In celebration of the Burt’s Bees natural lip gloss launch featuring my paintings, I’m making available a limited run of custom portrait paintings.
Each painting is uniquely inspired by the subject.
You will get a loved one immortalized in a custom made painting accompanied by a creation video with original music by Minarets Music. I will work directly with you to create a work of art featuring a person, place, or pet that adds color to your life. In return you and your family will receive an original painting, and cherish it for generations.
Before and after shots from the Burt’s Bees campaign:
This image I went in a Pop art direction creating a glamorous look.
This image was inspired by the natural elements of the earth and topographical maps. Both paintings are now part of the Burt’s Bees collection.
The commission process is easy, and every step of the process is mapped out:
1. Contact me regarding availability and the size(s) you are interested in.
2. Send me an image of a loved one, a place, a person, a pet, or yourself. I will provide you with a proof and a statement of work.
3. We sign an agreement stating delivery date and total cost. Buyer pays 50% upon agreement, and 50% upon delivery.
3. You supply me with as little or as much supplemental information for guidance. For example: why you chose that photo, a particular memory of that person, or some of their favorite things/colors.
4. You will receive the painted portrait by agreed time, with an original process video.
5. I am extremely excited to let you know for an additional cost you can add an original song by Minarets Music. Your own song! Based on the background information, the painting process, and the image, Jon Weinman of Minarets Music will write a song with lyrics inspired by your loved one, or your favorite place. Not only will you love listening to it, it may be the next Top 40 hit.
-If you get the total package you will receive a painting, an original song immortalizing your love, and a masterful video weaving everything together.
Below is an example of my process:
I was sent eight pictures to choose from. I selected this one for the connective gaze and the sparkle in his eyes.
I strip down the extra elements and determine a composition that is striking. Afterwards I adjust the levels in each section of the image so all the details are crisp.
I was inspired by his love for peek-a-boo, the sport motif on his shirt, and the blue in his eyes. The colors are bright and include touches of gold paint. He brings so much joy and light to everyone I kept the colors vibrant. I used bold primary colors he is attracted to in real life, and they loosely refer to the Olympic colors.
Each painting is inspired by the image and any background information given.
Watch the two process videos here:
On a chilly day I met up with Michael Serafino (Mikafino) to paint in Central Park. After entering at East 72nd, we wandered our way through several surreal shots of blossoms snowing down in the constant breeze. Just like a scene in a movie.
We arrived at Cherry Hill and dropped our easels to scout the area. We came across a Yoshino Cherry tree in full blossom. From a certain angle we could see Bow Bridge through the center of the tree. The location successfully hunted, now it’s time for us to live the view.
Here we go…
Click for larger image.
From now until April 29th, 30% of any purchase of a Central Park painting will go to the Central Park Conservancy. The 30% portion can be donated directly by you. You can purchase one of the paintings below or you can commission your own painting. Here is more information about my popular commission process.
Disclaimer: I am a huge hockey fan, hockey player, and a hockey coach.
The hockey experts at Westside Skate and Stick approached me about creating an image for their newly expanded showroom. After bouncing some of their desires around we decided on a painting that celebrates “New York City” and “Rangers hockey.” In addition to dynamic visual elements I wanted to extend the measuring stick of art history with a contemporary portrayal of the sublime. The athlete is a conduit of extreme emotion for spectators and participants. As an athlete and an artist, I know how it feels to reach another realm outside of physical and mental consciousness during a performance or a game. This painting celebrates that feeling.
First the visual breakdown, and then an amazing recap of Jon Weinman’s creative process for the song accompanying the video…
Started out with a pencil drawing of the composition. The actual painting began with complementary colors purple and yellow. This foundation of high contrast is my adaptation of a chiaroscuro technique .
Now that the ice is broken, pun intended, I work throughout the composition to determine most of the colors in the finalized palette. One of the main focal points of the composition is the iconic ceiling of Madison Square Garden. Next time you’re there don’t forget to look up.
The composition is essentially a balance of triangle, circle, and square. The triangular aspect is of the goalie leading up to the jumbotron, the circular aspect is the ceiling of Madison Square Garden (MSG), and those two elements are framed by the square created by the goal posts and goal line.
After looking at the compositional structure for many hours I realized it could be considered a contemporary departure from one of my favorite Renaissance commissions by Titian, The Assumption of the Virgin.
