Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tragedy






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

Violence





  One of the strangest things about this cartoon, is the violence. Popeye often becomes enraged when he sees Bluto, a professional bodybuilder in his skimpy posing briefs....is it jelousy? Maybe or could it be that Bluto brings up some feelings in Popeye that he is uncomfortable with?

Obsessed

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

Bluto Keeps coming on strong...


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

Monday, July 31, 2017

Barbeque Bluto


24 x 18 inches, I painted this one on Memorial day

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Bluto Wall



20 9x12 inch oil paintings 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Cop



Id been wanting to paint my former neighbor Arpad Miklos for a while now, I didnt know him wel but he seemed like a nice guy....oil on canvas 12 x 9 inches

Mario Ortiz

Oil on canvas 12 x 9 inches

Jack



Vase of Kley


Oil on Canvas 24 x 24 inches

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Evan


My friend Evan Garza is one of the best looking guys I know. Ive tried painting his portrait many times and I just can't get it right. A few weeks ago he posted a pic on instagram and I thought "that would be fun to paint"....and it was. I left it fresh and brushy but one brushtroke was feeling too pronounced, so yesterday, a month later....I went in and softened it and added a tiny bit of stubble, now it's done...

Brutus 2


My first crush was on Brutus, I'm glad he and Popeye have finally gotten together...

MICKEY 12-16



My friend Dionysis in Berlin recently adopted a dog named Mickey, I thought he would be fun to paint, I was right.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

London Visitor

some friends were visiting from London and shot a great pic of their son here looking like The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan .......
spending time with this guy over the holidays really made me want to paint him....I loved the photo my friends shot of their son and I envisioned the painting quite differently before it was made.....I just switched on "auto" like Ive been doing lately and this is what came out.....seeing the Alex Katz show at the serpentine with Franklin Evans this past summer and hearing Franklin tell me how Katz does each painting in one session got me excited to try this technique

Trying Something New...


I’m always making a record of an ethereal experience. I’m a conceptual artist, I make work about ideas and the consistant idea is this recording of these experiences that have shaped me...... Brutus was my first crush, Jack and Dionysis, the other two paintings that you see in the photo have both touched me in some ethereal way as well. …I’m always trying different things in my studio and in my life. I'm seeing how far I can stretch the idea of "Making records of ethereal experience" I’m willing to make mistakes and do things that are initially uncomfortable, that some people might not understand and thats where I’m consistent, but I always want to make records of these ethereal experiences.

Right now I have no commitments and no deadlines, so Im just doing what I feel like doing....its a very liberating feeling, believing that I'm enough.....that I don't need a treatise before I start working, that whatever I make is valid and consistent because it's from me....