About raywongwc

Raymond Wong studied fine arts at CSU East Bay and graduated with a BFA in 2007. He draws inspiration from the cynical realists of China and various American filmmakers. His work has shown at the LoBot Gallery in Oakland and the de Young Museum as part of A Tribute to Asian American Art and Cultural Expressions: 1900 to the Present. From 2007-2010, Wong maintained his art practice in his studio in Emeryville, CA. He is currently a resident artist with Root Division.

Notes from The Cartoon Art Museum and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

I was able to visit two museums on Thursday, December 20th: The Cartoon Art Museum and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I saw some awesome puppets, a bull’s head in formaldehyde, and a painting by Jay DeFeo that took eight years to complete.  What a great way to spend end-of-the-world eve!

Actual puppets from ParaNorman!

Actual puppets from ParaNorman!

Actual puppets from Paranorman!

Actual puppets from ParaNorman!

A bunch of mouths. Too much to draw.

A bunch of mouths. Too much to draw.

The Jenny Saville painting was at least ten feet tall. Damien Hirst's piece was on floor.

The Jenny Saville painting was at least ten feet tall. Damien Hirst’s piece was on floor.

John Currin's Laughing Nude, 1998 and Jay DeFeo's Cygnus, 1975.

John Currin’s Laughing Nude, 1998 and Jay DeFeo’s Cygnus, 1975.

Notes from the San Jose Museum of Art – Eric Fischl: Dive Deep

Sketches from Black Friday.

Woman surrounded by dogs, 1979-1980 (sideways) and figure detail of an untitled piece.

Woman surrounded by dogs, 1979-1980 (sideways) and figure detail of an untitled piece.

Portrait of the artist as an old man, 1984 also titled Portrait of "pervy guy" by a SJMA guest.

Portrait of the artist as an old man, 1984 also titled Portrait of a “pervy guy” by a SJMA visitor.

Krefeld Project Living Room, Scene # 4, 2002 (detail).

Krefeld Project Living Room, Scene # 4, 2002 (detail).

Study for the chair, The Bed, Getting Ready, 2000 (detail).

Study for the chair, The Bed, Getting Ready, 2000 (detail).



Notes from The International Art Museum of America

The International Art Museum of America opened its doors on October, 15th, 2011. This institution showcases works made by the alleged reincarnation of the primordial sambhogakaya Buddha.  Earlier this week, Artist Andy Gouveia and I paid the museum a visit and stepped into the world of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. I only came up with a couple of drawings and some verbatim notes of description labels. There were odd curatorial choices that made it hard to observe and understand some of the pieces. The interior also looked like Tony Montana’s house so the lavishness was distracting at times. One thing is certain, the IAMA is unlike any other art museum in San Francisco.

Bust of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. Andy observed that the text by this piece “smacks down other Buddhas”, stating that they are only self-conferred reincarnations. The label told us that Chang Buddha III was tested and approved by a number of Tibetan Buddhist sects.

The museum celebrates the work of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III but there were very few of his original paintings on display. Most of the artist’s two-dimensional works were scans or photo reproductions printed on traditional hanging scrolls. Andy and I even saw pixelation in some of pieces. All the paintings were hung within glass display cases. We spent a lot of time getting close to the pieces — fogging the glass up with or breath —  asking each other “is this one real?” Many of the reproductions had areas of opaque paint or textured varnish brushed on top to make them more unique.

There were a number of original, western style paintings (primarily from the 19th century) on display. Unlike the Buddha pieces, the European paintings had descriptive labels with dates and the artist’s country of origin. These works did not have their own section; they were hung next to more H.H Dorje Chang Buddha III paintings. To show his admiration of western art, the Buddha made two paintings based on works by Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh. These works combined oil paint and what looked like spray foam to achieve three-dimensional effects. It was described as the “Thickly Piled Patches of Color” style.

H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is inspired by van Gogh, paints a picture, then the Dutch artist is dismissed.

The sculptural works on display were interesting and fun to look at. On the IAMA website, the sculptures are described as faux boulders. Cavernous worlds exist within these egg-like objects. Andy and I guessed that they were most likely made from the foam spray seen in some of the Buddha’s other paintings and decorative frames. Each piece sat upon rippling silky fabric, fully enclosed in glass. Andy commented that if the sculptures were placed on plain white pedestals with no enclosure, they would resemble something seen at YBCA or some other contemporary gallery.

“Yun” art is still a mystery to me. I wasn’t able to find any information on the Yun process or the materials involved.

There is no doubt that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is a prolific artist. However, the International Art Museum of America collection showed us the work of a dabbler. There were many beautiful works on display but the word “mastery” did not come to mind when viewing them. The quality of Buddha’s calligraphy was questionable and the extravagantly ornate paintings (and exhibition space) seemed contradictory to Buddhist ideals. Andy and I left the museum with more questions than before. I still feel ignorant of Tibetan Buddhist doctrines and H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is more enigmatic than ever.

