Sunday, September 17, 2017
These paintings of Bluto as fallen greek gods were so hard for me to paint ( I didn't go to art school) that at one point I scapped both of them. Then, I jtold myself that that "since they are not going to work I can do anything" That freedom to fail allowed me to make some of the best paintings of the series
as I near the 100 mark on this Bluto series which I began only a few months ago, I have to face my obsession, I wasnt really thinking so much about why Im doing it until recently some scholars picked up on these and have been writing to me about what they see and its fascinating!
Thursday, August 17, 2017
I've Made an homage to all of the valuable life lessons I've learned from popeye and Bluto. I've been painting them pretty obsessively since January of this year and I wasnt really thinking about why till I hit the 50 painting mark a few months ago.
There's always been an homage to popular culture in my work. In The early drawings when I would make Spirals while listening to David Bowie records were a great excuse to listen to David Bowie records and at the time there was nothIng I would rather be doing. I would talk about the Mark making as a record of an ethereal event and indeed they were, but while I was listening to those David Bowie records I was remembering the brilliant ideas that I had first been exposed to by his music and other glam and punk artists. How the veil of theatricalitythat shrouded so many thruths made them easier to see.
Irony, distance and theatricality have all been great carriers of the most profound ideas for me. So it seems inevitable that my ideal of masculine perfection would be a cartoon charater who I fell in love with as a little kid.
Even as a little kid I could tell there was something queerabout the way these two guys related to each other the violence was extreme, way out of proportion to what might come out of jealousy over olive oyl the one female character on the show.
These guys didn't react to each other the way the guys in cowboy or army shows did . There was something special going on with these guys.
the relationship between Popeye and Brutus fascinated me and today I wonder is their aggression and anger towards each other a form of internalized homophobia? When Popeye gets pissed off at Brutus for wearing a skimpy little posing bikini at muscle beach is it because it brings up feelings in him that he's uncomfortable with? I've always been amazed at the profundity of pop-culture and the amazing complicated concepts that I learned as a little kid by watching cartoons and listening to pop radio.
Some of these concepts that I was exposed to as a child I'm only now fully grasping and these works are a way for me to pay homage to the characters who taught me.
I’m also coming out as a painter, I want these works to stand on their own as paintings and not as an embodiment of a concept.
As a self taught artist (My dad forbade me to go to art school) Ive proved my talents in drawing, photography and sculpture but struggled with painting until I was awarded a residency at Cite des Artes in 2006 where I spent 3 solid months looking at paintings during the day and coming back to my studio to paint my own at night. Persisitence paid off and I had my first all painting solo show two years later at Eleven Rivington.
After a year spent curating a project in London “Erik Hanson, Two Years of Looking” at New Art Projects I found myself with no commitments and the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do in my studio and Ive produced close to !50 paintings so far in 2017, more than half are of Bluto?Brutusand the othersa re equally obsessive.
These paintings, like all of my work are an homage to the concepts I've learned from popular culture. These guys, Popeye and Bruts were the first queers I ever really paid attention to