In the Studio #73

This week I finally got really into work on Gnostic Confessions 3, and I’m tickled by how it’s going in a much more busy and active direction then I intended. I should at this point expect a certain level of density to always occur with these pieces given my tendencies. But it’s funny to me that the source image I began with attracted me initially because of how ethereal and faint it felt. I can’t help but to bring a sledge hammer to the fairest lightest work. I think the density is in a way a reflection of my own inner journeys and very appropriate considering this series is about consequences and how I often pay heave tolls for casual thinking.


This is the original rug pattern that Inspired Gnostic Confessions 3



Here’s where Gnostic Confessions 3 is as of last week

These Gnostic Confessions pieces are inspired compositionally by rug patters, what I suppose we used to call oriental rugs. An inordinate amount of time goes into thinking about how to create decorative edge work on these pieces, specifically on how to move into a central image where some pattern emerges from a murky backdrop and stage. On top of these stages is where I place my St Bartholomew character, often being decimated by an abstract creature flaying his flesh, and additionally haunted by a larger animal. In the first four pieces of this work, what I think of as chapter one in a three-chapter series, I’ve used so far a dragon, a lion and in this third piece a kraken. In the fourth piece, I’m thinking of using some type of whale. I use these four creatures a lot in my works, most notably in the last work on the Pilot series, where they acted as sort of guards on the edge of the painting.

Pilot, (Or How Do You Stop A Flying Dreadnought) No 8, 24 x 71 inches, mixed media acrylic, 2018 Saatchi

Here Pilot 8 with the Lion Whale Kraken and Dragon guarding the 4 corners of the piece

I’ve been thinking of how to respond more creatively to the protests occurring nationally and I believe I’d like to return to playing around with all that racialized sheet music I’ve collected. The last two pieces I did in the “Kenny’s Carpetbaggers Lament” set seemed to get a good reaction. I’m now looking to do another pair of works with this 8-page medley if sheet music but my idea is a little edgy. I’m thinking I might use a little gay black erotica in the pieces to symbolize the disposable nature of black bodies in art and the media. I was toying around with some interesting arrangement of symbols this last week and I’m excited to play some visual games with these potential work over the next few months.

Play is so essential in the studio. For me, most experiments in the studio wind up being failures and are initiated after nervously dwelling on an idea for maybe too long. It’s actually sort of uncomfortable and is not exactly a feeling I enjoy, but every once in is while it leads to something special. I think the reason I liked playing with that sheet music is that I have so many complicated emotions about the South being from there. Feeling the crumbled paper and reading the words of some of the lyrics in this sheet music I’ve collected reminds me so much of the prevailing culture there that it makes the source material intoxicating, or like a really potent spice.

I finally settled into what I’m going to do for my Earth painting this last week as well. Here’s a pic of the Earth image I plan to use for my final planet piece. Additionally, I finished my Pluto piece but noticed a little imperfection in the disk of the planet that I managed to fix, so here it is all finished as well.

I’m feeling sad but yet very accomplished in finishing this series. It’s not easy painting 11 47 x 47-inch painting in a little over a year. It’s probably the boldest stupidest decision I made creatively in the last 5 years. So many issues arise from having all this big ass work around, but I have to have confidence in my muse and trust that there’s a home out there for those pieces. Hope, that’s another key ingredient for a studio practice.

I’m obsessed with Khruangbin. They just happened to drop a new record on this last Friday. I think my favorite track from “Mordechai” is “If There Is No Question”. Be that as it may, I still find there older stuff more hypnotic, the most hypnotic being “The Red Book”, from “Hasta El Cielo”. Here are two YouTube videos of these songs.

I didn’t blog about all the things I wanted to this month, the days seemed to creep up too fast to get a handle on everything. I have been busy nonetheless. This next week I plan to dive into my Earth painting, continue Gnostic 3, and finally do some flower paintings – I think I’m finally over my vacation from botanical works. I plan to post more in July so until then do be well and stay safe.

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