern California, not idealized images meant to Romanize a southern California for a holiday experience.

Note: this project was started in the summer of 2016, when the United States presidential election was coming to a close and one candidate kept hammering on the need for a bigly wall to be constructed between the United States and Mexico. As of the summer of 2018 after his election, this bigly wall remains to be built.

Artist book information:

Self-published, launch date; May 2018 (concurrent with exhibition at Fabrik Projects, Los Angeles, CA)

Stiff covers with flap-over French fold, Leporello (accordion) book design

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Pages: 66 pages (blank verso)

Photographs: 31 Images, color

Printing: 4 color lithographic printing

Leporello binding: hand-bound by the artist

Book design and layout by the artist

Artist book, edition size 99 + 5 A/P

Book trim size: 6-1/2” x 8-1/4” (165mm x 210mm)

Acknowledgements & Colophon, without essays, captions or pagination

Cover paper: 18 pt C1s Tango

Interior paper: 80# GPA Uncoated Text

Text: English and Spanish

Retail price: $59.50 USD

So ping me if you are interested in a copy of this edition ( doug@douglasstockdale.com)

Meanwhile, I am now taking a short break from posting on Singular Images.

Cheers!

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June 20, 2018

Middle Ground – contextualized

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Middle Ground, Photobook, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: — Douglas Stockdale @ 4:47 pm

Alternative Crossing

Alternative Crossing, Middle Ground, 2017, copyright Douglas Stockdale

contextualize; the artist intends to explain, justify and extend their body of work. What a gallery will attempt to accomplish with an artist work that might need to be re-positioned as to it’s artistic merit (as being collectible), e.g. a searing war documentary image as an artistic work (“documentary” photographs are not usually considered “artistic” and could be the kiss of death for an artistic body of work)

Part of my reason to reexamine my artistic statement for Middle Ground stems from the feedback during my artist talk at the exhibition closing reception and some comments from book review submissions. Although I see the symbolic potential for this project, most, if not all, do not. Or at least they sense something that they cannot seem to put their finger on. Middle Ground is mainly considered an ambiguous and mysterious urban landscape project.

Thus my underlying concept for this project is perhaps so subtle that it is not being perceived and I need to restate to my “roots” for this project as what pulled me in to want to create this project; I think is a fascinating urban landscape that typifies southern California and this subject is evolving to create a visually diverse and interesting environment.

Perhaps one comment that was made about this project helps place it into perspective, that it is beyond being banal, as this is an urban landscape that is not being noticed. Which I think I agree, these are snapshots of an urban American landscape that we frequently encounter yet remains relatively unseen, perhaps what lends some of the visual mystery to this body of work.

Similar to the recent photographs of the British urban landscape photographer Simon Roberts and those photographers featured in New Topographics, a landscape project with an attempt at a visual neutrality, presented as seemingly factual and in a non-romantic manner that one does not usually associate with an idealized southern California. Perhaps why some reviewers try to pigeon hole this project in the documentary genre.

Maybe why the curiosity about my photographs; I think it triggers a memory without the ability to find a mooring for it. As though there is something vaguely familiar about this urban landscape but lacking an identifiable context.

I still think that my conceptual idea provided the guiding rudder for my editing of the images and how these inspired my artist book’s leporello design. So I am not walking back on this aspect of my project.

In conclusion: an urban landscape study of a unique region of southern California with a mysterious dark undercurrent.

What do ya think?

Also a reminder that my artist book Middle Ground is still available for purchase; message me for more information. And yes, I am continuing to assemble the books with another visit to the post office yesterday for book homes destined in Hong Kong, Spain, Russia and Colorado.

Cheers!

 

 

June 12, 2018

Feedback – Artist talk at Fabrik Projects

Filed under: Art, Books, Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 6:10 pm

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Douglas Stockdale, Artist talk, Fabrik Projects, photos by Kasey Taylor

Having an opportunity to having an open discussion with those interested in your work is a great chance to create a dialog as well as get some really honest feedback from your work. Really honest. Yes, there was what one person called afterwards a little bit of a “heated discussion” between a couple of individuals who had different takes on this project.

For my part, talking about myself and my project is not the easiest thing to do, makes me a bit nervous, so I did not think that I provided the most eloquent presentation, but almost everyone else thought that my talk and subsequent discussion was very informative. Perhaps this event for me was similar to participating in a portfolio review, except it was live, on-stage and with a whole lot of people involved, all providing input at the same time while I did not have a chance to write notes. A bit intense.

So some take aways:

First and foremost, when asked what others thought that this project was about before I told them about my concept, they almost all agreed; an urban landscape that was mysterious and since they could not figure out the place, ambiguous, and in the consistent way it was presented, very intriguing. They were all really curious and wanted to know more. Which was totally in line with my initial framing and idea for this project. So that was pretty cool!!

Regretfully what no one was talking about was if this body of work could be considered a political parody of the Trumpian Mexico border wall. Or if it could be a metaphor for injustice or political/social/cultural issues rising out of blocking and stopping segregation or other types of impediments. I think that this point underlies one of the issues of conceptual art, sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. Especially if the concept is abstract enough and the underlying idea is not presented in a way to visually connect the message with the images, which I understood was one of the concerns with my project; it does not shout-out a strong political protest narrative.

Nevertheless, having my underlying concept did help me in how I created this body of work and I believe helped to inform me on the artist book design and layout. I also appreciate that this concept helped me create an intriguing and mysterious body of work.

So some other things that came to light; here in California the concrete structures that are the base of these barriers are called K-rails, while apparently everyone else in America call these structures Jersey Walls or Jersey Barriers. Interesting.

Many of the beautiful blooming plants that I photographed, such as the one on the cover of my artist book, are Oleander, which is actually a very poisonous plant. The physical barrier is actual multi-faceted and more complex than I had realized, thus creating another dimension to my project that I was unaware of. Perhaps another reason for this project appearing mysterious and having another darker dimension and undercurrent as to what appears as beautiful.

All in all, it was a really wonderful opportunity for some interesting feedback on my project, which I appreciated very much. Oh, and if you are now more interested in my artist book, editions are available from Fabrik Projects, Arcana book store (Culver City) or from me.

Cheers!

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June 9, 2018

Middle Ground – featured on New Landscape Photography

Filed under: Art, Middle Ground, Photobook, Photography, Projects/Series — Douglas Stockdale @ 6:42 pm

San Diego Point of Entry

San Diego Point of Entry, Middle Ground, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I am very happy to announce that yesterday my urban landscape project Middle Ground was featured on New Landscape Photography. Another nice validation of this project and the second time my work has been featured by Willson Cummer on his blog; with my Italian urban landscape project Ciociaria on NLP a few years ago.

Earlier this week I was at Fabrik Projects taking down my exhibition, which is a mix of melancholy and a bit anticlimactic. The show and my time in the sunlight is over for now. I will also have to say that I had not realized that with all of the media shout-outs, press releases, and prepping for & then providing an artist talk, it takes up a lot of personal band width. Perhaps I will dive into the economics of being a mid-career artist (which seems to be the artistic “category” that gallery’s classify me as), but suffice to say, getting an exhibition opportunity is really, really wonderful and I would not want it any other way, but the work by the artist has just begun. Small gallery’s and relatively unknown artist have to collaborate to try to get the attention of the few buying collectors that are out there.

I will provide some more thoughts about the exhibition & going forward with this project over the next few weeks.

Cheers!

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