Experimenting with light in the painting I decided to keep the foreground rink section lit by lights on the ceiling of MSG, while the sky is ablaze in tones of GRAF green, and electric yellow. The different light sources create an inside/outside spatial relation further echoing how the athlete sometimes reaches a zone outside of the self lit by an inner passion.
The painting features New York Ranger goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. People refer to him more commonly by King Henrik because he is one of the premiere goaltenders in the world and the backbone of the Rangers team. He blows the roof of MSG with supernatural performances. In this painting the puck has passed King Henrik, yet stayed out of the net after ringing off the crossbar. This moment is a metaphor forfully extended to accomplish your dreams and at the same time getting a little help from things, like a crossbar, technically outside of your control.
Aesthetically at this point I’m building up the richness of the colors in layers and carefully moving edges back and forth millimeters at a time to get the right feeling. Our lives are layers of experience and millimeters of decisions.
A big push to firm up a lot of the details in the net, the ceiling, goalie equipment, and the Statue of Liberty. Ms. Liberty is lighting the outdoor skyline through the jumbotron with an electric green fiery torch. The boards touching the edges of the canvas needed a height reduction to further balance the composition.
A detailed shot of Lundqvist’s mask, Ms. Liberty, and the jumbotron. Careful placement of West Side Skate & Stick advertisements foreshadow a future team sponsor? The Chrysler and Empire State Building won’t stay dark for much longer.
Let us look closer and a little further a long in the process. The game shots on the jumbotron are 20 to 13 referencing the year the painting was finished. Also the score is 2 to 1 referencing the date the painting was finished, February first. The name of the visiting team is obscured to reference any opponent. No obstacle, or opponent, is too great to overcome. The Empire State Building is lit in red, white, and blue in support of the Rangers.
Long live hockey, and long live New York City passion. Best of luck to Henrik to win the ultimate crown, The Hockey Holy Grail – Lord Stanley’s Cup.
I have had the privilege of Jon Weinman of Minarets Music create the soundtracks for my recent process videos. He is an extremely talented musician and writer. Luckily for everyone he was willing to share his process for how he created the song for the the soundtrack.
When I first saw this painting, I was on a visit to Ari’s studio, where it sat on an easel, nearly finished. My eye was immediately drawn to the juxtaposition of the gothic city scape, its reptilian greens underlaid with cloudy, royal purples, over the hallowed stands of The Garden, where so many generations of New Yorkers have met in joy to worship at the altars of The Rangers, The Knicks and the great fighters like Ali and Frazier. As a New York sports fan myself, I can say with unimpeachable authority and absolute certainty that New York City has the greatest fans in the world. And in seeing the great, sprawling empire laid out majestically over the those same bleachers where the people who built it, the people who’s essence and fire and tenacity raised it up brick by brick, sit every single home game to cheer and shout and jump up and down and live and die and transcend with their team, I became immediately inspired.
When I received a cut of the time-lapse video of the painting process, I nearly immediately (after sitting for a time, jaw agape at some of the amazing detail work revealed by the process video) began trying to score it. After some time experimenting with sound palettes, feels, and harmonies, I came to the conclusion that the piece deserved not only instrumental accompaniment, but an entire song with lyrics and melody to truly capture its essence. I began with a rolling drum beat and some dry, stark electric-piano chords that I felt matched the color palette of the towering skyline backdrop of the painting. I then began to think of how I could personally relate to the holy moment that is so perfectly crystalized in the work. I immediately began to think of moments of transcendence that I had experienced in my own life. Most often, these moments have come when I am on stage in front of a large crowd, performing my music. At these times, stars seem to align and time slows to a crawl. I withdraw deep into the caverns of my consciousness yet I simultaneously feel hyper aware of my surroundings. My mind no longer races, it does not analyze the situation, it simply floats above my body, receiving and executing every command with complete sureness, steadiness and natural ease. I thrust my head skyward and pull every spark of energy, emotion and life that exists in the atmosphere of that room into my body. And as I feel it fill me up I get warm all over and I can no longer feel my feet touching the ground. And I open my mouth and sing it out. And as it floats there on the air in slow motion, the crowd feels it break over them like a wave, their