The Review :
Lyle Schultz: The Me Show by Me
Victoria Emerging Art Gallery (VEAG) – The Apartment Gallery
12 April - May 15th
Lyle Schultz – 14 April 2013. Photo by Debora Alanna
Lyle Schultz lays bare his mind, in his work. He is brave and deliberate. Insolent, but this brazen unrestraint is Schultz’s resolve to expound his private experiences. He paints mystery waywardly. Always enigmatically, always with radiance that is spell binding.
To show time in multiple states, a mind in constant flux, what is past, present and future, dream as vision, reality as reverie is convolution with intention, and he exalts and experiments confidently. Schultz work has the fortitude of a Carl Appel distortion with a covert message. Illustrating frenzy with the disruption of a Willem de Kooning, he employs text with as much facility as he does symbols. Comparing Schultz to anyone is a challenge. He has marked his own zone. While discussing him historically, there is more delineation apparent.
Medieval frescos once utilized the cartoon, a drawing of the soon to be painting on plaster, a study, the outline of the final work, a guide for transferring design onto wet plaster. In many ways, Schultz utilizes this technique. He projects drawings onto his larger paintings, with enlargements or realignments, omissions or repetitions that are redirected when he adds colour, delineation or words, signs or imagery. Cartooning has a long history since this use of the word, but the outlined figure, the minimization of features has remained, and with Schultz’s employ, has sustained a darkly humorous association to cartooning with his figuration. But foremost, Schultz paints. He is a painter. There is little sense of historical context. You feel you are witnessing gushing spilled guts simultaneously with a mental harangue, compelling and authentic because of his concentration, and impenitent colour intensity.
American action painters in the 1950s had the gestural presence Schultz creates. Although Schultz is not wholly abstract, or dependent on body movement, he sees and works with the same abandon, moving from side to side, upside down or upright without any need to be in any particular direction when developing his work. More, Schultz’s autobiographically impediments or driving forces are authoritative, and grab and hold because of a poetic speculation, a supranatural import in his work. Harold Rosenberg, in his article written in 1952, ARTnews LLC., Dramas of As If: ‘The American Action Painters (1952), “A painting that is an act is inseparable from the biography of the artist. The painting itself is a “moment” in the adulterated mixture of his life – whether “moment” means, in one case, the actual minutes taken up with spotting the canvas or, in another, the entire duration of a lucid drama conducted in sign language. The act-painting is of the same metaphysical substance as the artist’s existence. The new painting has broken down every distinction between art and life.’
Schultz’s paintings too, break down distinctions between his art and his life. In 1964, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, in his collection of essays, “The Primacy of Perception and Its Philosophical Consequences”, translated and published by Northwestern University Press, wrote: ‘We must say that at each moment our ideas express not only the truth but also our capacity to attain it at that given moment.” His work captures his private and universal truths while divulging his realizations simultaneously.
Barbara Rose wrote in Arts Magazine, 1980, in the section V. The Painter As Image Maker: ‘The imagery of painters committed exclusively to a tradition of painting, an inner world of stored images ranging from Altamira to Pollock, is entirely invented; it is the product exclusively of the individual imagination rather than a mirror of the ephemeral external world of objective reality.’ Although Rose was writing about work made 30 years ago, Schultz continues to demonstrate Rose’s observation. Schultz paints his suffering, his alienation, his wildness while purporting his quintessential humour as a spill of his imagination on canvas or board. Ranting with angelically poised characterizations of zippered mouthed glares and estranged ghosts, omnidirectional overviews, trippy planes, throbbing hearts, he gestulates. These and more are the stores of Lyle Schultz’s imagination gone rampant. He houses his imagery, which evokes contradictions of spatial relationships.
Aristotle, in “The Categories”, Part 6, said: Indeed, it seems that in defining contraries of every kind men have recourse to a spatial metaphor, for they say that those things are contraries which, within the same class, are separated by the greatest possible distance.” Schultz eliminates distance, and what might be an incongruous juxtaposition, a denial or opposition he brings together as compositional poetics.
Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space: “Actually, however, life begins less by reaching upward, than by turning upon itself. But what a marvellously insidious, subtle image of life a coiling vital principle would be! And how many dreams the leftward oriented shell, or one that did not conform to the rotation of its species, would inspire!”
