Sunday, December 21, 2008

revamped chloe

i made some changes to the painting chloe today in the studio. i really thought it was a poor painting, and i hope the things i did make me happier in the days between now and the solo show in the summer. here's a link to the old version, and here is what the painting looks like now:

© matt pulford
oil on canvas
36 x 36 inches

as you can see, i've pushed it a lot further into this new direction i'm taking, so it now fits in more with the newest body of paintings. conversely, there was a painting i finished earlier this year that i will strip down a bit, and push the opposite way. more on that later.

more new work

a short while back i posted some finished new pieces, and one of them (amelia and fiver) was a new direction for me. i've decided to work on several new painting that follow its lead, and thought i'd share a very unfinished second piece from that vein.

there's the same dreamlike look to it, where in my head i've laid out this other-worldy, oddball sky scene that has little magic blankets flying in and out of other little ditties in the air. you know - watching my little newborn daughter dream again; imagining her in these traveling scenes. strange. it's about 32" tall by 47" wide. acrylic. it's probably only 20% finished. there are still more elements that will fill the composition, and a lot of finishing up on the quiltwork needs to be done. here's a detail of some of the busy spot in the lower left:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas in Hollis

best xmas present ever. big thanks to chao & gerd.

let's make my posting of this video an annual tradition.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

some new pieces

here are three of the new pieces i've had brewing in the studio the last month or two. i'm considering these finished. once again, forgive the odd look of the drawings' image quality. these pieces are very delicate line drawings on white paper, and they're nearly impossible to photograph well. they always turn out looking discolored, and even though i've used Photoshop daily for a decade now, i can never get things to look right with any tweaking of levels or color. so, imagine these looking a lot better in person. and click on any image for a larger view; it will help with these.

if anyone has been following this series of drawings and is curious as to what the titles refer to, josephine is the name of my paternal grandmother. she helped raise me during my youth, when my mom and dad worked long days. she's one of the strongest people i know - dealt with a husband of whom my father has told me some bad stories, and raised 7 children in a tiny 2-bedroom home. she seems to be in her last months of life, and i'm going to miss her terribly.

josephine (three)
pencil on paper
32 x 20 inches
© Matt Pulford

a detail of josephine (three)

like many newborns, my daughter dreams quite often and seemingly quite vividly. i smile inwardly as i imagine her floating around a make-believe world of colorful quilts up in the sky, with the rabbit family that lives in our back yard as her co-pilots.

Amelia and Fiver
acrylic on canvas
20 x 20 inches
© Matt Pulford

pencil on paper
24 x 16 inches

and a detail:

Friday, November 21, 2008

on glass ceilings, high public offices, and internal drive & will

i've been perusing a lot of the local blogs lately, fixated on the discussion that has ensued following Obama's election as the next president of our united states. no, not the political discussions surrounding policy predictions or whatnot; rather, the fact that we now have our first black president. in particular, i'm interested in the language found in these discussions — the talk centered around the meme of "finally... finally my (black) child can strive to actually become president someday."

i've gone round and round about this with close personal friends of mine lately, and it seems like i should start here by making one thing clear - i am not questioning that children may need "proof in the pudding" when it comes to striving for something they want to become later in life. however, what i am taking issue with is the language that seems to be used across-the-board when it comes to this.

allow me to post something from a recent issue of the Quad City Times. It's a quote of a user's post, within a larger article written by friend Melissa Coulter. here it is:

“My guess is that part of the reaction (of African Americans) has to do with seeing that whites actually accept and support a black man as leader in large numbers,” Anne-Marie Hislop wrote. “Why would a black mom have told her son he could do anything when there are plenty of things he was blocked from doing (just as it is still a lie to say that ‘anyone can grow up to be president’ — not women, not yet, not Muslims, Jews, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans). Again, we are making progress, but ...”

i have a fundamental disagreement with this type of language and outlook. the questions Hislop (and others making this argument) raises about the black mom and her son, and the supposed act of "lying" when saying anyone can grow up to be president seem to validate two things points here - one being Hislop's point (and my own, and others as well), and one being the one this post is about.

first, yes... there are a lot of situations where people of certain non-white, non-straight, non-whatever demographics begin to lose hope, because of the way "things still look" right now, in 2008. social institutions and public offices are disproportionately skewed one way or another, and for whatever fucked up reasoning, some people just don't want everyone to have equal rights when it comes to marriage. i can completely see how that can be disconcerting to some folks, causing a loss of hope, will, and inner drive. but the second point - the one i personally want to make - comes from Hislop's questions too. it seems to show a flaw in our collective view of what's going on, and also stretches a simple flaw in logic into a really insulting world view. that's an awfully unclear sentence, so allow me to elaborate...