own emotion, their own energy, now being amplified to a celestial scale and thrown back at them, consuming them. This moment is the one of the most magical and precious things I have ever experienced, and chasing it has lead me down an amazing path of fulfillment and self discovery in the pursuit of that transcendent art and music. But I’ve also observed this phenomenon elsewhere, and one of the foremost places that comes to mind is the world of sports. When I see Kobe Bryant making his crazy, scrunched up, snarling cujo face in game six of the Finals, I know that Kobe Bean Bryant has left the building. He is no longer in his body. At that point, Kobe has become a vessel. He is manifesting greatness, and the greatest thing is, he is not making, but simply allowing it to happen. When Henrik Lunqvist puts up a shut-out in the playoffs, contorting and twisting his body in lightning stabs of agility as thousands hang on the instant with bated breath, he has reached a point of calm and clarity that we are all lucky if we ever experience. He is finally able to show his belief in himself and his teammates, to make his statement, and to inspire joy and love and excitement and emotion for thousands of good, hard-working people who for whatever reason, decided to tie their fate, albeit in some small way, to his. That’s what I wrote this song about. It’s called “To You All.” Here are the lyrics:
“To You All”
Like a scene from my mother’s dreams
We play tonight
We’ll tear the walls down by the beams
It’ll feel alright
In the cold lights
I remember losing control
When the crowd’s high
I remember losing control
All of the sudden I can say what I want to to you now
All the sudden I can show you what I want to show to you all
Like a god rising from the flames
We’ll burn tonight
We’ll leave our bodies and our frames
It’ll feel alright
In the cold lights
I remember losing control
When the crowd’s high
I remember losing control
All of the sudden I can say what I want to to you now
All the sudden I can show you what I want to show to you all
One last thing I’ll say here is big thanks to Ari for bringing me in and asking me to work on this because it was really inspiring and refreshing and fun for me. I am always interested in Ari’s work, and I always love to see what he is cooking up, but nothing gets me more excited than when he paints hockey. I think there is something truly amazing about his hockey paintings, as if his love and passion for the sport imbues each of them with a kind of luster that is invisible, yet readily perceptible to anyone who views them. Enjoy it.
-Huge thank you to Jon for his amazing contribution to this work. Definitely check out one of his newest projects Sioux Lion. Awesome band out of NYC.
Other Hockey Inspired Paintings
On a steamy evening in late September a group of extraordinary people descended upon the spacious lofts of 468 West Broadway. The Blumstein Team (Corcoran Group Real Estate) pulled together their eclectic network of New York’s finest for a celebration of art, music, good people, and to showcase two gorgeous properties for sale in the heart of SoHo. I was there feeding off the energy of the crowd doing a live abstract painting. Painting alongside of me were my respected peers Borbay, Jeremy Penn, and Paul Zepeda.
And this is how a painting is born without any preconceived final image…
It was hot, late Summer transitioning to early Fall, so I started out with these warmer colors that remind me of both seasons.
Pushing the yellow out with the warmer orange I started to head towards an allover composition. I added the dark patches to create a vivid contrast. I was looking out the window and was inspired by the rhythm of the different colored windows of the building across the street. I was also feeding off the rhythm of people arriving to the loft and moving around the open space.
Jeremy Penn works on his captivating portrait series. On the windowsill is a preview of some of his newest works painted on several transparent layers of acrylic plastic.
On the right, Paul Zepeda adds detail to a figure painting with precious metal foil he started earlier in the week.
About now the loft was full of happy people and live music performances, including a surprise performance by Kate Nauta, and a set by the Benji Marx Quartet. My painting heads towards a more expressionistic dimension.
Borbay works on a scenic view incorporating iconic NYC water towers. See his final painting and recap here.
Simplifying by eliminating unnecessary elements in the painting.
As the daylight slipped away I decided to include the stillness of the Summer evening. A good contrast to the festive energy inside the loft. Dark shades surround a central dynamic flow of shapes and colors. The imagery feels like it is pulsating and expanding. To me, the heart and the idea of love is something that is pulsating and ever expanding. At this point I decided this idea was going to be the driving concept for me to bring the painting to completion. I could feel this energy in the air and inside my body.
Lankin painting on the left, Borbay painting on the right. One room, one view, one medium, two vastly different visual experiences.