Schultz paints his history, and references nothing. He has the gift of courting the dangerous internal world, does not conform to mundane rotation, and with his elemental treatment of paint and splatter, word and wanderings, his coiling and writhing work stimulates, draws us into his insight, in which we revel. Magic.
Angel by Lyle Schultz – 2013. Mixed media
My Version by Lyle Schultz – 2013. Mixed media
Plane by Lyle Schultz – 2013. Mixed media
The Interview :
Debora Alanna (DA): Lyle Schultz, artist extraordinaire, Tell me about your show at the Victoria Emerging Art Gallery.
Lyle Schultz (LS): How much space have you got?
DA I’ve got forever.
LS Okay. Just pick out parts that work.
DA How did you come to have a show there?
LS I have been showing with the Apartment Gallery since the winter, and we decided it would be a good time to do a solo showing. My prices will be increasing a fair amount in August, due to more national gallery exposure, so this is kind of a wakeup call show to some extent. Come and buy this work while it’s still at a low price before it is too late kind of thing. I mean I’m almost certain 10 years from now my paintings will be resold on the market for at least 10 bucks more than they are now, so if you buy 500 of my paintings at $1500 a pop, ten years from now you will make like 5k! I mean you do the math, ha. But all kidding aside, things are changing in my career, and my prices will reflect that. I need to make more than barely enough to buy some food and rent.
DA Let’s start with the painting above the fire place.
LS Okay. The airplane?
LS I made five or six airplane paintings in a series. It all happened by accident. Like the majority of my paintings, they begin with one thing, and hours later they become something else. Fragments of the original usually remain. I think this is one of the only professions you can do something like that in. It wouldn’t work so well as a house painter, or something that is supposed to make sense. I’m more of a point K to a point X to a point A thinker. The reason I used airplanes is because of a piece of children’s wall paper I found in an old sketch book of mine from college days.
The plane series is more visual than anything. Most of my paintings tend to be strewn with literature. This one in particular has some French words on it because I was talking to my close friend Celia in Paris while painting. I am/was trying to learn French. So I just added some French writing to it. I also wrote her name on the painting. I thought it was kind of romantic, or at least a way of saying, hey look your name is on this, and it will probably be on there for a long time, unless the painting gets dumped in a flaming volcano, or combusts, or used as camp fuel for the apocalypse. On second thought it would make a better tarp perhaps, burn the stretcher bars though. Or use them to make a patio set for a family of elves. That makes most sense now that I think of it.
I don’t usually work in series. I might make similar paintings but over a long period of time. Like my Blue City Veins series of cities for example. I tend to mostly start from scratch when I paint. Sitting down and making 6 very similar paintings was a real struggle. It also made me very mad. I seem to always need to be at war with something when it comes to art. I think that relates back to my disdain for authority to some *extent.
*(An ex-tent, a passed relationship with a tent. It’s an X now. )
I was writing one of my many non finished autobiographical books and wanted to call it "Past tents experiences" about the days I lived in a tent working for parks, and trying to still do art. My portfolio was covered in moss and black mold.
As you can tell I wonder off subject very easily, I think that’s how I paint as well. A myriad of thought. The constant chatter. I feel like Gollum some times when I am alone painting, chattering away to myself in cold room. I find painting extremely lonely. More so as the years pass. I can’t say I enjoy it very much anymore; it used to be an escape, now it’s a mind rape. Sometimes I still get in that zone though, and lose myself.
DA Will you talk about your colours? I think your colours are unique.
LS I have zero colour theory. It makes no sense to me – the colour wheel. It seems – like the guitar. I don’t know theory, and am tone deaf, but I know what works and what doesn’t. I just kind of smash things together. Thinking too much wrecks everything. I had a painting called Sex Wrex. A Tyrannosaurus of Sex, ha. Perhaps one day I will be able to hire an artist that knows what they are doing, and I can direct that subservient to do what I want done, and then sign it. Seems a lot easier than actually learning how to paint properly. I can say I don’t know if I have ever learned anything fully. I can kind of type without looking, I know most of the alphabet, I can kind of add, I tie my shoes different almost every time, I don’t think I do anything the same twice. Not even the most mundane of things. It’s very odd. It wastes lots of time and makes me very confused. I read things kind of backwards. I think by trying to cope with life like that, only retaining a few things that are deemed important in a job or whatever, it made things extremely difficult for me, and confusing. That alone pushed me to work harder with my art. I only paint when I need money. If I was loaded, I would just be loaded hahah. I hope to change that, just a pattern I fell into I guess. Need to learn new tricks. I think my life very much reflects the way I create, vice versa.
