Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Requiem for an Anonymous Artist", 2013

   Here is one of my latest traditional will debut this month at Raleigh's cozy vegetarian eatery, The Remedy Diner. The piece originated from a sketch I had done a while back. This odd little concept had intrigued me enough that I wanted to explore it further in a different medium. Visually it has weird narrative implications...what is it? Why does it have a fish/embryo/brain thingy for a head...under a glass fishbowl/helmet? And why is it walking around on stilts? The answer---beats the hell out of me? But to me that is the point anyway...I love being perplexed by my own subliminal juxtapositions. These little cryptic pictures are loaded with peculiar taradiddles...perhaps that echoes the kid in me. I never want to lose that.
   The challenge was twofold: capture the essence of the sketch, but reinterpret it into a more "rendered" illustration. The sketch had been scanned previously  and so for reference, I printed it out into a scale that would fit within the canvas (BTW... small piece at 9" x 12"). Painting on black background reminds me of the garishness of velvet  that technique.  So I transferred the image to the canvas board and positioned it on the picture plane so his motion showed him walking into the shot. I also tilted his form slightly backwards to accentuate the weight of slugging long stilts over a terrain...and to have an opportunity for the horizon to bulge slightly upward.
   I wanted to place my critter in a tranquil environment, the fence posts evoked a southwest feeling, so I decided a pseudo-sci/fi-western setting would do just fine. The addition of the strange vegetation was important to add to the painting's spirit. I had originated the alien cacti while doodling many years ago. I compulsively do this in staff/board meetings...a little habit I fell into as a child when I would scribble weird images on the margins of homework or tests. I also try to save some of these for referencing it paid off here (unfortunately the original sketch has not been scanned).
   My goal is to explore this image even further in the digital realm. Certainly using Photoshop to add color on the scanned painting. It will serve as a great gray scale base to work over. But I also will manipulate the sketch too using Illustrator's fantastic blob-brush. This will take it into a comic-book illustration direction. I can't wait to get cracking. I will post any results later on.
   OK...I suppose that is it for now. It makes me feel a bit naked...well, not so much naked, but dressed in my pajamas getting milk at the local Walmart sort of focus on my own work. These talks are a bit self-indulgent. They are soliloquies offering up a slice of my mind for you to ingest. Hopefully that means Bon appetite...instead of a bone at y'feet.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"21st Century Schizoid-Snowman", 2010

  This is another painting from a few years ago. And again my dada-esque painting process mimics the spontaneous conjuring I apply in my sketchbooks...a totally random concept, and then slowly let the piece reveal itself in greater detail. After a bath of layered drips of black, I started positioning the torus/torso together (Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes Snowmen certainly had a subliminal influence over me).
  I wanted to put a cliched valentine heart in the empty core... reminiscent of Oz's Tin Man. Satirical ice veining seemed absurd...yet somehow appropriate. An overabundance of carrots makes him seem  more menacing...but also a bit obsessive. The multiple eyes are designed to give our snow-critter a spider-like presence. I made the arms waving a frantic warning...perhaps as an homage to the Lost in Space robot. 
  Speaking of the arms...I consciously constricted them from penetrating outside the picture plane...for several reasons. 1st, it forces the form to seem boxed makes for a more claustrophobic sensation. I am naturally fearful of confinement, so this heightens my anxiety. And an even better reason is the "childlike" painting aptitude it resonates. Back in my college years I strove to mimic children's art. This was a point of salvation for freed me from the yoke of self-imposed aesthetic constriction. I am still extremely interested in child art (as my kids will attest to, since I often ogle and then bastardize their work).
  Perhaps the painting's "coup de grĂ¢ce" is the Easter hay. It seemed fitting to snuggle the snowman in his own nest of evocative plastic green grass. The bright color anchors the composition and vies with the magenta chapeau. Falling snow helps bring continuity to the overall piece
  There you have soliloquy on a by-gone piece. My next post will focus on pieces from my upcoming show at the Remedy (March 2013).

Monday, February 18, 2013

"Monster Nuclear Family" (2010), Acrylic & colored pencil on canvas

  This is a painting I did a few years back. I decided to make it one of my first posts, because it exemplifies my style and sense of humor. But, what the hell does all that mean? Well...
   My approach to art has always worked best if I let things develop in a happenstance...not totally Dada...manner. I love blasting away at a darkened background and letting the subtleties unveil themselves...almost like ghosts emerging out from a Rothko painting...subletting my subconscious with Rorschach menageries. Then I begin letting the problem-solving auspicate my inclinations...dissect the plane into conjoined incongruities...administer imbalance and balance with point-counterpoint aesthetic injections...buoy roaming bits of color onto the undulating patterns.         
   As things start to congeal  I dive in close to deliver as much excessive details as possible...I like working so close that the whole dissipates into a singular constituent...then, on lapses in mediated pain-Ting...I pull back to a more macro vision to see how I can join the whole...Frankenstein stitching...linking it back into the Gestating-Gestalt. 
   I keep up this madness till I achieve a dab bit sanguine of lucidity...or just say stop!
   You might ask what does this painting mean...well, it is a bit of a satire of the "modern" nuclear family. After all we are all monsters...especially in our own families. This is a blended family...Dad and mum...a son from a previous marriage, three kids, mum's parents (giving disapproving glances to step-grandson), brother-in-law and his blended family, plus the ghost of mum past and pet thing. All posed for their Owen-Mills moment...since that overly posed depiction often "reflects" reality...right?