This page is the slowest to load. There's a lot of images. Read slow....the images will catch up with you.
If you're looking for excitement.......go back to CineSecrets! . "Artist's notes", by their very nature, can be pretty dry stuff! But if you're looking to lift the hood on my brain and find out what makes my paintings tick......well this is the place.
Yesterday, today and tomorrow.....offers an insight into my view of modern society and popular media. This is at the heart of all my paintings.
Art, communication and me.....considers the artist's role as a communicator. and the development of my communications concepts.
Growing up and moving on.....relates to where I was and where I am.
The Series...... ....nothing to do with sport, the categories in which I group my artwork.
My subjects...... ....no not a proclamation to the masses! The stuff I paint.
Excursions in the 5th Dimension and Intuitive Nostalgia.....the concepts.
Technique.....examines the method in my madness.
Icons.....A guide to the meanings behind many of the images that make up the visual language of my artwork.
Quotes.....insightful quotes from various articles and interviews.
Yesterday, today and tomorrow.....
Many of the influences that shape my more serious paintings are the same as those that shaped my life and they're mainly inspired by the popular media. The complexity of these influences is considerable but I'll try to outline the major issues without boring you to death.
Modern man is unlike any man that existed prior to this century. The phenomena of cinema, television and popular magazines has shaped his hopes, dreams and expectations for almost a hundred years. It has lifted him from a mundane existence based around the work place and the struggle to raise a family and developed his mind into a sophisticated processor of complex concepts constructed from the implied interconnectedness of assorted images hurled at him at a rate of several thousand per hour. His reaction to these images is intuitive although it is based upon opinions formed by years of exposure to similar images.
Similarly, the average man has never been so preoccupied with himself. Through the media, he dissects his history, his achievements, his inventions, his fashions, his fantasies and his expectations to an extent that is at best narcissistic and at worst incestuous. In most modern homes today the media has replaced the parent as the primary influence upon young minds. Clearly a television company's concerns are not the same as those of a parent and consequently the desire to mold happy, successful citizens is replaced by the desire to acquire better ratings. Modern society panders to popular demand, encourages sensationalism and holds in the highest regard the most common desires. These images pervade the minds of our children before they can even talk through constant and repeated exposure.
Never before has it been possible to reach so many minds so quickly. In political and marketing circles this evolves into a desire to control, and even invent, opinions. With the power of the media at their fingertips that isn't too hard to achieve because in most cases the constant interjection of the media into our everyday life represents the major part of our exposure to the rest of humanity. For people who don't travel, television has become reality. As we enter the 21st Century the explosion of computer technology, specifically interactive multi-media, the Internet and "virtual" experiences will make it unnecessary for citizens to experience real life at all, (outside the quest for nourishment and shelter!)
OK. Time out! I don't want to paint a picture that's all abject negativity. This monster that invades our lives brings with it imagination, and wonder. It educates us to aspire to heights beyond the wildest dreams of our sociologically enslaved forefathers. Moreover, it has conditioned the minds of the masses to be receptive to the often abstract connections that I present to them within my artworks.
Art and communication and me.
I guess it's hard to define where life stops and art begins. Art mirrors life and having absorbed it, life in turn mirrors art. But of course the term "art" covers a multitude of sins, from African masks to cinema, from cartoons to abstract expressionism. Certainly when I talk about art it is not the "Art" with a capital "A" that many of my peers are so absorbed by. Oh yes, the basics of color and composition are all there, as is a concern to create a two dimensional object that exists for its own sake (beyond being a window to another three dimensional world). But my esthetic ideology is far removed from that expounded by art professors.
The average citizen drifts farther and farther from grasping an understanding of the fine art of the 20th Century. So far so that he has become almost totally alienated by it. With no concept of the theories behind modern art, he perceives no difference between fine art and mindless copies executed in a similar style. To him it is all without thought or reason and he has grown to consider modern art with a mistrust akin to second hand car dealers. Now although a theorist would say that's a shame he would also say that it's not his concern. He can't worry about being understood by the uneducated. It is hard enough communicating with the educated. In doing so he has to admit that the artist is a communicator, just like a musician or a writer. So consider this. If an author writes the most important book ever written, but in a language understood by a 100 people, he shouldn't be soured by his lack of recognition. He may look down on the author of a comic book but if that comic book influences the lives of millions then which work is the most valuable? The public owes the artist nothing, as the communicator the onus of being understood is his. If he cares he will react and adapt. If he does not, he will not.