I tend to destroy my paintings in the process. Each painting will usually have at least 5 other paintings underneath it. I soak them with water, christen them kind of, a baptismal of sorts. Murder the art, and resurrect its ghosts for the final project.
I guess I haven’t said much about my colours. I’m not sure how to explain, I guess my brain just says, orange here, now make it muddier, too much mud no. Un mud. An internal dialogue. I remember when I was younger I would paint on anything, and everything. I just loved to paint. It was a release, and escape from the horror. I think my colors always worked for what I was doing. I used to draw and paint all over the walls of my first apartment. It felt so powerful just to say ahhhhhhhhhh - scratch, paint, splat, hahah. I got high on it. I felt like a bad animal after doing it as well. I would then have to hide it all with posters when my parents or landlord would come over. My house would be turned upside down, music blaring, hahah
I have always used my bathtub as an art tool. Sometimes I hosed my paintings down with super hot water, if my paintings became soiled. Also have this odd thing, more so back then, once the madness was done, I would hang my painting on the wall but I couldn’t look at it, I felt by looking at it in this stage would wreck it somehow. The paintings always looked different the next day. I don’t know maybe my eyes just saw it different. I viewed every detail of my life as art. Like ART was a god that made me do stuff. It was bordering on nuts. However I believe this was very important for me in those stages. I wasn’t trying it just was. It was inside me. Pulsating, pounding. It’s strange though, because most people out here never saw that part of my career. I was still fairly nuts when I first moved out here, but wasn’t doing any shows for the first few years.
Speaking of color, I once rolled out 20 feet of canvas or so, and dumped barrels of industrial paint on them, and then ran and slide threw it like a banana slide, ha. That was weird. The canvas ended up rotting in the west coast rain and full of pill bugs and spiders and worms. It’s in some landfill now just being art. So to make a short story extremely long, my colors just happen inherently I guess.
What do you think about my colours, as an artist yourself?
DA I love your colours. I think they are uninhibited. I think there is a naiveté in them too. Underneath that, there is a personal power that comes through. It holds all the drawing that you do on top. Your colour gives that ground, it gives it structure. If you didn’t have those colours the drawings would be cartoon or stills from an animation. With the colours, you really marry them together (figure and ground), those two ideas.
Tell me about your process with the drawing on canvas, or on the board. Do you use canvas or board?
LS The airplanes are on canvas, and everything else is on board. ‘On board’. I am on board. I am off board. I am board! Here me speak. I am board, get to close to me and I will give you slivers!!!
Drawing. I use those paint markers eh. Sometimes... for the airplanes, I kind of had a formula. I had it sketched out, then for each of the six paintings it is all very similar. There is one plane on top then there are six on the bottom. There is a hand over here on this side. The hand of time. Watches are often found in my images. I’m sure there is lots to be said about what a watch could mean in art, and it’s probably mostly true with mine, so Watch out for the Watches!!!!! I find drawing on canvas difficult. I am always searching... I like drawing on paper. I would love to have a huge work that is paper that I could draw on. Haven’t figured that out yet. I lived in a house that had some drywall sheets in storage. I made some of my first paintings on those. That was great to draw on. Galleries didn’t like that though. Just because they were fragile and crumbling, leaving little white piles of dust underneath them. I don’t see the issue, I mean like that’s just like an excuse to bring down the artists man!!!Ha, Life is fragile and crumbling, hahah, although I have never left behind white piles of dust, off white pools of slime maybe.....
Back in the day I was in the mind frame of painting on anything, why not. Then I went the exact opposite direction for a while and everything had to be archival, and preserved, etc. Like I said, extremes.
