Walkman, Stripes, and Monsters

I have now been working for almost two months in my new studio at Sporting Club Russafa and have finished the series of 10 new Mascleta works on panel . Also, I’m working on 3 new paintings on canvas of the Distortion series.

Over the years I can always remember what music I was listening to while creating certain series of work. In 1989 the Pixies defined my freshman year of RISD and I’ll never forget listening to Sade on a Sony Walkman in my junior year in 1992, flipping the cassette tape over and over. My favorite track was the first song on the second side of the tape. Even now when I hear a song by the Pixies I am transported back to the Homer dorms, my Doc Martins and motorcycle jacket. Then the Walkman gave way to the CD player which always ran out of power and still only played one album at a time. The cassette player seemed great compared to a scratched CD and its dead host. To think we survived college with no cell phones or laptops or mp3 players. Now, on my iPod I have been listening and painting to alt-J and Michael Kiwanuka.

Here is a view of work in progress in my studio:


Speaking of stripes, the New Year brings an end to an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of work by Wade Guyton. There is nothing really significant about this closing except the affect this show had on me. After reading the review of the exhibition in the New York Times I silently raged, “I quit, I quit, I quit!” And not for the obvious reasons one might suspect. Did I want to quit because he uses technology to make work? No. Check out the beauty that is Bill Viola. Did I want to quit because he works from pre-existing images or photography? No. Chuck Close’s amazing early work was painted from photographs. No, the reason I wanted to quit was that Wade Guyton didn’t even like art as a kid. He even admits that his step-father did his drawing homework for him in Elementary school. And for his show at the Whitney, Guyton “…tore illustrations from books or auction catalogs and ran them through his printer…” Not even the content was originally conceived.

How does someone accidentally trip and fall into a career as an artist? I have lived and breathed art in one form or another for as long as I can remember. Shall I rant on about how my grey right now is actually blue based and mixed from at least 5 different colors? Should I stamp my feet and scream that my stripes are all painted by hand with a brush? Should I pout and complain that my work takes weeks and often months to complete?

I saw an interview with Chuck Close where he admitted to being spit in the face by other portrait artists for painting from a photograph. Shall I spit in the face of Wade Guyton for printing out stripes scanned from a book and belched out of a printer? No, time to paint some more stripes…and maybe make some monsters…

I spent a day with my girls making folk art of sorts out of socks and gloves. Here is the collection of monsters designed and made by us posed in front of some of my, ahem, stripes:


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