as i said, i'm not taking issue with the difficulty of people from these demographics to make very high public office positions, because i don't dismiss the undercurrent of nuanced racism in our country. i am taking issue with the language used by some people - that it is a "lie" to tell a child they can't be or do something simply because that thing hasn't been done before. was it a "lie" for Barack Obama or his family to think he could be the first black president, simply because there had not been one before? No. He's going to be President in january. either i am completely missing anne's point (but the responses i've read since making my point on The Times' site leads me to believe otherwise), or she is making a very bad error in simple logic. not to beat a dead horse. but here's an example in the flaw these folks seem to ardently stand by:

say it's 1977, and you have a little boy that is into baseball, and the season has just begun. you're watching his favorite team on television, and a player hits two home runs in one game. your child is in awe, and he starts saying "when i grow up, i want to be a big league player that hits THREE homeruns in a game." (and, while we're talking hypotheticals, let's give me a break on my analogy here, since i'm quite sure that someone like babe ruth or lou gehrig has already hit three in a game, so... say you and your child didn't know that). now then, you tell your child "i can't lie to you, dear... hitting three homeruns in a game is impossible. no one's that good yet." then, at the end of the season, reggie jackson hits three homers in one game of the world series (and even in back-to-back-to-back at bats).

it's not a "lie" to tell anyone their dream can come true - whether it be hitting three homeruns or becoming president - just because it hasn't been done before. that type of thinking/writing is faulty. but the crux of the matter here is, that logic sells the will and drive of us collectively short. it says "well, you can't be 'the first' in anything," you have to wait until someone else becomes X, then and only then you can strive for X." what the hell is that? stating that by and large, black folks, gay & lesbian folks, or whoever else live this way is awfully insulting. did Jackie Robinson not persevere and rise above, saying "F this, this is America, and I belong." (my words, of course)? Did Rosa Parks not have immense character, taking initiative on her own to change our country? i truly do not understand the implied laziness towards certain demographics that i see coming from folks as liberal as i, nor do i understand why they can't understand my point of view on this, and that's why i wanted to post something on the subject.

for one final point on the matter, please check out a good segment that aired on The Daily Show a week or so back. It's titled "black Liberal Guilt" and features comedian/commentator Larry Wilmore. there are a few rim-shot jokes in the beginning, and sure, it's a trumped-up portrayal of the white liberal stereotype, but the latter part ties in with what i'm writing about:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

this winter in the studio...

there were some new pieces i alluded to a few posts down, and i wanted to give a quick update to say i haven't finished anything quite yet. there are four new pieces i've begun — one of them being of the unrefined, dark style i mentioned in that post. but, as i've said, things are taking a while. our adjustment to having our newborn with us is making free time a rather scarce commodity for now.

for now, i can only show you one of the lighthearted paintings, still unfinished:

so far just acrylic on canvas, about 15" x 15". somewhat coming from watching my little daughter dream - kind of an imagined carpet ride to far off lands, with little creatures from fairy tales. fun stuff.

allow me to delve into the past for a short bit, as i have to post some paintings from 2005 for some people possibly interested in a purchase:

Friday, October 31, 2008

a break from arts posts...

two photos of little pumpkins my made by my wife and i...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

EX-CH-AN-GE at quad city arts

the reception/party for EX-CH-AN-GE was last night, and the show looks great. the exhibit is one of those old slightly dada-style collaboration games, kind of like an "Exquisite Corpse." see, the four artists in the show — Steve Banks, Terry Rathje, Heidi Hernandez, and Jeff Tady — all worked on a painting together, but in pairs. i'll let Steve Banks explain it better:

Each of the artists started a total of eight paintings. Then, they gave two of those pieces to each artist to finish (keeping two of their original works to complete from start to finish). In turn, they received two paintings from each artist to complete. The show explores that creative area that an image-maker can only reach with the insights of another artist.

if you'd like a peek at some stand-alone shots of the work, go here:

otherwise, here are photos from the reception. click on these thumbnails for a larger view...

this is absolutely my favorite piece in the show. Steve Banks & Heidi Hernandez, title unknown:

Heidi Hernandez & Terry Rathje:

Quad City Times' Melissa Coulter & exhibiting artist Steve Banks as Gumby, Dammit! :

Steve Banks & Heidi Hernandez:

Terry Rathje & Jeff Tady:

Terry Rathje & Heidi Hernandez:

pretty decent crowd:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nowhere Close to Normal at the Figge Art Museum - installation shots

the show is still up, until November 21st. mid-way reception takes place friday, october 31st from 5-7pm. click on any of the images below for a larger image.

the breadth of artists' bodies of work, or, an important explanation


it's always been somewhat of a concern of mine that on the surface, there seems to be two distinctly different bodies of work i create as an artist — one of a serene nostalgia via landscape pieces of some sort (actual classical-esque landscape paintings; more contemporary-looking sculptural pieces; quiet, calm drawings) and one of a dark, visceral "punch" (the tongue-in-cheek, yet simultaneously serious "heavy metal" routed-out paintings; the old intaglio prints that feature little vignettes of flowers dying, paleontological digs of dinosaurs, and lots of maniacal text).

it has been inferred by some gallery owners in the past that i am an artist that lacks a specific focus in my oeuvre, and that this is somehow extremely problematic, but i often brush that off. it's my opinion that to label someone as a "landscape painter," "printmaker," or "sculptor," and to think that sums up their work, is awfully short-sighted and quite lay. it means you're seeing the artist as an investigator of "X" (one's particular medium), not an investigator of "Y" (that artistic searching that is difficult to explain with words — that emotional exploration — i.e. CONTENT). [sure, good artists often spend periods of time in an intense immersion into working with a medium — really getting into the act of pushing paint around, for example — but i think you know what i'm getting at here].

think of the oft-repeated scenario that either makes artists laugh or drives them batty:
patron of arts: "are you an artist?"
artist: "yes."
patron of arts: "what medium?"
artist: (dumbfounded... grits teeth...)

why am i bringing this up? it's not because of any recent incident that has fueled a fire or anything. it's more just a simple exercise in self-reflection, as i sit and think about the three new pieces i started this week. it seems that during every late fall, and into the winter, my work becomes more dark and brooding. it's definitely a stepping away from what i made this spring and summer, and a return to what i've investigated off and on throughout the last 15 years. however... it's not particularly a departure in content..

see, my vibrant landscape paintings with ebbing & flowing grasses and dust in the atmosphere have never been a plein-air "celebration of the land," they've always been more a longing for an idealized existence that falls short each and every day when one is surrounded by concrete and grime. the delicate grass blade line drawings, complete with titles that bear my niece and nephews' names, are signifiers of another longing for an idealized existence — innocence, youth, and a lack of the woes of adult life (bills, work, death). the key here is that even though those two examples are of the former type of work i described in the first paragraph of this post, the same thing goes for latter type of work i described up there. this part of an artist's mindset may be confusing to some folks, but any ridiculously maniacal piece i make comes from the same emotional pool as any serene, quiet piece. they're just different ways of expressing an artistic thought. to give an example, say a bad day at work - complete with thoughts about the inane people around me and the dim horizons ahead - manifests itself artistically as part of a larger motif of... well, hell... "human suffering." the point i'm making is that sometimes the ensuing work of art will convey a quiet, bittersweet longing, and sometimes it will convey a loud, intense hatred. even though those two pieces will look rather different, they're more similar than one would think.

so, i digress...
throughout the next weeks, stay tuned for some ridiculous, vicious, visceral hate, as well as some stuff that is a bit more refined, yet still dark in tone.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Seein' Red in Japan

there are a ton of new live videos of Seein' Red on youtube right now. during these last days before the birth of our child, my posts are lazy. so... here you go. videos. huzzah.

this is "Resist" live in Nagoya. one of my favorite songs of theirs.

Seein' Red live in Osaka. lots of audience participation. i don't own the record this song is on, and therefore don't know the name of the song. Jos claims Paul is going to be 50 in one year, and he actually might not be joking. i love old punks.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mechanical Advantage: Party Time.

Up above, you can see the flyer for the season opener tomorrow night. Hope those of you in town can make it.