I like to draw though, it’s a struggle for me, and I don’t have patience to practise, so I kind of just draw the same few things over and over, ha. I’m defiantly no great draftsman, but I guess that’s not what I am about. Maybe as my life progresses my drawings will change. It took me years to figure out a large part of drawing is thinking. I know that kind of sounds strange that I didn’t know that. But it’s true. I just thought people drew and didn’t think about anything, like where light is, weight etc. I figured that was cheating or something to actually think about it. Very odd. I also thought looking at a picture and drawing from it was some scam. I don’t know why I am like that. I recall at a very early age training myself to not act or do things like the other kids. I am still like that. If someone in public drops something, I make sure not to look at them, for example. I think my uniqueness comes from never really fitting in, or partaking in normal things. I hated parades; I hated free food things, like donuts, and Canada day events. I have always been disgusted by humans. The masses I guess. I’m not above helping or talking to anyone, I just don’t want to be involved. I hated sports, I feared it, I feared compitition. I just wanted to hide and play guitar or draw mostly, or search for, read articles in magazines. I think these things tell more about my art than me explaining the paintings. It’s all a by-product of my life. The tailing pond, the runoff.
DA You have a projection machine at your studio.
LS Projection machine, ha! Sounds like some weird robot. Add the word machine to anything, it’s funny. Makes it much more important than it is. I am going to the washroom to use the toilet machine. Damn it my pencil machine is broken! A machine machine, like a man’s man. There is a company called Lyle Industries. All these crazy machines for making molded plastics. I think they also make Lyles as well. I am Lyle version 34 I think, the model name is located in the back of my throat, do you have a flashlight on that phone, would you mind checking to see my Lyle model number if it’s not too much of a bother please? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
LS Back to the projection machine. That series of paintings (the ones that say Inisde, well actually most of mine do.) were based on a sketchbook drawing of a city from exactly 10.4 years ago. For some reason I was messing with the original city drawing on Photoshop recently. I found the drawing taped to the cover of one of my old sketch books. It resurfaced. The Flotsam and Jetsam of art in my place. It’s like a tide; never know what will wash up on my wooden floor boarded shores. There are piles of stuff everywhere in my place. Lyle Piles. I have always been plagued by the bastards. They suck the life out of me. I’m constantly tripping over junk, and old books, and dirty un-matched socks. I really don’t like to live like that, I’m just extreme. One day I will clean for hours, and be a total germ freak. Other days it just piles up and I feel like I can’t think or breathe. If I’m cleaning I’m not painting. Yet I don’t like to paint when things are messy, so I usually don’t do anything, it all just cancels itself out. I lay on the floor in a state of comma. It’s all part of my process I guess. Any case back to the projector machine. I added some new images to the scanned image of the original city drawing, and I deleted layers, so only my new images showed up. (let's see how many times I can say image in this paragraph). Those paintings are the new layer on top of the old images. But I like how it had an abstract, easier space, more open. More open space. Does this make any sense at all? I think projection machine threw me off; I’m making this more complicated than it needs to be I think. Such is life. Image, image, image.
Progression of Inside by Lyle Schultz:
[Schultz: “With Inside I thought I should show the progression. The painting started with an old drawing, then Photoshop. I deleted layers, and then projected it. Etc.”]
Inside by Lyle Schultz (final thumbnail – see larger view below)
[Schultz: “The work starts with this kind of drawing. I am missing the original sketch. This drawing was already scanned in to Photoshop and coloured.”]
Inside in progress by Lyle Schultz
[Shultz: ‘Here’s the image after I deleted the layers by accident and just had what I added on top of the original drawing, the base of the painting (above). It’s a simple concept, hard to explain.”]
Inside by Lyle Schultz – 2013. Mixed media (final version)
[Schultz: “Then this drawing was projected on the wood and finished.”]
DA How do you feel about a gallery dictating how you work?
LS At first, it was really strange. Because I have always done everything my own way. I kind of had an obstinate attitude to them (Sopa Fine Arts). But then I started thinking, well why not try it. I just decided that gallery is going to be my money maker, so I can focus on doing other projects again. Comics, short films, etc. I need something to pay the bills and the Daves so to speak. My mind has changed over the years as to what is important to me artistically. I used to be all or nothing, no changing, no "selling out"; however that was when only a few people knew who I was. Now at least 20 people know who I am! Including me, well actually that’s not true. I have no clue who I am. That dirty mirror in the washroom does though.
