Laughingsquid founder Scott Beale took a picture of me years ago when I was working at Caffe Trieste. I don’t remember him taking it, but I stumbled upon it today while doing a search.
My artwork “Down The Street” was accepted and printed in Mira Costa’s 2010 TidePools publication.
TidePools is Mira Costa’s annual publication. This year, the theme was Do-Overs.
From their website
When we were kids, the do-over was our savior. Those weak throws, the missed catch, a wayward hit, the blown goal, the unfortunate die roll, that wretched strike, the maddening missed turn of the rope, those slow mashings of game controller buttons, and that damned inability to stay frozen during freeze tag—each could be cleanly wiped away simply by declaring, “Do over!” Like penance or pardon, the do-over provided tabula rasa for play. But what about adults? When we grow up, do we relinquish our entitlement? Should we live life as if there are no do-overs? Always careful…never taking risks? Calculating every step to avoid needing a do-over? Continue reading
The poem is titled “Poem” and reads:
The sun was on my shoulder
as the setting dishware broke
and the lonesome little tiger
is on the prowl tonight
cause the paper lost it’s lustre
and the dead woke up the thunder
as the dollar bill goes under
as the vagrants want my change,
It’s just another Hallow’s day
the city slowly cries
as the drunken piss on the concrete
like the tears from their eyes
I wipe the tears from her eyes
as twilight sleeps.
You can also find the poem where he found it, on my old GarageBand site. On that site you’ll also find “Cherries in the Snow” and “Room Temperature Water in a Plastic Bottle.” That last one got some radio play on Berkeley’s college radio station KALX.
Below is an interview of me that I dug up from my archives recently. Back then I was working for Urban Moto (a motorcycle magazine), was married, and had visions of starting a brewery.
Urban Moto: I understand that you are having an art show soon.
Torrey Nommesen: I have a show coming up at the Live Worms Gallery in North Beach on Grant Ave this month opening Fri/Sat Dec 8/9. I will have a bunch of work there, both old and new. I’d call it a retrospective, but I’m not really old enough to have one of those yet. I’ll have some mosaics made out of Legos™ and the Motorcycle Innards series for example. Riki Chen’s art will also be featured. He’s a talented Surrealist artist from the neighborhood. You should come by for the Artists’ reception on Sat 7-10pm. I’ll be offering my latest brew at the reception – it’s an American style amber wheat beer (brewing beer is another one of my passions. It’s actually more of an advanced hobby, not a commercial enterprise just yet.)
[pullquote]I’ll have an idea that takes years of planning and brainstorming, but when I actually sit down to execute the idea, I can often whip it out in a just few days.[/pullquote]
UM: Legos and motorcycle innards? Now I’m interested! How would you describe your art?
TN: I consider myself a conceptual artist. I hold a degree in Conceptual and Information Arts (CIA for short. There’s probably a dossier on me) from SF State in 2000 the same year I got married to my beautiful wife! I began my studies after the postmodern issue was resolved. “Conceptual” or “Postmodern” art caused quite a stir when first presented in fine art schools – was it really art or just kind of a joke?
The definition of conceptual art boils down to the notion of valuing the idea above the actual execution of the piece. I feel that this very much describes my creative process. Sometimes I’ll have an idea that takes years of planning and brainstorming, but when I actually sit down to execute the idea, I can often whip it out in a just few days.
I’ve developed this way of working because I find that I often don’t have the time, money or space to do a lot of the things I would like to. Sometimes I call my work “Postmodernism on a budget.”
[pullquote]I emailed them digital information and they gave me money for it. I literally sold a thought to a country![/pullquote]
The work I’ll be showing is a lot about conveying meaning through image. I start from a photo I took, and then manipulate the images digitally, through photo-copying, with paint and/or with Legos. A lot of the subject matter you’ll be seeing is nudes and pigeons. I love pigeons – I could really get into it, but I don’t think there’s room here…
UM: And your art also incorporates your love of motorcycles?
TN: I did a series of nine pieces of close-ups of disassembled motorcycles that I photographed when I was working as a service writer for a San Francisco shop. It’s part of a larger series of works that are over-sized photo-copies on canvas embellished with acrylic paint that I call the “Wallpaper Series.” It started as a tongue and cheek reference to an essay about how the only ‘real’ art is art on canvas.
When I started doing this kind of stuff I had a job at a copy shop, so photo-copies were readily available. I started blowing up my photos because I couldn’t afford to make huge prints. I had a work I called ‘Name Brands: a Photocopy of a Cotton Swab’ which was a Xerox™ of a Q-Tip™ blown up 11” x 17”. I had an unlimited edition which I was giving away for free, and then a limited edition of 10 that I had signed and numbered and was selling for $100 each.
