This Train Don't Stop...

Ah... another bloggy post. 

There is joy, minion.
As I look out the window across the campus of the Columbus College of Art and Design at the ginormous typographical "Art" sculpture and sip at my second coffee in as many hours, I am captivated by a multitude of young, eager students -- some in capes, frantically scurrying against the undertow of an unwritten future. At last; the right place at the right time. Go them, go CCAD.

This is my first break in roughly nine hours out of... thirty. I'm glad for the daylight. Campus during the small hours of the morning can be such a lonely place. But I have my work, a nearly endless playlist of my favorite music and the internet to keep me occupied for days and days. 

My mind tends to wander when I work... The effect is not unlike meditation: the lisping whisper of the brush hurriedly spreading secrets and rumors across the board, the skritching impatience of my pencil... everything unhinges and I go deep within myself, relieved. Free.

I call this; "Falling into the hole." It's a happy place where I can let go of whatever societal norm is currently anchoring me to the here and now, and allow the madness of the creative process take me whole. In this place, with all my waking thoughts and observations safely swirling around me like a tornado, I can finally stop clenching and get to work ironing the kinks out of my Id.

Therein lies the 'Art Therapy' aspect of my process.

This last week, with my recent project critique still ricocheting inside my head, I've set to the task of hammering out ideas and techy dealios for my semester one project, by way of the two remaining commission pieces that perpetually take turns on my easel. To those NOT in my head, what I am working out may not, necessarily, be totally obvious... 

None-the-less, I have been steadily obsessing over the parameters of this new piece with increasing intensity. (and loving every second of it!) Pallet. Composition. Narrative. The overall flow and presentation of what has taken a lifetime to overcome.

Ric, our MFA program coordinator extraordinaire, had, this past week, mentioned that he was wondering if my my graphic, reductionist style would carry the heavy theme of my topic or if it would somehow diminish it's communicative power.

I'm not sure that I can answer that satisfactorily, but I don't think it would, as both the sentiment and iconography are coming honestly. And while I can feel my work transitioning into what will be it's latest incarnation, I've begun to trust that my essential aesthetic will remain. That is, graphic, high-contrast imagery reduced to it's essential components. 

The difference here, I believe, will be dialectic; the tools, the materials -- the texture. Adding pieces and "relief" elements that break the fourth wall, if you will, while also adding a more tangible dimensionality. To illustrate, I present the following Rauschenberg:


I had made mention of preserving my essential aesthetic while still allowing the work to evolve. The best example I can offer you of an artist who did precisely that, is Roy Lichtenstien. In the infancy of his career, he -- like many of the time, reinvented the everyday by way of appropriation. In this case, individual panels from pulp "action" comics. This was only a starting point of the inventive, technical exploration I hope to emulate. The following four samples span the artist's entire professional career and show a willingness to grow and mature while still maintaining a "look" that was unmistakably "Lichtenstien."

Roy Lichtensteing painting M-Maybe.jpg

The 1960's

Roy Lichtenstein, 'The Red Horseman', 1974, oil and magna on canvas, 213.4 x 284.5 cm.jpg

The 1970's


The 1980's


The 1990's

I accept the possibility that this project may completely fall apart in my hands but am encouraged by the new direction this journey is taking me and what wonders lie ahead. 

In that sense, failure cannot exist.