There’s no better feeling as an artist to feel like you’re in control of your own work. It may sound weird to non-artists, but there’s a high percentage of the time in studio when you’re holding on for dear life. All you can do is to let things take you where they go. All one can do is hold on and produce work that doesn’t end as a monumental waste of time. Even then, the messes are sometimes more interesting than the final product.
Waking up early and feeling like you’re taking on the world is a great feeling. I’ve been laboring over a horrific body of work – in subject, hopefully not finished results. As the days and months of this mid, post, whatever part of the pandemic we’re in march on, the atrocities and brash disregard for civility and social structures keep piling up. I’ve been painting so much of the news its hard to not feel affected by it. Painting progress is hard to come by sometimes.
I’ve always had a thick skin, and over the years I’ve worked to hone that attribute. Its necessary to filter the proper amount of critiques and input. While I’m not entirely immune to a harsh critique, I’ve kept them at arms length to shield my own psyche. I’ve worked to stay informed but at my level, not allowing the charlatans and boastful used car salesmen we have running the country to take up my own time and headspace.
Staring into the faces and sources for my series of paintings is an entirely draining experience. The act of painting is unchanged – I’m still working in formal terms of drawing, perspective, proportion, shape, color, value, temperature and the like. But then when I have to lock down specifics I find myself staring into the faces of some of the most petty, small minded and fear-ridden assholes on the planet.
Uvalde, Shitty Cops and Loser Superheroes
So my latest large canvas in this series is based off the Uvalde disaster. I’ve dressed up 8 of the nearly 400 officers who refused to help out the shooting in Punisher-esque superhero costumes in superhero poses. I want to highlight the chasm between the cops’ (posturing) self installed mythology with the realities of their inactivity and ineptness. So put another one in the happy column!
So it has been wildly reassuring that my work is rounding a corner where its starting to feel close to being wrapped up. ‘The Greatest Hits of 2020-2022’ has served as the working title for this series. Finishing them will be a huge accomplishment. Once the work is finished, I’ll start with plans to hobble together some sort of public exhibition of the work. Then I’ll be freed up to explore some loose paths I’ve sketched and create some new works, in different mindspaces.
Bursts of energy aren’t meant to be taken lightly. It’s reassuring to bask in the glow of a productive bubble. It makes all the time of staring at walls and watching paint dry feel like its all worth it. The painting progress keeps the energy high.
This month, we’re down with Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir singing ‘Just Like a Ship’