I was doing very weird stuff like that, but the “Wallpaper Series” kind of lost all that postmodern hoo-ha and they have become pretty pieces of art that you would want to hang above your couch. They’re still pretty conceptual, but you don’t really need to know that to appreciate them.
UM: What do you ride?
TN: I currently ride a Honda 919. Honda calls it a “Naked Street Fighter” which is a pretty cool thing. They call it a Hornet in Europe, and I’m told it’s pretty popular for bike messengers (which is one of the many weird jobs I’ve had in this city).
UM: What are the lego mosaics?
TN: These are some of my newer pieces – I created mosaics out of Legos™. They’re basically two-dimensional, but they have some depth and I frame them so that you can take them off the wall and see the back if you want. They’re quite interesting in that they are geometrical, modern, and brightly colored, but limited to the 8 original Lego™ colors. People like them! I’ve already sold two and a gallery downtown is interested. I’m now making colored prints which I’m selling.
UM: What do you consider your most conceptual piece?
TN: That would have to be a work I call ‘The Artist’s Eye’ which is a sort of video of my eye in motion that runs on a Mac Plus (an outdated computer from the late 80’s) and was programmed using HyperCard which is an outdated program that was in a lot of ways the model for what we now know as the internet. This stuff was already pretty outdated by the time I was programming it. I have a love of out-dated technology. That’s why I’m going to be calling my brewery Eight-Bit Brewery.
So I sold a version of this piece to the country of Sweden. There was a call for art at this place called Electro-Hype ROM in the city of Malmo. I emailed them the program, and the Art Council of Sweden bought the piece. With the conversion of US currency to the Euro at the time, I made a little more than I was selling it for, which was nice.
I considered this a great success because it really validated me as an artist working with ideas. I emailed them digital information and they gave me money for it. I literally sold a thought to a country! And not in a snake oil salesman sort of way.
UM: Tell us about your work at Urban Moto.
TN: I started working at Urban Moto Magazine in July doing layout, when it was 24 pages and it’s now at 48! It’s fun. I’ve always enjoyed layout; it’s arranging ideas in visual form. I like making other people look good. It’s a double edged sword though – if I make them look bad, then I look bad, but if I do a good job you don’t even notice my work.
And of course working at Urban Moto ties into important themes in my life; art, motorcycles, writing. And a lot of guys who ride bikes drink beer too.
I also have done layout for YLEM.
UM: What’s YLEM?
TN: It’s the name chosen by a group of people interested in the nexus of art, science and technology. Ylem is the primordial ooze that we all came from. It’s sort of pre-matter, or what there was before the first element (Hydrogen) came into existence.
I’ve been with YLEM for about 6 years, doing just about everything; from membership to layout. I’ve been president of the thing for the past 3 years or so. We have a bi-monthly newsletter we publish, we host gatherings every other month featuring interesting keynote speakers from the art and science worlds, and we have gallery shows. You should come to one these forums, they’re really interesting. Check out at ylem.org.
UM: You’re sort of a renaissance man, Torrey. You’re an artist, you’re a big part of YLEM, you do layout for Urban Moto Magazine every month (I can’t tell you what a fantastic job you do as that would sound too self-serving being that I am Urban Moto), you brew your own beer which is quite good, you write for both UM and the YLEM newsletter, and you do graphics on the side?
TN: Don’t forget inexhaustible love machine!
And yes, I’ve been doing graphic design for quite some time, and I just started my own company quite conveniently located just down the hall from Urban Moto. I’ve done a variety of projects for clients. Check out my website at: torrrey.nommesen.com.
Loads of affordable art by probably most of North Beach’s most notorious (and longstanding) artists, with the crowd consisting of probably most of North Beach’s most notorious (and longstanding) characters. Always an outrage.
And now for brief public service announcement for those of you concerned about the economy: The PanOpticonsters understand that affordable art sells, and it’s selling tonight, like for example a large painting by Lawrence Ferlinghetti for $500. You see artsters– here’s the deal– at some point, selling prices become too attractive for buyers to pass up, even if they might have to forego a few meals to bulk up their collections.
I got some press about my show this Tuesday:
“Eclectic artists Torrey Nommesen and Scott Blake are moving in for a one-night-only show, Nommesen displaying his Lego mosaics and Blake featuring his Bar Code installation. The show runs from 5 to 10 p.m., so you can hit ’em before the library reading, if you prefer. Rather than attempt a feeble description of what to expect, go to Nommesen’s blog and check it out for yourself. You can also find out about Nommesen’s other upcoming North Beach appearances. This guy’s all over the map artistically, so each show is different from the last.”
“As usual with art, we are fully cognizant that the artist has spent hella more time thinking about it than we have…”