This is just completed, and decades old. A long time ago I loaned some of my art to a friend. 2 pieces came back damaged, and one went missing. I only have a small jpeg of a scan of a color Xerox made from a slide of that piece. Recently I saw the degraded jpeg (below) and got the idea to make a digital painting from it.
The original may exist somewhere, or may have been destroyed. I have 3 other missing pieces that I loaned to people. But this one has now been resurrected. I used paint stick to make this when I was an undergrad at UCLA. I can’t remember if I did this in a break, or actually submitted it to a class. I probably did it on a break, because this sort of art was reviled (if it wasn’t conceptual it wasn’t art), so I don’t think any of my peers or teachers ever saw it. Yeah, I was not allowed to do this kind of work in art school. It was forbidden.
I’m sure I did it completely from my imagination, and started it out as a charcoal and eraser drawing. That was a standard technique for me back then. I’d just make smudges with charcoal on paper, look at them, and eventually find and realize images that were suggested to me. This way I never knew what I was going to make, and it never got boring. After finishing the charcoal drawing, I put it in color using paint sticks (which are literally just that, sticks of paint you draw with, and can use turpentine to thin…).
Check out the rich impasto texture I lathered up in the details [click on them for larger size).
I’m not sure what was really going on in my head when I made the first version over 20 years ago. There’s an obvious Francis Bacon influence, with a generous dose of sci-fi. I do know I was thinking about Ed Kienholz piece, “State Hospital” as I made this, and that there are a couple elements that pay homage to it which you may be able to see.
Aside from it just being a good thing to bring back a disappeared piece from the ether, this was also really good practice on my digital painting techniques (don’t ask how I do it), and also shows the potential for combining physical and digital works easily.
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5 replies on “Untitled With 2 Creatures: recreated early work”
I think you have your new painting technique down. It looks great. Very clear with the closeups and how great that you were able to restore old art that you thought was previously lost.
> I was not allowed to do this kind of work in art school. It was forbidden.
Did you ever paint the words ‘paintings are forbidden’ and then say that you were queering oppressive language structures?
No, but I did do a few text paintings. And of course, things did depend on the class. You could do paintings in your painting classes, but painting was itself considered passe. One of my painting teachers gave me a B- in her class, which pissed me off, becuase she didn’t like the kind of work I did. Years later she apologized to me, because Jim Shaw was doing something similar to what I had been doing years before, so it became retroactively legitimate. But you definitely couldn’t do sci-fi/Baconesque art. That was considered just slightly less bad than painting portraits of Jesus or landscapes with cottages. In the end I beat them at their own game and got a fellowship, but then I went on to grad school where white males were the enemy who didn’t deserve to have careers as artists.
I’m thinking that the advantage now of doing sci-fi/Baconesque art is that you could render your prawn-skulls on slabs in 3d and make paintings from several viewpoints, yes? I’m not sure anything like that’s been done.
It’s a lot like my robots, which I need to get back to working on.