Monday, August 15, 2016

two hundred seventy-six

Ember Gallery pan of Goin' Down by Paul Taylor Deaton

Goin' Down went up during the month of August over at Ember Audio + Visual in Winston-Salem, NC.  The body of work explores the good in evil.  13 new mixed media paintings and four illustrations debuted in this stellar venue.  The new body of work contains numerous depictions of angels falling; mythological harpies and furies; and other necro-skinned people doing what they love.

To mix it up a bit I used pink as a reoccurring color (as seen in "Joining").  Pink is a happy tone.  It's positive.  It's pink.  The artwork is loaded with juxtapositions -- and here we have a polite color to create scenes of falling into darkness -- and love of that fall.  There are simple heart shapes added too.  And the triangles are simplified horns.  New devils get horns.  It's in their contract.

More so -- it's a self-imposed visual challenge of sorts.  How does one depict evil and darkness with a 'day-glo' color?  How does one depict positive vibes amid concepts that are usually interpreted as deftly negative?
Also explored are the fibers of the descent.  Many of the figures depicted don wings made of feathers.  Harpies are Greek creatures made with bodies of birds; wings of birds or bats; sharp-ass talons; and sometimes hair of snakes.  They have jobs that terrify mortals.  How does one make a graceful depiction of a creature designed to be quite scary?  I kept it soft, demure, and intergalactic-ly goddess-y in a piece titled "Escape Goat".  But there's a snake in her natural hair.  Fangs peak out of quiet lips.  Her horns levitate.  There might be a bat wing in the background mingling with heavenly stars in the front.  Our elegant lady is framed in all this and boasts a feather-like camisole.  

"Escape Goat" is on the right.
Subtle and ethereal.  This is a harpy with stylized greek nose in covert mode or perhaps it's her day off.  Maybe this is how the hideous always presents herself.  And when she reveals her claws into your soul it's truly an unexpected, yet beautifully horrid moment.  Mmmm, such a dreamy way to pull one's card.

Speaking of the task of pulling your card -- what about the fella that simply loves his job?  If you love your job is it fathomable to smile while on the clock?  That's positive too, right?  If the sanitation worker smiles on collection day would you likely think he or she is having a good day and quite possibly possesses a perky perspective?

Detail of "Enjoying Work"
The Greek fury is a deity that takes out the trash too.  According to the Greek mythology the furies would strike anyone from the earth who was exhibiting very bad behavior and remove them and/or torment them relentlessly.

The fury depicted in "Enjoying Work" is having a good day.  It is his good day complete with bloody, deteriorating smile and flies of hearts circling his left hand (the evil side of the body).  This creature is happy to pull your card and is smiling amid the task.

A big thank you to Ember Gallery for offering me this opportunity to share my creative musings with others.  To those who have seen the show, thank you for giving it a go.  The exhibition runs the month of August 2016.               



Saturday, July 23, 2016

two hundred seventy-five

When coincidences and serendipity happen they are considered pleasant reassurances in my book.  Doing something for the first time (like every single painting one creates) may contain a bit of uncertainty.  The artist may be unsure about many things: is the message accessible?  Is this tint of red correctly conveying a strong sense of rage?  (Ha ha -- my polished artists are laughing at this point.  They know creative folk don't think about that stuff in the moment of creation.  But they sure as hell do in the 'post production phase'.  I digress.)

Receiving a sign from outside sources -- you know, "hey man, good job".  "Nice hat".  An unsolicited hug from your lover.  It's feedback.  It's reassurance.  Then there are the slightly more obscure events -- like when you are thinking of a friend you haven't seen in years, and then next up on the radio is his favorite hip hop song.  That bond still exists.  I think they call it synchronicity.  Things not normally associated all of a sudden have a connection -- yeah, those kind of coincidences.  That's where I'm at for this blog entry. 

Working up a body of new work for an August solo exhibit at Ember Audio + Video in Winston-Salem.  The 13 paintings consider the point where the angels become devils.  Where the sinister is also the beautiful.  Where good and evil coexist -- like the Harpy who loves snatching another's card.  Evil and the grotesque ain't really my bag -- but ima try.  Yes, there's a past series that explores Satan as a dork.  But that's not occult.  That's not worship of anything unholy.  It's the portrayal of a yin and yang of sorts.  And this concept continues in the new stuff.

This body of work is titled "Going Down".  It's the other side of the coin for the last body of work, "Looking Up".  In Looking Up the paintings considered using what we have to go forward.  In Going Down we are falling gracefully into darkness.  We are celebrating the beauty in the evil.  Devils were once angels, right?  And in that regard we are still finding good/beauty/positive in what most consider bad/ugly/negative -- just slightly more sinister.  More red.  More horns.

pee no evil
Ok.  So working up the paintings this summer.  Got about half the paintings in progress.  Take a trip to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art.  Naturally I am looking for inspiration.  It's like a trip to the library for research where the books are works of art.  And yes, I hang in front of Edward Hopper and John Singer Sargent for a long time.  Cruising through the Art Nouveau section. Great stuff -- Tiffany lamps, jewelry, and odd cast bronze pieces -- a great collection in my opinion.  Walk through a transition and witness this large sculpture of a serpent biting a swan -- yes!  Beauty in the struggle!

A bottle of wine was purchased back in January before the  Going Down painting started.  Pinot noir.  Love Chilean wine.  Hadn't looked at it since.  Enjoyed it last week.  Noticed the label -- "Pinot Evil".  Huh.  Whadacoincidence.

And then also last week all the existing lumber in my inventory was added up for the upcoming framing of these new paintings.  Multiple lengths of wood were measured and a few rounded to the nearest inch.  The total accrued length in inches?  666.

So yeah, I guess I am on track with this body of work.  Thanks for the good omens.  The upcoming exhibition, "Going Down" debuts at Ember Audio + Video located at 690 North Trade Street in downtown WS.  The show is up for the month of August with a free public reception on Friday, August 5 at 6p.       

Monday, June 20, 2016

two hundred seventy-four

(left side)
It's a rest day -- as in just-finished-a-week-riding-a-bicycle-455-miles-across-the-state-of-North-Carolina rest day.  My tour partner, Blaine recently acquired a 1980 delivery truck.  His goal is to turn the decrepit -- er, vintage machine into a no-frills mobile bicycle shop.  His business is called Kick Stand.  And he's one hell of an "up-cycling" bike mechanic.  He uses all sorts of old, odd, and found parts to customize bicycles.  Thus, the old truck is quite the fit for its new life.

The truck's most recent life was a parked billboard of sorts advertising a drive-thru coffee shop.  It needed a little dressing up for the new bike biz.  "Les, can you paint the right side up with old paint from the garage?  The new sign needs to advertise the Kick Stand business while at the same time match the left side.  The more f*cked up-looking, the better.  There might be some paint cans lingering behind the autopsy table on the left side of the garage."

The left side of the truck is currently showing the remains of a fading coffee sign: big blocky, sans serif, white decals that are cracked, fading, and washing onto the remnant of the oxidized industrial green auto paint.  The right side needs to "match" while spelling out the new business.  

No prob.

(right side)
There you go -- complete with the best aerosol primers and cover-all primer/sealers one can find in the belly of an old garage.

And the stars were thrown in for free.

Is this what they call "rat rod auto body painting?"