The gallery owner has been extremely good to me so that helps as well. I view it as a new challenge; it will probably be good for my art, trying new things.
My first goal was not to have a job. Having a job and children are my 2 worst nightmares, they would devour my art. Now I am devouring my art by questioning everything I do. I have done a complete 360 that way. I have let FaceBook consume me and destroy my creative process. I used to convince myself it was needed, and it was to some extent, spending time talking to people and showing my work. The thing is I can’t just talk to people I respect for 5 minutes; next thing I know it is 2 hours later, and getting dark out. Ok back to the question, I’m not sure yet, I’m going to see how it goes, I think it’s more of having a director or editor, rather than a Dictator. Maybe you said that to me?
I would like to talk about your drawing a little bit more, because. There is a lot of it in this particular group of paintings. A lot of your figures – they are bald. Or, they have circular heads. A lot of zippers. That is consistent in your work that I have seen. Can you tell me how you came to that figuration? Your process?
LS Ya. I think it is cumulative. All those paintings – those bald perverts – they were sitting at the bar, - that came from five years ago... I looked at a painting by a local artist, who I really admire. She’s awesome. She does not live here anymore. Rachel Berman. Amazing painter. She has this one painting that is a bar, a room with people sitting in it. It was fairly realistic, but really dark. Very dark painting. I sketched it once. I really liked how I did it. So, I made a painting called ‘My Version’. It was my version of hers. Years later, I came back to that painting, and made this whole series based on it, which I have never done before. I took my projector (machine), and I reprojected it in different ways. I think I made six of them. The meaning behind it? I call them – I keep changing the titles... something like, Intergalactic Blue Collar Vampires on Acid.
I think what they are about is... the priest in all of them - bartender in all of them looks like a priest, he is fairly evil looking. I think his cross is upside down. I have satanic imagery in it, and Witchcraft. I dabble in Magick. Either White or Black. I’m beginning to think if you summon those powers there is no black or white, just grey zones. I sometimes place my Sigils into my paintings.
I get off topic with these questions. Anything you want to know?
DA I like your tangents.
How did you get into Witchcraft? Do you want me to put that in?
LS Ya, sure.
I got into Wicca in the Prairies. I have always seen ghosts. I am sensitive to that. I have always had insane, in-depth dreams. Every single night of my life I dream and I have nightmares. It takes me hours every day to wake up and get out of my nightmares. A couple of days ago I went to go get groceries and I couldn’t remember if I needed to buy Q-tips or not because I had a nightmare that I already had Q-tips and I was jamming my brain out with them. I think all those things led me to figuring out, what this is, why I am seeing ghosts. It gives me a real charge, almost sexual, it’s strange. Who knows how I picked up a book on witchcraft. It is called The Solitary Practitioner. I didn’t want to be in a coven or anything. I just wanted to learn it for myself. But then, I didn’t enjoy all the process of magic wands, cauldrons, learning all that equipment. I just kind of made my own way of Majick. I mean it’s just about connecting with nature mostly. It has been only in the last couple of years that I incorporated Magick into my art. I found out about the Sigil Magick. It is artistic, you are making an image. I was showing it to people, and I thought it definitely works with what I am doing.
DA How do the letters translate into a symbol or an image?
LS That is up to the artist. I’m not good at explaining things; there is lots of direction on line if you type in sigil Majick. One example was, last year I needed to make exactly $500. I made a symbol for it, I drew it all over my body, put it on Facebook, meditated for hours doing it, then I get an email and this dude says, oh, I want to give you $500. I said, for what? He said, I don’t know. I just feel like you need it. Just give me a painting sometime in the future. That was one example that I can think of It working. Be carefull with sigils. You might just end up with an extra genital growing on your wrist if you do not pay attention. Ha. Well maybe that wouldn’t be so bad, you could pay rent with that service.
If you look closely in my newer paintings there is a lot of symbolism. There are also angels in them, demons and devils.
DA That is very apparent.
LS I tend to also write my own literature on the paintings, whatever is going on in my head at the moment. One thing is for certain, you can’t fake craziness. If you make a painting that was intended to look all crazy, scribbles, etc, it will sink like a stone in a septic tank. Channelling.