After college my career took me in a different direction to my fellow artists. When I finally returned my communication concepts had changed forever. They were more instinctive, using many techniques borrowed from moving pictures and other forms of popular media and were aimed at communicating with the same audience that enjoyed my film work. It is for this reason that the work is basically figurative and representational. As such the buttons that my art pushes are not those revered by purists. In fact, my paintings are more often misunderstood by artists, who incorrectly categorize them, than it is by the general public who, having little knowledge of art theory, allow their intellects to be guided by the same instinct that interprets popular media and generates their consciousness and sub consciousness.
Growing up and moving on....
I grew up in a theatrical household, very conscious of "style" and "glamour". I learned as a child to appreciate the modern icons created by the media and to analyze the way in which vintage movies manipulated these images to inspire the involuntary response of our emotions. Having worked for many years in cinema I helped to create such images for new generations until some of the images I helped create became icons in their own right.
The success that I achieved during that period brought with it a certain affluence that I was previously unaccustomed to. This allowed me to indulge in many of the so called finer things of life, things that many people from my less than affluent background could only dream about. But life in the fast lane also brought many responsibilities and much anxiety and soon I began to question the value that society places upon acquisitions and ultimately the importance of appearances. This was something of a mid life crisis since much of what I questioned was the embodiment of the very fantasies that I was helping to create. It was as a result of this crisis that I resettled in the Caribbean and, using similar techniques in paint, began to produce images which reflected the serenity of the islands and drew direct comparisons between the seductive slickness of city life and the peace of mind to be found in simple living.
I categorizes my artwork as follows:
SERIES 3: Concept sketches and Modellos produced in preparation for SERIES 1 works.
SERIES 2: Experimental works executed in the pursuit of techniques needed to complete SERIES 1 paintings. Many of my most popular prints are from Series 2, often color or figure studies that materialized as decorative or illustrative paintings.
SERIES 1: Works which I consider conceptually complete. These are the works that are the most important. They contain my artistic thumbprint and are the works that I include in Museum and other major exhibitions.
SERIES 1, 2, or 3 "GOLD": Works in each series which are in my opinion the finest.
As you look at the prints you might like to note which series they belong to. After a short while you will easily recognize a Series 1.........
..... from a Series 2........
Besides autobiographical works relating to my past involvement in various movies my SERIES 1 paintings usually fall into two basic groups.
1. Sociological comments relating to our perception of life, (or lack of it) which I expect, in future, to express more and more through science fantasy.
2. Paintings of thoughts and memories which, for want of better phrases, I have termed Intuitive Nostalgia.
Generally I term all SERIES 1 paintings "Excursions in the 5th Dimension."
Many of the works are cynical, while others are hopelessly romantic. If that seems like a contradiction, I guess its just that some deal with dreams of a perfect world, while the others cope with the disappointment of reality.
Excursions in the 5th Dimension and Intuitive Nostalgia...
In the Intuitive Nostalgia paintings I use multiple images located in a way that encourages the viewer to examine their interconnectedness. The sum of the parts plus the title become a question, and the work is completed in the mind of the viewer when he follows the connections within the painting to answer that question from his own experience. They draw on the viewer's experience of the world, popular icons and body language, and are designed to leave the viewer with a sense of recollection that is best described as nostalgic.
I often also refer to these paintings of thoughts and memories as "Excursions in the 5th Dimension". To understand why you must accept time as the fourth dimension of an otherwise three dimensional material world. Memory, by retaining fragments of our worldly experience, creates a fifth dimension within our consciousness where the other four dimensions may co-exist simultaneously, (for as long as we ourselves exist.) In one moment, given the right emotional stimulus, we may recall several indirectly related fragments which collectively represent whole experiences, generate involuntary emotional response, determine our opinions and intuitively influence our reaction to new events. The Intuitive Nostalgia paintings attempt to recapture such a moment, immortalizing not the thought of a thing but a recollection of many moments that collectively represent an experience. I use multiple images and ambiguous perspectives that allow parts of the composition to be interpreted in more than one way depending upon what part of the work you are concentrating on, and I like to think of the ambiguity of the work as paralleling the ambiguity of life.
At the third "Bienal De Pintura Del Caribe y Centro America" held at the MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, (Dominican Republic), in 1996, I wrote a series of equations, using common icons, on the wall next to the paintings. They represented my thoughts of the 5th dimension in an algebraic form for those who like that kind of esoteric mathematical stuff.
