The economy sucks, but we don't care -- the Bay Area is home to artists so talented they deserve to take over the world. That's why the Masterminds grants are given to three local and emerging artists who need that little push to become even more awesome.
SF Weekly has narrowed down the potential winners to 10 finalists, with the three winners being chosen Feb. 16. at Public Works during Artopia. Until then we're going to fall in love with their creative work all over again by featuring the profiles (written by our arts critic Jonathan Curiel) of two finalists each day right up until the event. Today meet Lisa Alonzo and Jon Kuzmich:
Lisa Alonzo: The Photographer Who Paints Herself
The swirls, curves, and patchwork of dots that comprise Lisa Alonzo's The Amuse Bouche 2.0 turn Alonzo's body into an illuminating road map of art history. Alonzo's arms, calves, and thighs -- intensely speckled with burgundies, reds, and magentas -- harken back to the pointillism of Georges Seurat. Her side is replete with sharp spirals that would easily fit into the psychedelic poster art of the 1960s. And the title? That's straight from the 21st century, a nod to the artistic ethos that says you can borrow from across disciplines -- in this case food and technology -- to create your own new language. It's art as a melting pot of ideas. It's art that comments on the artist and society at large. And it's art whose composition -- it started as a photographic self-portrait, then was manipulated by photo software, then was painted with acrylic -- prompts you to ask, "Who else is doing work like this?"
The Amuse Bouche 2.0 isn't a one-off. All of Alonzo's pieces from "The Narcissist" series, which include The Amuse Bouche 2.0, incorporate that same fresh synthesis, with Alonzo in different poses, covered in different states of paint. To get the specks just right, she squeezes the acrylic with a pastry tip, so that the surface resembles delectable cake frosting. In images that include her face, Alonzo avoids smiling. There's nothing "come hither" or effervescent in her manner, which disconnects these images from the kind of smiley "Facebook Narcissism" that Alonzo is partly digging at. "I'm poking fun at the number of people who are flaunting what's going on in their lives and turning a blind eye to what else is going on in the world," says Alonzo, 27, who graduated with a BFA in painting from San Francisco's Academy of Art University in 2008 and now lives in Alameda. "It's certainly different from 10 years ago."