Posts tagged ‘Ventura’

December 11, 2008

Ventura Film Festival

It was only a matter of time before the “New Art City” had its own film festival. The official launch of the first annual Ventura Film Festival took place at Candlelight Kitchen & Bar Sunday evening. Festival director Lorenzo DeStefano has the right idea by engaging the community through its neighborhood cinema program. As we become an increasingly visual and technology-driven people, the documentation of our life experiences is now a part of our every day lives.

The launch comes on the heels of the Ojai Film Festival‘s announcement that they are relocating their event to Ventura in 2009. Read about it in VCReporter.

It was a lovely night that included a performance by Emy Reynolds (shout out to Gwendolyn: I love Emy!) I was actually enjoying myself—which if you know me (INFJ) you know, I don’t do parties unless obligated and/or prodded—until I found myself face to face with Scott Jacobs who proceeded to harass me about getting coverage of his most recent flirtation with mediocrity and opportunism: a painting of a house burning in the Montecito “Tea” fire.

Suffice to say I was not amused, but I am pleased to hear he’s packing up his brushes and returning to the East Coast this month. Thank you for visiting Ventura, now go home.

November 26, 2008

Art, cynicism and Scott Jacobs

Since my story a couple weeks ago, I’ve been following the buzz about Scott Jacobs and his Obama painting “Someday Has Come.” While initially I was one of those swept up in the serendipity of it all, when coverage of Jacob and his art piece spread outside Ventura County, my cynicism crept in.

I mean, what do we know about the photographer who took the pic that Jacobs copied, albeit skillfully, but copied nonetheless. Has the photographer been given his due credit as Jacobs cashes in? And what exactly is he cashing in on? The art piece itself? This of course begs the question: what qualifies as art? Is decent reproduction art? What about the manic optimism surrounding Obama’s election? People are so enamored of the president-elect that virtually anything with his name or image suddenly becomes invaluable. Or is it the story? And the story has taken new forms as it’s been retold.

Jacobs was “homeless” he’s a “veteran” he drives a BMW and he owns a laptop. That he was kicked out of his home on election day because he’s an artist, then after visiting the voting booth was inspired to paint Obama’s likeness (from an existing photograph) in public (where else, he has no home), was invited to show the piece at Sylvia White Gallery’s election night party... has become a little preposterous to me.

I’d like to believe it all went down like this. I do believe in Kismet, but c’mon.

When the Artists Union Gallery took him under their wing momentarily to close their “Election Collection” show, my sigh was audible for blocks.

Turnout for the event was a who’s who of the Ventura artists community. People traveled from well outside Ventura County to purchase a signed/numbered giclee and meet Jacobs. And purchase they did. A physician who had been visiting Ventura saw Jacobs painting, became enamored of the “story” and funded the production of T-shirts for the Artists Union Gallery event. I looked around for a punch bowl full of Kool Aid to explain the collective bliss, the glazed over expressions… my negativity looming, threatening.

Faced with such almost naive enthusiasm from people I respect in the arts community, I began to feel a bit ashamed of my skepticism. Does it really matter why people are happy? Maybe this whole thing had some kind of divine push behind it. Who am I to judge it, right?

When I asked Jacobs what’s next he told me he was beginning a new collection about the Montecito “Tea” fire, ostensibly to raise funds for the victims.

My co-worker, Paul, had a reasonable explanation for my attitude: I’m a reporter, duh. I question (hopefully). I’m still somewhat at odds about the whole thing and I can’t help but look around for validation of my instincts from practically anyone who mentions Scott Jacobs, but I’m also planning to refrain from further examination of this story, for now. If, however, he sells the original for the $100K he’s asking (sheesh, even $10K) you can bet I will resume this conversation.

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