DA No you can’t. The painting doesn’t lie. The painting is the closest thing you have to reality.
LS That’s true. If you are being honest with yourself. Even if you are not. Then you are showing that you are not.
DA Then it shows up. People that try too hard to come to their centre while working (on their art) and never get there – not in the first place, and will not get there while making art. That will be in the work.
LS I think I make paintings for me. And for the people I respect. That is at that level, wanting something you can look at for an hour and find something new. There is so much non-descript art out there.
My first thing in school was, to figure out what my style was. I always thought, the only way I could be successful was if I didn’t look like anyone else. People will recognize what I do. Which I think the zipper mouths, the light bulbs, the eyeballs the glitch, etc. are all things I have accumulated over the years to put into my paintings.
DA Are you talking about EYE?
LS Oh yeah. Well no Eye wasn’t. I draw eyeballs all over my work. However yes EYE the comic strip that lasted 5 days, ha.
DA You had the EYE as your character for a while. What happened to him? I miss the guy.
LS EYE wish I knew...Here’s the deal, I have about 200 new ideas every day. I get all excited. Then rent is due. that’s the end. hahah. I made him way too complicated. I wanted him to enter reality. The way that I made him... I had to Photoshop this ottoman that a friend gave me. That’s why he’s that shape. I had an ottoman that I put in my bed with the covers over. I photographed this whole thing. His body is in there. It was taking way too much time doing the art. And my story got way too complicated and I quit. The EYE thing, writing it EYE has always been in my art because I get so sick of saying I.
That’s part of the show. It is called The Me Show (VEAG), starring Me. She (Ellen Manning) actually said it to me, ‘this reminds me of flipping through weird TV channels’. She thought this was a way to explain my paintings, a way to tell people what it is - since I have a hard time telling them – it is like they are flipping through TV channels. Seeing different shows.
DA I believe in inclusivity. It is why I write. Building community. I look at your work and can tell, through the writing, what is going on, from my perspective, which is what other people can relate to. I think that is important.
LS It is important.
DA What I do, is relate the work to other disciplines. Sometimes music, sometimes literature. I think that is important too, to give the work context within the world of creativity. Because some people may know a lot about music, or a lot about books, they don’t know about visual art. Writing this way gives them a bridge.
LS There is a lot of fear. Yes, that gives them a bridge.
I need about a 10 year window before I can deal with writing about my life. That is why I use my 2001 journals. What’s in them doesn’t seem real anymore. If you make work about something that happened recently, even two years ago, it still hurts. Distancing myself. I do a lot of that in life and art. In some ways I bring people into my life very deeply, and other ways it’s hidden. Maybe not so much hidden but there are many obstacles one must hurdle and search through.
DA This is about your art work. Past, present and the future. You have a unique message. An inimitable understanding of the world. I am not talking about locally. I am taking about universally. It is about something that can touch people outside of their usual spectrum of experience. I think you have something that is important. I think it is important to be shaken. You have been shaken, and this is how you have understood what happens to you. You share it. That’s a key message, within that process. But also it is the image you have produced because of that. I think that people rely on someone who is a survivor, on your ability to survive.
Coming back to your colours – okay, all this stuff is going on, but the underling colour is sun rise, it is enlivening. It gives life grace.
LS In all the darkness, there is still some light, hey?
DA There is a huge amount of light. You are light.
One thing nobody knows?
LS Hmmmm. Well I do have a tendency to run off the beaten bath and dig holes in the trees, and use them as washrooms. I find public washrooms so sick. Maybe it is not a secret. Is this what you are asking about? Or pertaining to my art?