Here are some pics of the finished pieces made by the artists involved in the collaborative creative effort i've spoke of earlier on this site. click on any of the images for a larger view:

matt pulford:

Matt Pulford
The Dutch
Wood, Found Objects, Canvas, Latex House Paint, Fan

Roughly half of the work you see in this show is a collaborative
effort between either three or four artists, depending on which piece you are viewing. Although each of us did our own physical labor required to build the piece(s) that bear our singular names on their title cards, the actual brainstorming and concept development behind the works of kinetic art was a group effort that spanned a time of only about one month. So… what are you seeing in my jalopy-of-an-art-machine, “The Dutch”? You're seeing something completely outside of my normal mode of making art — something foreign to me in terms of my aesthetic and usual artistic media, but… also an art object that is the end result of a process that was ridiculously fun to be a part of. The Dutch… part windmill, part noise- (music?) maker, part painting-dipper.

bill campbell:

Bill Campbell
Musical Instrument
PVC, wood, rubber, felt

As a musician and composer I take advantage of simple machines almost every day in the pistons, valves, triggers, springs, bridges, and keys in so many instruments. The mechanism of the piano is a complex trigger that allows me to strike so many strings and set them in motion as a play. It is a beautiful thing, and a wonder to behold. But the mechanisms are not the end: it is how I use them and apply their benefits that makes them useful.

terry rathje:

Terry Rathje
Six Shi Shi Odoshi
Copper pipe assemblage, water, water pump

Half my time is spent taking things apart and learning about the world; the other half is spent putting things together and learning about myself. My work is roughly equal parts of looking outwardly at the world for ideas and inspiration, and then inwardly to see how I work. Ancient or obsolete ideas couple with new perspectives and make for interesting new directions, especially when the leverage of technology is involved. Something that functions has a more difficult purpose and birthing process than something that merely exists in space, because it has to take into account the range of human behavior, personal differences, idiosyncrasies, propensities, emotion, and the fact that it has to serve people (which is no small undertaking).

steve banks:

Steve Banks
The Machine-Scape Tapestry
Assemblages involving wood, garage door opener, rope, rock, plastic, drawing utensils, fans, etcetera

It is a nearly inescapable fact that we are surrounded by a tapestry of machine-produced sights and sounds. From chugging motors, to the insistent braying of ‘personalized’ cell phone rings, to soulless pre-fabricated mini-mart architecture carved into the verdant landscape, the ubiquity of machines goes nearly without scrutiny. Machines have made our lives longer, fuller and undeniably easier, but often times at the expense of whimsy, play and enthusiastic impracticality. These machines are our humble attempt to temporarily re-weave the machine-scape tapestry.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Two Art Shows

(i usually do longer, more decently written "reviews" of local art shows, but i'm in a hurry tonight)

...saw two shows tonight - Jeff Tady at Saint Ambrose University's Morrisey Gallery, and Michael Johnson at Saint Ambrose University's Catich Gallery. it's funny that as someone who normally champions an acceptance of raw-er, less traditional art over more traditional artistic endeavor, I enjoyed the latter show much more than the former.

Jeff had some collages of a lot of 60s and 70s popular culture references in print media such as comics and newspapers, intermixed with a bunch of space imagery that even culled from recent missions such as the recent trek to Saturn's moons. It really wasn't my thing at all - lots of extreme repetition; no piece stood out as different in any way to me, and I got bored rather quickly. if anyone out there sees the show and has a different, more positive experience, please post your thoughts to give some balance. unfortunately, i can't find any images to share.

Michael had a lot of large photographs that actually knocked my socks off. i'm not normally a fan of straight photography, but i think the artist's subject matter (person-less landscapes, largely of the Midwest and the Southwest) and approach (old-school 5x7 straight shooting w/ not much, if any at all, darkroom reworking) won me over. a very handsome show. give it a look-see if you get a chance.

here's an image sample for you:

Windmill and Willow, IL, 2007

All Photography ©
Copyright Michael Johnson Photography
1974 -- 2008

Bloom Plantation, SC, 2001

All Photography ©
Copyright Michael Johnson Photography
1974 -- 2008

there you have it.

here's some fugazi.

enjoy your weekend.

you wanted everything
you needed everything

Monday, September 8, 2008

MK Ultra, Chicago Hardcore

fifteen years ago i was in a hardcore band that wasn't very good, but that didn't affect us having shows with some decent bands from all over the country. one of my favorite hardcore/punk/whatever bands we opened up for wasn't from terribly far away - chicago - and i thought i'd post some new videos of theirs i found on youtube.

MK Ultra did the angry, loud, distorted, screaming, fast, political thing pretty damn well. and, as i sit back and think about their shows, i realize jeff jelen was one of my favorite guitarists to watch. i have only a few friends who enjoy this type of thing, but to us it typifies what we like most out of the punk music we listen to - it's extremely angrily emotive. it never tried to be flashy or had any group-chant choruses; it was more of a visceral purging of sorts — a "jesus christ the world is a mess and i can't effing stand it" vomiting of emotion. songs about self-reflection in one's early/mid twenties, songs about the two-facedness of some of our american policies (versus our stated ideals), even personal songs about an alcoholic parent. i'm sounding like a complete moron trying to explain why i love these guys so much, so i'll stop and post the vids, with lyrics after the link.

