Sunday, October 13, 2013

Yoze Spring Summer 2014 Collection project

This past April I was approached by Miguel Rodriguez, the creative director for clothing brand Yoze. Together with the brand owner and creator, Dr. Davin Odia,  Miguel was planning a spring/summer women's line using my images on the fabric. We worked at my studio manipulating and colorizing some  compositions from the Beautiful Again series. The line debuted last night during Concept at Quixote studios in West Hollywood. It was really stunning to see my works as both soft texture and bold design element draped over willowy models parading the runway.

Sketches for the Spring line
Miguel is a gentleman and a pleasure to work with. He has assembled a marvelous team that pulled together the entire line in a short time. The clothing is bright and sparkly, and the team are all to be commended for such an outstanding creative product.
J.T. Burke and Miguel Rodriguez

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Mission Street Scroll completed.

It's finally done.  The Mission Street Scroll turned out to be a slightly wacky - but generally accurate - 38-foot long panoramic print of Mission Street in our little town of South Pasadena, California. I created this print for the city's 125th anniversary celebration, and it will soon be deposited into the Preservation Foundation's time capsule, to be opened in 2088. You can see the final, signed print online at a website created just for the picture:
The Mission Street Scroll in studio

The Mission Street Scroll west end
Our studio, shown on the west end of the street (above). 
The complete panorama shows 1.1 miles of Mission.

After completing the print, I presented it to the local community with the opportunity for individuals to sign it and write small "remembrances" onto it. There were two signing events. The first signing took place on June 23 at the South Preservation Foundation annual meeting. The second one took place last Saturday, July 13 in the courtyard of city hall.
The Mission Street Scroll signing

It's my hope that The Scroll and its written notes will present a moment in time for viewers in the future. When the time capsule is opened in 75 years the residents of South Pasadena will be able to compare the street and its landmarks, then and now. And because a city is more than just its buildings, the voices of the people who lived and worked here will add a richer personal understanding of life in South Pas as it was in 2013.

About the Scroll

The panorama is not particularly accurate; the truncated autos, impossible building perspectives, miss­ing trees and misshapen sidewalks are all testament to the limitations of the medium and the limits of my efforts. The skies are enhanced and the roadways are remanufactured. Anomalies abound. But for all its inaccuracies and visual trickery, this image conjures a familiar vision of home for all of us who live and work here.

There is no automated "stitching" software for this kind of panorama, so the images were cobbled together like a free-form mosaic. I worked to keep the building fronts as accurate as possible, but the laws of physics insist that foregrounds (cars and sidewalks) are truncated and backgrounds (trees, buildings, etc) repeat. 
I created this panorama between March and June of this year. I walked Mission Street back and forth with my camera and snapped a picture about every 20 feet, nearly 2400 images in all. I captured the north side of the street on March 14, the south side on May 11. Back in my studio, I assembled the street at my computer, one block at a time, with each block taking 2-3 hours to assemble. When all the blocks were completed I assembled them together to create the entire street.

For what it's worth, I also photographed Fair Oaks Avenue from the Rialto Theatre to the War memorial building. The individual blocks were composited together, but that project is left unfinished, perhaps to be completed someday in the future.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Music Fest 2013 - a beautiful day at the studio

Good music, lots of friends – a really fun time last Saturday. Vids & pics from the event.

Friday, April 26, 2013

SXSP III at BurkeTriolo May 4

The South Pas Eclectic Music Fest returns to BurkeTriolo Studio on Saturday May 4 with our very own South by South Pasadena III. See the lineup below - 
Special welcome to returning acts Tapioca and the Flea and South Pas' own Torches
Pizza by Mama's & cold beer on tap. 
Free Admission
BurkeTriolo Studio 538 Mission St, South Pasadena, 2-10pm

I'll be showing previews of my latest project "Mission Street 2013" - 
J.T. Burke-O-Ramic views of Mission Street and Fair Oaks Ave.