Borbay and all-star host Sydney Blumstein pause next to Fire In The Heart. Loving the contrast of the smeared paint on his shirt and the splattered paint on her dress.
Most people don’t realize painting is physically demanding, and after a live painting sometimes you just need to lay down in the street before heading to the bar for burgers and beers. The official fuel of my painting crew since Vegas 2011.
And here is the finished painting. Lots of warm energy pulsating around a cool floating heart-like shape. Positivity and warm feelings perpetuate good feelings and expansion of the universal soul. Find this fire energy in your own heart, share it, and seek it in others. You will float freely.
The Blumstein family did not help me find a property, but over the past year they have helped me understand new levels of friendship and love. It is no surprise to me that my painting headed in this direction at one of their events.
The party was supposed to end at 9, but with all the good vibes, we didn’t leave until 11. Special thanks to The Blumstein Team for gathering such a wonderful group of people together. It’s no surprise that great people attract other great people and creative inspiration abounds.
Big thanks to everyone who came!
Claude Giroux exploded in the 2010 playoffs illuminating his superstar status. He stepped into the upper echelon of hockey greats with tremendous effort and intelligent skill. This painting celebrates the amazing intensity he brings to the ice.
Giroux is in a state of complete ecstasy along with the rest of his team and 19,000+ fans after an overtime goal in game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Every time I watch this goal it gives me goosebumps.
Now on to the painting…
Building the body and adding some aqua blue to shake things up.
Some faces for focus.
Skin tones added as I reach a unique point where the canvas is almost entirely covered in paint.
Adding highlights to push the figure forward and create more contrast to add depth.
Orange G-esus getting Flyered up. The shape of the celebrating fans started to resemble a cross so I went with it. Had to nix it because it was overbearing.
Olympic bands of color and ecstatic energy emanate from him. A true world class player.
What a glorious way to remember the amazing Stanley Cup run the Flyers had in the 2010 playoffs.
Big thanks to Jon Weinman of Minarets Music of for creating the original soundtrack for the video. Girouxs favorite music is country, but he likes to listen to techno and more upbeat music before the game. I asked Jon to go with a techno direction and I think he nailed a fun celebratory beat that goes great with the cadence of the video. Keep an eye on Minarets Music, they are cooking up some great things in Brooklyn.
Lets go Flyers!
This painting is going to hang in the same household as this Chris Pronger painting:
Other Recent Hockey Paintings:
If you are interested in commissioning a hockey, sports, or any other kind of painting contact me for pricing and my current schedule.
Saturday night I threw it down with the cast of ARTPROV. Hilarity ensued and a one hour masterpiece painting was made.
Artprov consisted of two improv teams competing against each other. They were shown 6 of my paintings (one at a time) for the first time. The Artprov cast of comics created improvised scenes and musicals based on the gallery of work. At the same time, I created a new painting inspired by the performance. The finale of the show was a musical score with all cast members.
Is that a buttocks growing out of Rory’s shoulder? No it’s my interpretation of the Artprov logo. Having the featured artist interpret the logo is an Artprov tradition.
Canedy Knowles and Lee Alan Barrett heating things up early in front of The Good Life. Long live the Vageena-Weneh (Vagina Wine) family.
Malachi Mcnuggets Nimmons feeling the vibrations in front of Moto for Miles.
The whole cast performed a musical finale based on the infamous El Cortez story I shared moments earlier with the cast for the first time. Follow the link for the story.
Post show posing with the hilarious Rory Scholl. During the show he shared with the audience his preferred wine is Penis Grigio. You had to be there.
The final painting was inspired by the many faces of a performer. Ten faces for the 10-year anniversary of The Tank. Some of the faces started out as collaged Tank stickers on the canvas. Below the faces is an object based on The Tank logo.
The cast had me laughing so hard and pausing frequently to watch the show. I tip my hat to the cast of Artprov 12-15-12, great job!
Below are the paintings that were used in the show.
I can’t think of a better way to get back to my sneaker roots than the Kanye’s Yeezy II. This painting is hot off the press. Sorry for the iphone picture. The color is a little washed out.
I’m definitely digging Kanye’s sophomore Air Yeezy.
Don’t be surprised if you see x-rated hidden imagery of Kanye and Kim Kardashian that percolates your senses.
Click picture for larger image.
