Saturday, April 17, 2010

Copper Palanquin 04.17.10


Chris Rywalt said...

Are you making this up as you go along? I can't imagine getting this level of detail and composition if you are, yet I can't imagine planning anything this weird, either. It's a paradox!

Is this too public a space for me to ask, also, what's happening with you on the gallery front?

beebe said...

Yes, I'm making it up as I go along. I've always lacked the patience and ability to do thumbnails and preparatory sketches, etc. and I can't stand reworking something more than a few times. If I know what I'm going to do when I sit down, I lose all motivation. (This is why I never became a commercial illustrator or graphic novelist/comic book guy though it's a totally obvious direction.) So I make it up as I go along. The upside of this approach is that I'm constantly surprised by what comes out; the downside is that I'm never satisfied with how things work out compositionally. I'm starting to get more comfortable with this approach--after 15 years or so--because . . . well, this just seems to be the natural way that I work. I can either fight it or try to embrace it. I try to think of each drawing as either a short story or a novel in terms of detail, action, content, etc. Then each drawing relates to the others as one book might relate to another. Blah blah blah. I still have a hard time talking about what I'm trying to do with the work since my approach is liquid and seems to shoddy and improvised to me. It means THIS one moment and THAT the next moment.

Nothing's happening on the gallery front right now. Lyons Wier sent all of my work back about a year ago. Then I noticed I wasn't listed on their site around December of last year. The experience was positive enough--they were able to sell the biggest drawing from the Ape Machine show I had with them--but I wasn't particularly happy with the work in that show. So I'm taking a few years to just make some work without the idea of showing anything. I'm trying to figure out some things, make some nice drawings. Then maybe I'll try with the gallery stuff again.

Chris Rywalt said...

It's absolutely insane that you make it up as you go along. But very cool. I've done similar things but on a much smaller scale. With practice and talent I'm sure it can work. I remember Boris Vallejo's son telling me how his father often just leaps into his paintings without planning, relying on his talent to pull him through. And it does. If he can do it, you can.

Heck, you do.

I do think your compositions could be better but -- you know, 15 years seems like a long time, but it's not. Jack Kirby was doing comics for almost 30 years before he created the Fantastic Four. It's good to embrace the way you have to work anyway.

Thanks for replying about the gallery situation. I know it's a touchy subject for most artists and I appreciate hearing where you are with it.

My studio mates keep pestering me about my showing my work. "You should show it somewhere," they say, like I could just carry some of it outside and set it up or something. Last time I was in the studio one of them told me I shouldn't worry if I don't think it's good enough, I should just show it. Which isn't exactly why I'm not showing. It's not as if I'm thinking, well, maybe when I'm really good I'll have a gallery show. No, it's more like, well, maybe when I find someone who'll look at the work, and then maybe if they like it.... These steps aren't easy.

beebe said...

I used to be a pretty serious jazz guy back in the day so I think my love of improvisation might be showing up in the way I work. I mean, these drawing are about as far as you can get from quick spontaneity but I enjoy committing to a particular passage, rendering it and then having to react to it. Keeps things about as exciting as they can be with such a deliberate way of working.

The gallery thing is tough. Galleries don't have much of reason to stick with you if you don't gain a lot of commercial/critical success right away. There is no shortage of artists, obviously, and if you don't score big right away, they'll drop you and get another artist who might. The idea that a gallery will bring you into the fold and stick with you for three or four shows until you get your commercial feet under you seems like a myth to me. When I say "stick with you" I don't mean give you a stipend or pay for your studio space/supplies or any of that ridiculous shit--I simply mean allow you to put together a body of coherent work and help you build some kind--any kind--of market. My studiomate, Ted Riederer, is a champ at networking and getting people into the studio and getting involved in all kinds of high-profile projects . . . but he's facing the same problems regarding representation. All scramble, no scratch, man. It's frustrating.

Chris Rywalt said...

You know -- and I'm sure we're not the first artists to feel this way but -- I often feel, while I'm painting, as if I'd like some of that musical, jazz improv feeling to come across. I mean, I'm no musician at all, but I like music and have a lot of musician friends for some reason, and I get the way an improvisation feels, and I love it. And I'd like to put that in my paintings somehow, like with a shoehorn or something.

"All scramble, no scratch." Man, I want a plaque with that carved on it.