If you have read this far or have recently visited the IAMA please share your thoughts.


Matcha: Taking Up Space at the Asian Art Museum was a complete success! On Thursday, July 26th, 2012, 730 guests showed up to participate in the final Space Bi project. The turnout proved that you don’t have to be a celebrity chef or Balinese guitar virtuoso to draw a crowd. Local emerging artists have an audience too! It was great to see so much active talent and creativity under one roof!

Reunited! Me, Imin Yeh, and Jennifer Yin on top of the steps in Samsung Hall. Not too long ago, we all worked at the Asian Art Museum together.

On June, 23rd, Imin Yeh and I had a casual G-chat session about what I would be contributing to the event. She suggested that I make a new collage piece using the new Asian Art Museum logo as the format. My ongoing series of fantastical landscape collages are tied to the Asian Art Museum in many ways, so this particular body of work was the most appropriate for the Matcha project (see earlier post “Fractured Skies”).

“Quantifier”. The original pieces is roughly 14″x15″.

The piece took about two weeks to complete. Like my previous collages, I used cut photographs of Korean palaces to build the structures within my landscape. I also drew inspiration from narrative Japanese screens and Chinese landscape paintings. The vertical formats and unique perspectives that I saw in traditional painted works informed some of my artistic decisions. It was important that my work matched the Space Bi mission statement as well as the themes of the current  “Phantoms of Asia” exhibit.

So what’s the significance of the shape of this piece? When I was still an employee at Asian Art Museum my boss explained the logo concept to me. I was impressed by meaning behind the new brand. The universal quantifier (∀) is often informally read as “for all”. This was a loaded symbol which to me represented renewed relevance and inclusiveness. Marc Mayer, educator for public programs, told me that the boldness of the new logo was one of the reasons he was interested in working at the Asian Art Museum.

Our  original idea was to enlarge the finished collage and paste it on  the 7-foot “A” sculpture behind the admissions desk. Marc took care of the logistics of this undertaking. The costs of vinyl printing and installation were extravagant and I was honored that the museum even considered investing in the project. Ultimately, my artwork was not on brand and could not be used to cover the sculpture. The museum often uses imagery within the logo but the right diagonal bar of the quantifier is ALWAYS blank. I got this news on July, 17th, nine days before the event.

“if you build it, they will come”

So on top of coordinating 28 artists, handling all the PR for the event and screen printing bandanas and gift bags for guests and artists, Imin built a miniature version of the “A” sculpture! On July 23rd, she handed it over to me and I finished it with enlarged prints from Office Max and some acrylic paint.

On the evening of the event, I hosted a drop-in collage workshop where visitors could make their own version of the logo. Many thanks to the staff and volunteers that helped out at the table that night. Everybody made beautiful work and nobody was on brand.

Artist Nicole Harvey

Artist Anne Lester

Anonymous artist

Notes from the Oakland Museum of California – Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes

I am convinced that Dan Clowes draws the best faces of any comic book artist alive today. There is a video installation in the Modern Cartoonist show that displays morphing portraits of Clowes characters. It was hypnotic! Each face was beautifully rendered with intricate hatching. Of all my sketching sessions at museums this past year, I struggled the most with this one to keep a steady hand. I ended up fixing up some of my drawings with a Tombow brush marker when I got back to the studio.

I think that the appeal of Clowes’s women is in their lips and big teeth. The artist has great sensibilities for prettiness.

The cover art for Eightball 17 and 18 blew me away! They are both exquisite gouache paintings with fine detail and bold colors.

Sketching from this show was a great experience. I spent two hours in the Clowes gallery alone and I still felt that I didn’t spend enough time with the work.

Oh and by the way, I own a Dan Clowes piece. Clowes sketched this picture of Enid at the Alternative Press Expo back in 2004. I saw him at APE 2011 but didn’t want to bother him again. I still kind of regret requesting Enid and not a more obscure character. You know, to prove that I was a true fan.

Notes from the Cartoon Art Museum

Here are my sketches from  Image Comics: A Twentieth Anniversary Celebration at the Cartoon Art Museum. The exhibit was a lot smaller than I had expected but it turned out that the limited size worked in favor of the art. There were tremendous amounts of detail in each original page and cover, so I had to spend a lot of time looking at them.

I learned how to draw Grifter from one of the old masters, Jim Lee. Yes, back in junior high I considered these guys to be the “old masters”. Where are Grifter’s guns? I must admit, I didn’t have much fun drawing his hands splayed out like that.

Mako, the shark guy from the Savage Dragon, was sketched from a collaborative piece with all the Image power players. I’m guessing that Erik Larson drew that particular character in the original piece. Of course, there were a few pieces from The Walking Dead in the exhibit. I was drawn to Charlie Adlard’s moody cover.