I’m being told that, as an artist, I need to explain my work and process more. This bit of advice comes from a source that I came across when trying to figure out how to break into the big leagues of the art world – besides spending tens of thousands on a BFA/MFA which will get me connections. I’ve never liked networking, which explains job-hunting difficulties in the past. Plus, a degree in the arts isn’t my cup of tea. I’d rather draw exclusively on the creativity inside and discover things on my own – like the measurements involved in the human face, or the structure of leaves.
But I digress. About my latest work, at first glance, it looks like a kid had a tantrum while holding paint. Yet there is a lot more going on in the work than initially presents itself.
Like an onion, but not an ogre, this painting has layers. The overall theme of the work is the transition from winter to spring.
Initially, the painting was inspired by a cherry tree I saw when coming off the escalator at Federal Center SW, in DC. It was way too early, and the tree’s blossoms were interacting with a nearby streetlight in an awesome way. Yes, it’s the little things in life.
My idea was to paint the tree / light combo as if I were a passenger in a car speeding by. I’m still going to do another work based on this idea, but for this one, a shiny object was thrown in my way early in the process.
If you know me, I have a morbid side. I’ll wait for the eye rolls and statements of strenuous affirmation to stop…. Okay, I love crime shows (‘Dexter’ anyone?, ‘Forensic Files’?) and horror movies.
So I was watching ‘Midnight Meat Train’, a slasher flick that made its way back onto Netflix after years of being absent. The movie is about a butcher harvesting humans on late night trains in NYC for a group of primordial monsters.
What does this have to do with the painting? I’m getting there 🙂 There is this part in the movie where this girl is being dragged along the bloody floor of the train. A thought occurred to me, so I paused the movie. I looked at the scene, and then looked at my painting. I cocked my head sideways, and then rotated the painting 90 degrees. I had it! I would paint the death of winter in the colors of spring.
There’s another part of the movie that talks about art, which resonated with me, but I don’t want to stray off topic too much. So this girl is being dragged along the bloody floor, I thought to myself that it looks like winter being dragged off by spring. The hands were the trees, while the floor was time. You can see the result under the layers of color; look for the red and bone colors.
The next day, as my depression was at a momentary winter of its discontent, I thought maybe I should brighten up the scene, turn it to spring – but in an abstract sense. I broke out the colors, et voila. Greens and pinks symbolize the blooming of spring.
Over the succeeding days, I added light; which I’m infatuated with. You can see the sunlight reflected in the yellows and the flashes of white. The white was inspired by what happens when you’re riding (hopefully not driving) in a car with your eyes closed and the Sun is flashing through the trees.
So that is it in a nutshell. I really don’t pre-plan my work – beyond thinking about how something should go in my head. Once the paint starts flying, as in this case literally all over the room (security deposit revoked), I go where my instincts tell me to go.
Winter’s Odium, March 2017, 18″ x 24″. Acrylic on canvas. The variety of angles shows how it could look on your wall. For Sale, $600 (I need to make up that security deposit).