In the Studio #46

Its been another long while since I’ve felt like blogging and its because I wanted to wait until I felt inspired by some new ideas for the new year. I finally finished the Pilot Set of paintings last month and those pieces are currently on display at the Steelstacks in Bethlehem, PA in a show called Dreadnaught. Finishing that large body of work really tapped me and ate into a lot of my inspiration to create new work, certainly on that scale as far as paintings are concerned. That 4 year process taught me some important lessons about myself, namely that big painting projects like that require super-planning, steady financial support – remember I had to take a year break to finish the work – and also accountability. This last bit I think is really important because as a self-driven project it was easy to let other life challenges take priority over the project, had this painting project been monitored more strictly, say if I gave a firmer timetable to friends or colleagues that could have kept me feet to the fire, I might have finished the works say two or three months earlier. Here’s the last painting in the Pilot Series, the delay in making it did ultimately yield good results I think. The last work in in the series, Pilot 8 is just about the best painting I think I’ve ever made.


Nevertheless, it is done and now I’m onto new things.

I think 2018 is going to be a little bit of a play year for me in the studio, one I really need. I started out the year by doing a series of watercolors. See below:

These little guys helped me loosen my hand a bit from those really tightly painted characters and collaged elements. It was fun just to let paint flow for once rather than be so consumed with a rigid work plan.

This week I turned my attention to drawing again, this time drawing on a large scale and with tape. Though I meant to swear off large works for a while given the last major project, drawings seem to be a way I can satisfy that thirst for scale. Here’s the tape piece I made below, I think I’m going to call it “That Tape Monster”:


This work was meant to hearken back to the large drawing I did at the Vermont Studio Center, that work was called  “de Mortius Mephistopolis”:

Anthony Smith Jr. De Mortius Mephistopolis, 4 x 6 feet, sharpie drawing on paper, 2016 small

Both works are similar however the new work is meant to be more animated and gestural, without a formal reference like a city plan. I’d like to make a whole series of these pieces to see where this tape drawing interest takes me.

My latest turn in the studio has be going back in time to about 4 years ago to the Bethpage Airshow at Jones Beach Long Island. I’ve wanted to paint that airshow for years and had pictures taken of that trip way back when. I’m hoping that I can miniaturize my obsessive painting style into simple small 9 x 12 inch bite sized works. The thought is that in doing so I can make pieces that are practical enough to sale but still satisfying artistically to create. Here are some examples of the photos I plan to use in the new series:

I’m coming out of a really heavy electronica mode musically, especially as it give me energy for the gym and provides for good driving music after work. I really like Diplo, who also preforms with the group Major Lazer. One song that always gets me started is “Barely Standing”, and so here it is:

Okay that is it for now. After I tear into these airshow paintings I hope to do some seasonal landscape pieces, yes I said landscapes. Once I get those guys firmly in place I hope to then turn my attention to some prints. As all these works get made I hope to remember my blog and report on it. Until then do be well.




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