In the 80's many people referred to me as an "Airbrush artist". I started painting with a tooth brush but no one ever called me a "Tooth brush artist." I think that says something about the esthetic bigotry that is leveled at airbrush techniques despite Chuck Close's long time inclusion at NYC's Museum of Modern Art. I have no bias or bigotry regarding technique. I use any method that seems applicable. Often I start a painting with a textured white acrylic background. I use a pallet knife or a sponge or a brush to create texture and a razor blade to remove it. This allows me to plot a whole composition without applying any colored marks to the canvas.
Most works use watercolors and transparent water based inks, bound in an acrylic medium, used as transparent glazes over the white background. Forms are further defined by freely applied opaque acrylics that create an underpainting. That usually means they are propelled onto the canvas, either by toothbrush, airbrush, garden spray or just paint thrown by hand. This is softened using the same pigments applied while the canvas is horizontal and wet in a way reminiscent of traditional watercolor wet on wet techniques.
Textures are heightened with watercolor crayons using the same, broad, split complementary palette. This simultaneously creates optical mixtures. The texture in the paint and contrasting gloss & matte varnishes draw attention to the flat painted surface whilst light and color, used in a theatrical way, attract the viewer and provoke emotional responses. The illusion of smoothness, seen from a distance, is broken by these textures which become apparent as the viewer approaches.
As a film maker I placed great emphasis upon creating illusions that were totally realistic. This clearly influenced the early Intuitive Nostalgia works such a the "Seasons in the Sun" triptych. Done in the late 80's, these were executed in a hyper-real style. I became concerned that these works were often confused with Super Realism and Surrealism, (though they were far too emotional to be the former and much too logical to be the latter). My recent work combines the usual ambiguous perspectives with the more expressive forms of application I have described.
Certain personal icons & symbols are used repeatedly:
EYES: Perceiving and being perceived. Varied according to the watchers view point and personality, (in a world where every ones favorite pass time is watching and judging one another).
HIGH HEELED SHOES/LIPSTICK: Representative of artificial sophistication and the desire to be attractive.
PALM TREES: The tropics.
SAILBOAT: Freedom. Challenge.
THE SPACEMAN: (i) The combined technical achievements of humanity. The sum of man's scientific intellect. (Usually depicted adrift in the void and minuscule against the infinity of the universe) or (ii) Mankind (as opposed to Womankind) usually found revolving around women.
STARS: (i) Infinite wonder. The eternal unknown. The source of life's essence.
WIND: (implied by movement) Change. The impossibility of things ever remaining the same.
All my originals are catalogued to provide identification, authentication and details of intent. Certificates of authenticity (originals only) relate directly to this number which is most useful when trying to ascertain a current valuation.
About movies and art...... "Making movies is a succession of compromises which in the final analysis rarely satisfies any of the participants. The real joy of painting is that I only have to satisfy myself. The worst thing is that I have no one else to blame."
About painting children....... "I don't know why I like to paint children so often. It's not because I don't have any of my own. I guess I respect them for their honesty. They haven't learned how to hide what they mean behind polite phrases......... I like it particularly when their actions mimic adult attitudes."
About painting women....... "My women are all fantasies, even the real ones. They are unashamedly sexy and I'm sure they never do the laundry."
"Some people criticize me for painting so many naked women...... I can't apologize for that. If I painted a load of naked men they'd criticize me for that instead. You see, it's not that I'm a sexist. Its just that I haven't found a man I want to spend the night with......" :>)
About living in the Caribbean.... "Living in the Caribbean has put me much more in touch with Nature. There you know when the rain is coming even though the sun is still shining. You can see where the wind will blow. Maybe country folk and sailors could see that around the city but I couldn't. Some how the buildings got in the way. People ask me if I miss the quality of life........ I tell them I miss the central heating bills."
About life......... "Passion, hope and humor, they're life's real redeeming qualities and art is just a way of expressing them."
About artists......... "I don't know why people are surprised that most artists are a little odd. Any good artist has to be schizophrenic. They have to question the value of every brush stroke and yet be egotistical enough to want to show their scribblings to complete strangers!"
"A good artist is also bound to be self opinionated. If he has nothing to say then why would anyone be interested in what he has to say? That doesn't mean that every work must make the same statement though....... or conform to the same parameters. If every painting looks the same then he is just a manufacturer of his own stereotype. His value will be judged as the sum of his works and his impact upon society."...
Island Arts of the YodaGuy
Antigua, West Indies & Sint Maarten, Netherland Antilles