Monday, March 4, 2013

Interview w/ BlueCanvas

it's late but at least I put it online, sorry. ok?
I feel that my answers to these would be pretty different I was to do this interview again. All too freakin serious for some reason, I think the phrasing of the questions threw me off.

You've mentioned that a lot of your work is about lost and found adolescence. What do you mean by this?
A break in pattern sticks out more than the pattern itself. Like composition in art, some of life’s most exciting experiences come from breaking our monotonous conducts. My work celebrates these instances.

Do you think there is an over-glorification of youth in our society, and in consequence a tendency to hang on to it longer than we should? If so, why do you think this is?

Of course. Our media has definitely shaped our attitudes towards the worthiness of age. Often, it overlooks ages values and tears at it on more superficial levels blah blah blah.  Thing is, by human nature, to appear young is to appear as a virile, befitting mate. It makes sense, but also alienates a ton of people who don’t fit that demographic. This group is also the people who buy into it hoping to avoid some-sort of social estrangement. It’s cyclical.

Being an artist requires a certain limberness of mind often associated with the sense of discovery a child has. Do you find that the more you know the harder it is to stay creative, or at least to balance it with the need to be responsible?

In school it's acceptable/mandatory to emulate. It would be very difficult to become a strong painter without some sort of replication through their passage. The more you know and are familiar with, the more profound and knowledgeable your ideas and marks will hopefully be. You know what's out there and so you should know the voids where others haven't explored so go get ‘em tiger. I get really excited about a lot of different genres and will explore them in a sketchbook or graphic design stuff. I won’t implement them in my work unless it’s a good fit. That said, I try not to over-examine other artists so that I can realize my own marks. So yeah, there’s a weird balance in there somewhere I guess being fucking freaked by how crazy-talented some people are. There are times I feel like an ostrich with its head in the sand.

Can you tell us what your creative process is like from start to finish?

I keep my mind open to situations I’m in, stories shared, things I find and places I wind up in. But sometimes they stem from just straight random. Usually the series will only start with a few ideas or images and pretty soon I get stuck. Then, I ride the bus. For me the bus has become a creative sanctity for contemplation, brainstorming and reflection. There’s something about being jostled in it that tin can that shakes it out of me. My bus rides are full of creative stimulus, billboards, architecture, arguments, babies, babes and chaos everywhere. You can see a lot of life in 20 minutes.

My reference shoot starts with a pretty vague idea of how things are to work out. I keep my angles very flexible and move around the subject a lot. Never really sure where I’m going with it, I shoot as many options as possible. I’ll also experiment with still lifes and props trying to expand on the initial direction. The biggest success in this process has always been keeping my models comfortable by maintaining good communication, cracking jokes and a bottle of wine on set. I generally don’t direct for a single look or expression. Continuously shooting while the model moves in and out of the frame, in between gestures and expressions. 95% of the time I find the most valuable material when the subject isn’t thinking about what they’re doing. The in-between shit is raw and genuine. During this process the direction of the painting changes a lot through the discoveries made.

My collage has been a great element that contrasts the often slow and arduous process of rendering. I’ve found that much of my energy goes into foresight. I’m constantly trying to anticipate how my patterns, washes and strokes are going to relate the rendered elements on top. Despite being the most chaotic stage I’m the most calm during the collage process because I know that if something isn’t going to work in the next stage I can simply add more, take away, wipe-out or go over. Because of my worrisome nature, I inherently paint in a way that mistakes can be embraced. Like my surface prep, my oil palette is much more saturated than the reference. My goal is to amplify secondary and tertiary colours in order to create a strong or better, surreal sense of realism. I’ve said too much, stopping here.    

Let's talk about form in your paintings. You mix realistic figures with more abstract backgrounds, like visions of decontextualized specters coming in and out of the ether. How much freedom do you allow yourself when exploring a form and when do you know you've struck that balance of clarity and obscurity?

Generally when I approach a painting (post-collage) I’m focused on areas that resonate with the narrative. In the figure, a strong portrait is pretty consistent in my work. There’s focus also on elements of the figure I feel are strong characteristics of that particular model. Hands are almost as equally expressive as faces so they get a lot of attention. Those few things aside I’m constantly concentrating on the relationships between forms and the collage. I want to communicate as much as possible but with the least amount of work. If the surface preparation holds no appropriate tones or colours I’ll turn to stoke economy type brushwork with my oils‘cause I’m lazy.

This question is tricky because I feel like the answer has been shifting around for quite sometime. My earlier paintings depict very clear and rendered figures that were laboriously worked on for multiple days. Now, I get through a figure in a day and sometimes feel it was rushed in light of my past work. Now it’s about covering the bases but without over-polishing and much soft-brush work. I try to keep a quick pace so that I have to consider my marks more in order to be efficient.

Are your paintings meant to be narrative or simply expressions of a particular mood, attitude or ideal?

There is narrative behind most of my paintings. Sometimes certain feelings bring certain ideas and other times I just want to paint something irreverent or someone doing some crazy shit. In order to have the viewer understand where these characters are coming from, an environment is added to create context. A story is born. However the goal isn’t always to tell a story per se but often place the viewer somewhere they can parallel the painting with their own story.  

Have you experimented with digital painting at all? 

I have but I’m not very good at it. Digital painting is something I would really have to commit to before doing it. The programs are fucking ginormous. It would take me a long time before I knew what I liked doing. I grew up working with objects and materials. Without substance, I lose attention quickly in my work. Brb, just saw a cat.

Are there any particular ways you see your work evolving in the future?

I won’t elude too directly here. But as you can see from some of my work I often like portraying multiple perspectives/facets of a subject. The more angles you see of someone, the better you can understand them and their circumstance. In some cases you can expect my paintings to become more cinematic-chronicling multiple events and conversations captured in a single picture. 

No comments:

Post a Comment