Emerging Artists' Stage Lineup
8:00-9:00 Torches
6:45-7:45 Tapioca and the Flea
5:30-6:30 L.A. Witch
4:30-5:15 Mt. Ossa
3:30-4:15 Jacaranda Red 

2:30-3:15 Phoebe Bridgers

DJ sets by Conway Stiles

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Mission Street Project

Unless you live here, you probably wouldn't know that our beloved little town, South Pasadena California, is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. In honor of the town's B-day, the Preservation Foundation is burying a time capsule filled with memorabilia to be opened at the 200th anniversary in 2088. I've begun a project to add to the capsule; I'm creating a 40-block panorama of Mission Street (north and south) and Fair Oaks Ave (east and west).

The specific technique is all my own, littered with Escher-esque impossible angles and half-dissolved autos. It's become a Pleasantville of a sort – not terribly artificial, but sweetened. The sky is gorgeous blue and people on the streets frequently appear in multiple places simultaneously. I call the compositions J.T. Burke-O-ramas.

This isn't a small project. The photography is the easy part; I walk in the parking lane and shoot across the street, one side at a time. I walk quickly and snap lots of overlapping images. Compositing in the studio is more time-consuming. I assemble each block one at a time, about one every two hours. I strip in a blue sky and mend the roadway. I emphasize our beautiful trees and try not to lose the street signs. I take special care with the storefronts.

What the pictures lack in accuracy they make up in sincerity; any South Pas resident will instantly recognize most panels as everyday views of our little town. And though it's a little tedious, working on this project has become a guilty pleasure. As of today I've completed 19 of the 40 blocks. I'll be sad (but relieved) when it's complete. The time capsule goes into the ground end of June.

Watch the work in progress at

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Paradise Circus premiering at LAAA

Amphybia the Froggish Lassy
I've been working on a new series of images since last fall. "The Paradise Circus" is an evolution of work I've done over the past few years; it combines vintage costume jewelry with human figures from my archives in a style that references children's fairy tales and Byzantine iconography. The images are accompanied with verse that helps to illuminate the concept (see below). 

The series playfully rejects canonical notions of heaven and hell,  meaning that perhaps sister Mary Joseph, my first grade teacher, might not have had any better insight about the hereafter than I did when she warned of the dangers of eternal damnation and hellfire.

(She really did talk about "hellfire," comparing it to holding your hand over a lit candle until your skin burned. "Hell is like that over your whole body for eternity!" she told us. We were 6 years old. We didn't want to go to Hell.)

Perhaps there's a gentler space between the world and the Light that the soul experiences which we haven't even considered, a rapture that we all endure each in our own way. A place that is, by its very nature, without fear, pain or hardship. The thought challenges some fundamental religious notions. I'm excited about this new series and look forward to doing more. 

The first five large format images of the series will be presented in a unique installation at the LA Art Association's Gallery 825 from February 23 until March 22. Opening reception is Saturday, Feb 23 from 6-9pm. Everyone welcome.

N!xau and Reynard

Upon the rocky isle we begin
Life of passions, life of fears
Simple minds with too few choices
All done in short years

Wondering what more there is
We search for the salve
We read the book, we sing the chant
It’s said that’s all we have

Behold the Paradise Circus
Glorious spectacle, resplendent sight
It’s the show that never ends
Astounding beauty inside the brightest, bright white light

See the Spectacle!  Be the Spectacle!
All past wounds healed
See the Spectacle!  Be the Spectacle!
All the answers revealed

 An exposition for one and all
Each performance made by you
Shaman says only for the righteous
But it plays for the wicked, too

Simple enough to get there
Just breathe your earthly last
Gaze into the stars above
Gymnasia the Dance Fly
And care not for life now passed

The mask becomes your character
You are what you want to be
What you believe you now become
Create your own destiny

See the Spectacle!  Be the Spectacle!
All the secrets unsealed
See the Spectacle!  Be the Spectacle!
All the truths revealed

 Feel the embrace of ten-thousand
The warmth of open arms
A member of the family
Finally home, safe from harm

Milton’s book made us look
With pity on the Dark One
But his mind’s eye was just like ours
So, too, just like the Son’s

For Man is the measure of all things
Even as we enter the tent
Then the Circus plays, for days and days
‘til into the Light we’re sent

 See the Spectacle!  Be the Spectacle!
All the old habbits yield
See the Spectacle!  Be the Spectacle!
All the spoofs revealed

– The Paradise Circus