LS I actually had a nightmare last night that people found this whole part of a backyard full of ziplock bags of my uhhh treasures. Booty hahah. the whole place reeked. It was messed up, and then they found a Tide box full of the Queens remains, and her jewels, its smell was so disgusting. I then ended up on a jet that was going to crash over New York city, and Bill Cosby was flying it, we all had to jump out in various parts of the city with parachutes on. I ended up in some wooded area, and was taken advantage of by this really odd witchy lady. We somehow had inverted sex, not sure how to explain it. This is one fraction of a dream, and these happen every single night, I can fall asleep for a minute and dream. I just don’t usually want to talk about them, or use them in my art. I feel I am cheating if I do so. Kind of like my belief with drugs and art. I personally don’t do drugs when I create art. I believe I have to get there on my own. I don’t really do drugs anyway, except for the lush. I’ll have a glass of wine when painting sometimes, but it usually wrecks the mood. I think I need it then I have one glass, and want more, then I forget about painting. I feel there is enough inspiration while I am awake to paint from. For now at least. I don’t want to close doors forever. That would be a weird job, only closing doors, for eternity.
A huge part of my painting is that I waste so much time moving things around. I have a fairly big space, and one day my studio is in my bedroom, one day it is in the living room, one day it is in the dining room. I have this really strange feeling of loneliness and abandonment when I paint. I need closure. I need things around me. I have – TVs always on, playing my favourite movies. Music, sometimes at the same time playing – with two separate movies playing at the same time to keep me company. Because, although I am painting here, and there is a wall there, I need to have something right there, playing, to make me feel comfortable.( I was pointing at things when I said here ,there, here, there, so just pretend you know what I was pointing at.)
Usually, I won’t paint for about three weeks, and it will all build up, and then in two days, I will do my whole show in two days. Just because I have to, I guess, but... There is an artist that said, once, that – an artist I look up to – he said, ‘don’t let procrastination get you down. It is a very important part of the artistic process. Because you are still absorbing, even if you don’t know you are doing it. And then when you are actually doing it (painting), it is like an orgasm – and you put it out all at once.’ (Could very well be that he is just lazy, and or lying.) So I am starting to think that, that I am usually absorbing stuff, and when it happens, it happens. Thing is, when you are ready to do it and you convince yourself not to do it, not to make art, or not to write – and it happens, you can’t do it. You feel like you are drowning. It's death. You can’t breathe. But it is all going through your head. And it is the most brilliant thing you ever said in your life, but you don’t put it on a piece of paper. That’s scary. That’s what really messes me up. And then I think that’s when the business side, the marketing, that effort, screws with my art side. Because it is eating up too much of myself.
DA It is interesting to me how people gravitate towards abandonment. Abandoned buildings, abandoned people. It gives meaning to their lives. It is addressing some kind innate part of them that they don’t want to admit, do not want to face, or cannot deal with, but that image or that thought, that construction gives them access, to what they want to ignore. I think art, your art does that. It allows people, with playfulness, the inquisitiveness, the distraction and the detriment that they would not permit themselves to address, if they didn’t see what your work was.
LS Allowing them what they can’t live through.
DA Yes, you do the living for them, but they acquire it because they need that in their lives to remind them or allow them to acknowledge what they have within them.
LS A trophy. Or a deer that they went and hunted. Or a pig, or something.
DA Time is involved as well. They have had the privilege of meeting you, they got to know you. But in time... the old masters, for example, they are buying a genre, an experience that they wished they could have experienced. And so, meeting an artist, having the honour of being associated with that artist is like rubbing a sacred coin against you. It allows that life experience to be alive for them.
LS I think perhaps for some people that don’t know me, they read what I say and it could sound like I don’t care about my art, or everything is a big joke, etc. It’s just how I am. If I really tried I could come up with art speak, and dissect everything and give the same old boring interviews about conceptualism, and pain, and passion. Most important thing is to look at the art for yourself. I can’t explain it, what I can do is explain my life surrounding it. It’s all one in the same for me. I’m as confused about my art as anyone. I just get tripped up on the business side of things. There is way more depth in my paintings than I lead on. It’s not my job to tell you that. Put the puzzle pieces together, do your own research.
DA Your work stuns me in the theatricality of it – the theatricality doesn’t deter it, it doesn’t denigrate it, it widens wide open. That’s what attracts me. You are one of my role models. I feel privileged to be around you because of your strengths – not only what I see in your work, but also in your person, how you deal with people. I feel humbled by that. I feel I need to do better because here I am speaking with you. I feel I can give back by writing at least.
LS well thank you, very nice to hear coming from you. Much appreciated. (passes money under the table to pay off Debora for the kind words). A good reminder to keep on going, and make art that I care about.
April 14, 2013