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 Richmond 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?"   

Friday, February 19, 2016

two hundred seventy-three

Hello John.  Hello Jay.  Hello High Point.  The John Coltrane sculpture is a welcome sight.  Every single time.  He's larger than life.  Contemplating.  His head space is framed with the clouds that break through the downtown sky line. And former professor, Jay Warren created it.  He taught me to better see in three dimensions.  And John, John taught me there are some languages that will forever be comprehended in their native tongue.  Giant Steps indeed.  That beat comes in.  That jazz resounds.  I am home and forever looking up. 

"Looking Up" casts a glow during the opening
reception at Theatre Art Galleries.  That's what one of the TAG board members said.  "Your paintings radiate".  Thank you to all who attended and shared some creative space amid beautiful galleries in the middle of downtown High Point.  The stage is set to enjoy sculpture by Greensboro artist, Jim Barnhill and Chapel Hill photographer, Barbara Tyroler in Gallery A.  A slight elevation up the curved staircase and you land in Gallery B.  As I walk closer to the heavens and approach the threshold "Blue Rondo A La Turk" by Dave Brubeck met me at the door.  More jazz, more life, and more familiarity all wrapped up in two time signatures complementing.

The night proceeds accordingly.  Loved ones arrive, new acquaintances are made, people gaze, conversations begin, and artwork finds a new home.  This is visual art.  This is how a community thrives.  Outside input is the required volume if one is to feel a part of the community.  Everybody steps to the music.

I'd like to thank fellow professional visual artist, John Gall for taking the time to install "Looking Up" in a new way.  It's the fourth wall -- the forth install for this body of work of clouds.  People move forward with their best foot that may very well be in an old shoe -- but it shines.  The familiar music is new all over again.  Repeat sign, no coda.  It's up, way up through March 11, 2016 at Theatre Art Galleries in High Point.