MK Ultra (chicago)
at the More Than Music festival somewhere in Ohio, 1998

the fucking student council is climbing the corporate ladder
and the former cheerleading captain is squeezing out kids

but i'm a failure?
and i'm a fuckup?
i refuse to compromise
i won't succumb to normal life

how do you define success? is it a house-wife and kids?
life is more than a paycheck and a clean credit check

i'm a failure
and i'm a fuckup
maybe i am still a little lost
it just seems like it's all passed.. passed me by

fuck your cookie cutter existance
i may never live up to my potential
but i can always say i stood by my convictions
can you say the same?

this video starts with the same song i just posted above, but the two songs afterwards were noteworthy to me.

at Fireside Bowl, chicago, probably 1996 or 97 (i honestly may have been at this show... can't remember)

it's just another lie
shoved down your fucking throat
white tan models, tan white teeth,
this is freedom? i want to scream 'Yeeagghh!!!'
you'll never be welcome here
unless you're addicted to the american dream
i want to scream 'Yeeagghh!!!'

Lleno de gusto!

under... control... you'll never pull yourself up your
mind... numbed... you'll never see it coming
body... broken... you'll never even fight it with your
spirit... shackled... you'll never raise your voice in protest

and you'll never quit until your' fucking dead.


once upon a time the irish were the dogs
and so much slag for the melting pot
'their eyes leap with cruelty insanity and crime' ***
alas, the country's memory is cut short
and second and third generations
swallow the same nativist bile that killed their ancestors

i'm sick of this 'wall off the country' shit.
unless you're a native american you're a hypocrite.
a homogenized culture of stolen names
and someone convenient to take the blame.

*** attorney general of the united states A Mitchell Palmer, 1919.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

ridiculous wind-blown nonsense machine at Bucktown Arts Raw Space

well folks, here it is:

the show is not quite open, so Terry and Steve do not have their pieces fully installed yet. I will shoot & upload more video when they are finished.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

upcoming art shows in the QCs

there are some things in the works for both myself and some friends, and i thought i'd give a heads-up on them since some things open in a month or so.

first, a group exhibit featuring the work of Steve Banks, Heidi Hernandez, Jeff Tady, and Terry Rathje. this show runs from october 5th through november 21st, at Quad City Arts in rock island. in a way, this is a thematic presentation - the pieces shown are all part of a quasi- exquisite corpse, meaning that each painting shown is a piece done by two of the artists. steve explained that each artist will pair up twice with one other artist to make paintings (making each artist a part of six paintings). i've seen a few of the pieces in steve's studio, and things look pretty good.

next, there's a group show at Midcoast Fine Arts @ Bucktown. steve, terry, and i will be combining our noggins with Saint Ambrose professor of music Bill Campbell for an oddball idea called Mechanical Advantage.

for this, we're all stepping far, far, FAR outside our comfort zones and making – for lack of better words – kinetic sculpture. it might be more apt to say we're going to make nonsense machines - completely cheap-ass, ridiculous contraptions that – at their heart – are simple machines (levers, wheels, pulleys, etcetera). the only thing i've really constructed to far is a wind-blown paddle wheel that has camshafts coming off of both sides of the axle. these camshafts will make things move and will hit items for musical tones, and also on the end of one side is a painting that gets dipped into a gallon of paint over and over again. yes, i'm completely stealing from Roxy Paine:

Roxy Paine
a finished canvas produced by PMU (Painting Manufacturing Unit)

that exhibit opens at the end of the month. yeah... we're not ready.

last but not least, the group show i've helped organize has indeed been accepted for a two month slot at the Figge Art Museum's Arts Cafe space. all the involved artists are excited about this opportunity. the show runs from october 5th through november 21st, with an opening reception on Halloween. here's the poster i came up with:

click on the image for a larger view, and to read the fine print of the story behind the exhibit.

that's it. it's going to stay a bit quieter around here for a while. little amelia is due to enter our world in early october, and i'm sure i'm going to be head over heels in love with her, not wanting to write much or make much art for a few months.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

collaborative show in T-minus one month

throughout the next month, i will be collaborating with several quad city artists and musicians on an installation / environment / event / "happening" that will use a portion of the Bucktown Arts Center as its venue. because this is so last-minute, this run in early september probably going to be a prototype for a more finished environment that we propose a year or so from now.

our little group:

Terry Rathje: sculptor, installation-er, professor at Western Illinois University, all-around good guy and bringer of delicious sweet corn.

