How I Arrived Here, part 2

I have always been interested in what makes others tick and what factors have led a person to whatever situation they are in. I mentioned earlier in a post of the same title that I took a strong influence from music when composing art. Not everything revolves around music of course. In my late teens I became interested in leftist-anarchist writings and was deeply impressionable with regard to how I viewed the world. The university where I grew up had an amazing assortment of books and collected journals covering the history and current streams of thought on a variety of subjects through an anarchist prism. The artwork from old copies of The Blast was instrumental in my thinking about art (A)politically, as were some of the wonderful collages that appeared in Anarchy: A Journal of Desire, Armed. At some point I discovered Peter Kuper’s incredible stencil art. His rendition of  Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle in comic form is superb, as are the rest of his works. The great thing about anti-authoritarian art is that much of it just appears in public with no attribution but with plenty of impact.

In 1994 art school seemed like a good idea. I have no skills other than drawing and graphic design, so attending school seemed logical from the standpoint of forging a career that would keep me out of the gutter. I might as well have lived in one, considering the utter self-destruction I put myself through during those years. While at school, I picked up on some really amazing art that a few teachers led me to. To this day, I still have a keen interest in the Art Nouveau style. Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt and Charles Rennie Mackintosh somehow always find their way into my art. Part commercial art and part decorative, their pieces represent the uniquely modern, the common style, and a vaguely Asian and slightly pagan nod to Greek-Roman Imperium. Another work that has been a great influence on me is the Laocoön group sculpture. The tension on Laocoön’s left leg is incredible, more so that it is in stone. Francis Bacon’s repertoire is also a pillar of what I seek in some of my own works. I am gnereally not interested in the same subject matter as Bacon, but his use of geometry, expressionistic forms and loosely controlled paint is interesting to me. This helped me ‘loosen up’  a bit on my own work, noting that shape, shadow and movement are far more important than a crisp rendering of something. Contrast that to HR Giger, whose works inspired many a knocked-off technique for me and others. Giger’s mid-period works are composed so tightly, that there is really no error or interpretation left over. In some of his published works, the sketches and preliminary explorations are almost more fascinating to me. I was fortunate enough to have stumbled upon the Giger museum while in Switzerland and cherish the experience of being that close to a living artist’s works that I hold in high regard. I now make it a point to see as many great masterworks as I can when traveling. I’m also a huge fan of the Mexican Muralists, German Expressionists, Bosch, Rembrandt, Dali and more.


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