The Los Angeles Blue Bum Paintings

"Reinvent Yourself." Aerosol Enamel and Latex on Masonite, 24" X 24"

"Big Questions" Aerosol Emamel and Latex on masonite, 24" X 24"

My current series of paintings, the L.A. Blue Bum series, evolved out of an ongoing project I started in 2007 in which I write haikus with a baseball (specifically Dodger baseball) theme and make a painting out of them for display in my front yard in Echo Park. Whereas the earlier pieces featured witty observations on America’s pastime, the newer paintings are far more complex, with layers of meaning for the viewer to discover. To symbolize the historical significance of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are

"Upend The Shit You Know." Aerosol Enamel and Latex on masonite, 24" X 24"

struggling through difficult times right now because of the owners’ divorce and financial uncertainties, I have resurrected a character from the past, the Brooklyn Bum first illustrated by the great Willard Mullin. Just as Mullin’s Bum symbolized as well as satirized the boys from Brooklyn, my reincarnation of the character, the L.A. Blue Bum, roots for the boys in the Ravine while at the same time commenting with sometimes scathing candor on their follies and triumphs. But just as baseball, as American as apple Pie, has an ugly underbelly of drug use and greed, underlying the L.A. Blue Bum paintings are observations on the darker aspects of contemporary American society.

—>>> Go To the LA Blue Bum Website for more <<<—

Stephen Seemayer in his front yard displaying "Misanthropes 'R' Us". (Aerosol Enamel and Latex on masonite, 32" X 48")

Tricked Out Kicks @ Crewest Gallery

Opening night at Crewest Gallery (2011)

My sneakers are a reflection of my art, whether they are paint-spattered, burned or caked in dirt and mud. I have saved nearly all my used sneakers over the years, and recently, I started purposely painting on my shoes with the stencils and spray paints I use to make my L.A. Blue Bum paintings. Then I took it a step further and began creating brightly colored whimsical paintings on my old pairs of sneakers, incorporating their age and relative state of disrepair. I call them my Tricked Out Kicks. I wear them to openings and art events, and for the Art of Transportation exhibition at Crewest Gallery in downtown L.A., I was asked to exhibit some of them. Instead of a traditional display, I decided to show them in a way that fit the theme of the graffiti-inspired show and reflected the personality of my Echo Park neighborhood: I hung them from electrical cables strung across the gallery 14 feet off the ground.

Crewest Gallery

The 'Tricked Out Kicks' installation at Crewest Gallery.

The 'Tricked Out Kicks' installation at Crewest Gallery. (2011)

Assembled shoes in the 'Tricked Out Kicks' installation.

Have You Seen My Privacy?

In the spirit of the Getty Foundation-sponsored project “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980,” the 18th Street Art Center in Santa Monica enlisted artists to create exhibitions commemorating California’s influential contemporary art movement. “Have You Seen My Privacy?” curated by artist Richard Newton, incorporated paintings, video, installations, ephemera and correspondence into a series of exhibits by artists whose work examines personal identity in this increasingly technological age. There were also weekly public discussions with the artists involved. Newton asked me to show examples of my work that explore issues of the loss of privacy, identity and depersonalization. I chose life-size photo blowups of my “Burning Mask” series — a performance in which I crawled in an alley wearing a flaming triangle mask — and my “Unit in Orange” performance — in which I marched around a gallery with a number shaved onto my head and an aborted human fetus cupped in my hands. I also set out three “Body Bags” on the floor of the gallery and two “Buddha on Money Bags” meditation mats. On the evening of my public discussion, I previewed “Being Human,” an 11-minute video documentary on my nearly 40-year career.

Click For ‘Being Human’ Video

Captions: Above: (L to R) ‘Buddha On Moneybags’ c. 1995 (Under) Body Bags c.1998. (To Right) Unit In Orange c. 1978. (Below) Stephen Seemayer wearing fire mask c. 1978. (Below) Installation shot at 18th Art Gallery.

Richard Newton’s Website 
Richard Newton’s Video Channel
Richard Newton’s Watching In The Dark
18th Street Art Center/Gallery