Nike Sneaker Paintings 2004-2006
CMYK NYC is the culmination of an energy that was building inside of me for a few weeks. When I started this painting I was incredibly inspired to paint at this scale and ready to bridge together several ideas I’ve been working on.
For the process video I was lucky enough to work with multi-faceted grammy award winning artist Tony Black of Tony Black Productions & Orange Key. He wrote, performed, and produced “if i told you” – (The Ari Mix), while referencing the process video for inspiration. I feel this song intensifies the richness of the viewing experience by literally expressing a musical quality of the abstract painting. Because he did such an amazing job I am going to let the music and the video do most of the talking.
Lets take a look…
It starts with a white acrylic ground on cotton
The entire space has been commented on and all of the colors are now present, CMYK.
Opening the space on the left, and closing it on the right.
It’s getting lighter in color and atmosphere.
Archetecture changes the way we live by altering our spatial awareness.
I was considering this state the final piece. It has the feeling of NYC, but it was too literal.
By altering landscape references, I change the feeling of gravity. The relationship of one form to another becomes more informative.
Click image for larger version.
Everything is relative. The people, the images, and the architecture of NYC inspired this image.
Movement was inspired by the range of bodily expression Doug Varone uses in his choreography, specifically his interest of a body’s relation to other bodies. When I paint abstractly I am constantly evaluating how one area of the painting relates to another area. The process of the piece has a conceptual twist. I decided to paint 25 layers, one for each year of the company. This painting is to support Doug Varone and Dancers (DoVa), and will be auctioned on October 11th, at the 25th Anniversary Gala at the Maritime Hotel.
Let me walk you through a few stages, and then watch the video to see all 25 layers…
I watched a few videos of DoVa performances and collected still shots that I had playing on a slide show as I painted. This first layer is a gestural drawing.
Giving the line drawing beefier form with the paint. There are eight people in DoVa, and I kept an idea of eight figures in the composition.
In the lower left I decided to allude to a stage, and the bottom right is a dedication plaque celebrating the 25th anniversary.
The painting was becoming too formulaic for me. I obliterated some of the black angular forms with a fog of white paint.
Building up a central form as an anchor to the composition.
The forms become more figurative. I wanted the brain and the eye to feel dynamic movement without focusing on explicit figures.
Here’s to another 25 years! Check out Doug Varone and Dancers at the Joyce theater October 9-14.
I escaped the concrete jungle for a week of perfect weather at a remote lake house in Maine. This was the third trip to my painting haven in the woods, and my first in 4 years. While I’m here I live a simple life of nature and art. I’ve painted over 40 paintings here.
A typical day starts by waking up to the sunrise pouring through a wall of windows. A hot cup of coffee on the back porch or the dew covered dock with my hoody on. I soak in the day as it opens up and decide what paintings I’m going to work on first. The rest of the day consists of painting outdoors, running around in the woods, swimming, eating good, and tasting grapes.
Let me quickly take you through a week from the Summer of 2012
I painted this nature-laced abstraction after an all day session on the first day. Photo taken outdoors.
Day Two: I set up near the lake to paint a landscape. I borrowed this umbrella hat (yes, technical term) from creative spirit Zehava Winkler to block the sun from going directly in my eyes.
In the morning I sit and have a conversation with my painting before getting started. I look at the image, feel the surface, and contemplate different approaches. Then I dive in until nightfall. Let’s eat!
After about four days I finished. I balanced the composition with the tension of where the water meets the land. I positioned myself so the trees and horizon lines create a flow through the composition. I also liked how the light filtered through the trees, reflected off the water, and filled the space.
This view was the inspiration for the painting below.
Art inspired by nature. I love how the chopped trees connect the two mature trees with a wall both physical and visual. On one side of the wall is a young sapling, on the other side is a cut tree trunk. Also in the composition is a dry leaf and a machine shaped piece of wood. I feel these elements, in this juxtaposition, create a poetic reference to living things. More specifically the aging process and how we form relationships with changing environments and new technologies in the world.
Mmmmm singed knuckle hair.
How could I not paint this moment?
Working on a small painting before heading back to NYC later in the day.
The paintings were still wet for transit. A clean box makes a great case for transporting smaller paintings.
Looking forward to my next visit…
I leave you with a quote by Hermann Hesse about trees:
“Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”