Cedric Tai

2019 - 2020

"I don't scare me" (2020)

A 5-minute excerpt of a work in progress. (Click above to PLAY)

I've mocked up a VR piece, but I want to do this as a full scale installation somewhere. Lots of things scared me as a kid, obviously scary movies did. As part of a journey into making courageous art, this was one of the more direct ways I thought I could make work that was about facing fears of mine. I first envisioned slowing down jump scares from the The Exorcist, Evil Dead and Event Horizon to... Ernest Scared Stupid, (which in my defense was just as scary as I remember it being).

Image of my first bad tattoo, a bubble level tramp stamp

"50 Bad Artworks" (2019 - ongoing)

I became determined to get back into an encouraging space of art making, and I figured that I had stopped being prolific and openly silly because of unprocessed, unconscious fear. Also, I was reading a lot of artsy self-help books at the time...

"Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art." - Neil Gaiman (Commencement speech to Philadelphia's University of the Arts)

"(Harper Lee, Ralph Ellison, F. Scott Fitzgerald)... And any other creator, famous or obscure, who ever vanished beneath the shadow of their own real or imagined reputation. I wish somebody had told them all to go fill up a bunch of pages with blah-blah-blah and just publish it, for heaven's sake, and ignore the outcome." - Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic)

"The final step to making change to the internal chatter is to take a contrary action. What this means is doing something concrete that acts ''as if'' the fear-based thought were not true... ...it is crucial that your meta-observational process results in an action that runs contrary to the mean inner voice." - Beth Pickens (Your Art Will Save Your Life)

50 bad artworks continued... (2019)

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I may have tried to do the #mostNicheArtComedySet as my second ever attempt at stand up and I may have also ruined any chance anyone will ever tell me cool stuff going on in the Art World again. #50BAW . Any references go right over your head? Honestly that was not my initial intention, I just felt compelled to stick strictly to a theme, and it got out of hand. . It was styled like a roast, but I want to see how much I can avoid self-deprecating humor. . A lot of good stuff being tried out by other comics! and the evening went by quick, I apologize for alienating the audience that didn’t want to hear about the celebrity culture of art that haunts many of us... it’s a problem. . #OpenMicComedy #Cringe #NeedsMoreSilence #TellingArtJokes . There could be so many better hashtags on this... . This set goes out to @cascassafrass and Rach @Yezbickr who laughed way too hard at every joke so I went in way too overconfident.

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A new Brixel appeared! (2019)

Amber Hunt contacted me out of the blue about making a Brixel mural at Palmer Park Prep, set to re-open as a montessori in Detroit. She remembered seeing one being made years ago at Hostel Detroit and thought it was just the thing to draw people into this neighborhood school and liven up a space that could be used like an outdoor classroom.

I gave her a design I thought might work, explained the best way to acquire free paint, and made a digital paint-by-numbers plan so they could try out interchangable colors. Here's an in-progress shot she sent me. It looks like they're doing a great job!

Palmer Park Pool

TrashPuppet TrashPuppet

1st version of the Trash Puppet before the Blueberry Edition


Impromptu Performance Lecture
during a drop-in at Processing Community Day (LA)

Partial transcript from 1/19/2019 at UCLA:

"I have an idea I'd like to present that maybe dovetails with this conference. I'd call it the first annual ADHD conference for artists. ADHD is actually a misnomer, so this Dr. Russell Barkley has given us two much better terms: Time-blindness and Intention Deficit Disorder.

About 4 - 5% of the adult population has Time-Blindness and I am looking at a subsection of that have gone into the arts. I've already begun some preliminary research into artists with Intention-Deficit Disorder. When I took a poll of people to see if they can see signs of ADHD in their work, or if it contributes to their creative work in any way, the responses went against assumptions I had that people went into art because it was more forgiving and it could be more on one's own terms. Often, the overwhelming self-management tasks overshadowed other beliefs such as the necessity for hyperfocus, or being an empath. Dr.Barkley says that those who do good work, do it despite having Intention-Deficit Disorder, not because of it, and YouTube channels such as ''How to ADHD'' devote a good amount of time to note aspects that seem like special powers, quirks worth appreciating, and both can be right.

This focus on how those with Time Blindness experience intense extremes, feelings of all-or-nothing and the reality of stopping altogether in the face of adversity, parallels economic extremes that we are seeing in wealth inequality in America and in the world. This is not a metaphor, but rather the activities that artists with ADHD take on, where often lives are made up of clever strategies for survival, they are a barometer for economic systems with particular demands of flexibility or failure placed on people not on situations.

Amongst the few respondents that have worked for years on being as self-aware as possible, they lamented the lack of research and useful resources for adults with Intention-Deficit Disorder, and that they have had to figure everything out on their own in a complex story of failure, devastation, and self-moderation. I often work with other artists and pride myself on bringing them into a fold of a different way of thinking and working, helping others see the possibility of what I imagine work to be, and how work can be redefined to address salient local and cultural topics.

There are two questions that I would like to present with this ADHD conference, which are controversial and personal: What is the relationship to ADHD and being an artist (using my own practice as a starting point?) And could ADHD symptoms illuminate and even confront Capitalism, where those with the disorder who fail to meet its demands find solidarity?"

Full talk without C.A.R.T. has been found here.

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