Friday, January 20, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Quick post about my thought process. It's been almost two years since I started piecing together Refractoria through maps. For the first time--these maps allowed me to use language in my drawings. I've always had a love for language--I bestow nicknames on just about everyone and everything (though I invariably name first the things that disturb and disappoint long before I name things I relish and love--my love of language seems to be rooted in pettiness and spite, satire and ridicule. Go figure.) As a result, I frequently invent my own short, descriptive/poetic phrases. I copy many other phrases from books and steal even more from poems. I have endless lists of supreme phrases that I want to use someday. These map drawings have cracked the door on using language.
I mentioned recently my trip to the Met to see an entire show almost entirely dedicated to pettiness and spite, satire and ridicule--The Infinite Jest. (I'm going to see it again after the American painting wing opens and before the show closes.) I was electrified by the work in these shows--I wrote down the names of most of the artists and immediately started trying to purchase books by them. With my meager funds, I was able to snatch two out-of-print Dover publications via the internet--one on George Cruickshank and one on William Hogarth. I spent several afternoons simply sitting on Ol' Turq here in the studio, sipping on beer and studying at length every plate in both books. In one of Hogarth's Marriage a la Mode etchings (see the entire thing here), I saw one tiny detail that got my mind rolling. It was a family tree of William Duke of Normandy (the detail image to the left). I figured I could do something similar but based on one of the characters from Refractoria, and it would allow me to start introducing figures again in the work while still allowing for the use of language for labels, descriptions, brief histories, etc.
The first thought, of course, was a family tree for Queen of the Vast Nonsense. Enough already—why don't you give her a rest, for fuck sake? I kindly thought to myself. Then, of course, my alter ego presented himself: Popular Charlie. Too easy; give him a rest as well. Then Greencandle, an undefined archmage/astronomer who has been hanging out in my peripheral imagination for a few years. No, still not right. So, of course, it had to be the King of Smothered Rainbows. He's another character I've been kicking around (and, in many ways, simply kicking) in my head for about a year. A fictional customer primed for pettiness and spite, satire and ridicule.
The pose of the KoSR is based on Durer's painting of St. Eustace. I'm not sure how the rest of the drawing is going to unfold. That unknowing is causing a fair amount of anxiety right now. So I've spend the morning and early afternoon culling language from my sketchbooks and various other books, trying to arrive at titles, names of progeny--daughters, sons, wives, etc. Some kind of bullshit history that covers a half-dozen lifetimes.