Steve Banks: painter. didn't you hear? also, maker of mean flatbread pork fajitas.

Bill Campbell: composer, professor at Saint Ambrose University, film scorer. very musically intelligent. brings nothing but his own gatorade to the party.

i'll keep the small audience here posted as to what transpires. the overall piece might bring in backlit scrims that have low-tech animations of light projections, art-making/musical contraptions that beg for audience involvement, small-motor moving "scenery" and a bunch of other ideas. as you can see, it's difficult to explain, so think Ann Hamilton meets Rube Goldberg meets... a Pink Floyd show. a reception for the exhibit and a one-night special audience-participatory party goes down sometime in September. keep your eyes peeled.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

new painting: Hyzenthlay

well, i think it's finished.
click on either image for a larger 12x9 view.

44 x 44 inches
oil on canvas
© Matt Pulford 2008

hyzenthlay (detail)
44 x 44 inches
oil on canvas
© Matt Pulford 2008


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Steve Banks: Artist, Davenport Iowa

enough about me. let's talk about Steve Banks.

66 x 40 inches

(click on any images for a larger view)

i first met steve in downtown davenport a little over a year ago, as i was attending an arts party for a performance festival my wife had a hand in running. we got to chatting about being artists, and he struck me as someone a bit more informed than most other area artists. steve was actually in mid-conversation with one of his buyers, and was preparing to show the gentleman new work at his studio. he offered that i join in, so we all went for a walk of about three blocks to check things out.

the invigorating feeling of walking downtown late at night in the humid air of the late spring was mixing with the alcohol i had been drinking. i was starting to feel like i was back in chicago, meandering from gallery to gallery. i was excited to hang out with these peeps, because it seemed to me like really interesting visual artists had moved to the QCs during the time i was away. that feeling was further strengthened when i walked into steve's studio. steve rents out a space above a downtown business (that might not even be open anymore), and the place looks like what an artist's studio should look like. the stairs that lead up to his space are shoddy and uncomfortable, the walls are peeling paint, and there's shit everywhere. it's perfect.

70 x 48 inches

86 x 65 inches

after spending a good amount of time looking at a lot of work that night, and after having seen even more since then at area shows, i've become a big fan of steve's style. if one must categorize, his oeurve seems to have three different realms:

first, there are pieces that are straight painting. these pieces stand out from others rather easily, because there our obvious physical differences from the rest. simply stated, these would be paintings on canvas - sometimes with wacky, complex, wooden frames (check out "The Priestess" directly above).

next, there are pieces that are conglomerations of found objects, usually placed within some sort of a standard rectangular composition - a fixed frame, if you will. these found objects are almost always toys/remnants from the seventies and eighties — be it GI Joe™ figurines or Muscle Men™ — and they are spray painted to an almost monochromatic oneness. think louise nevelson's organization fetish meeting keith haring's or kenny scharf's sense of play and fun.

finally, there are hybrid painting-sculptural apparatuses. these have a similar look as the first "straight painting" category, but actually have a lot of 3D forms built into the framework. there are sewn bridges being traipsed and goofy puppet heads doing their thing (check out "...Mr Bombastico" at the very bottom of this post).

i tend to be drawn more to the first and third bodies of work, so i'll talk about one of my favorites before i wrap it up. check out "Carnival" - the painting i placed at the very top of this post. the artist has drawn up a narrative that you can almost follow like the page of a novel:

- a totem with a skyscraper headdress offers up a big mac, fries, and a cola ala some sort of magic "what do you want?" machine that Bender would conjure up in his abdomen and serve with the ding of an easy bake oven.

- some sort of many-footed creature marches towards the offering with gusto, and i can't help but think it looks like Ned Flanders (so of course, i think that's fucking cool).

- little ginger-bread fellas teeter back and forth on the roof of a classical-style building, their stylized wangs hanging out for all to see.

- a tiny little observatory watches the entire scene unfold, while hundreds of homogenized, soul-less "people" keep getting churned out by "the machine" (don't ask...).

so... this is what goes on in steve's creative inward eye, and i love it.

what do you think? take a look at the other images i've posted, and really sit and look. pay attention to his use of color. keep an eye out for interesting things going on in his custom, labor-intensive frames. and if you'd like to see more, go here:
Steve banks on The Art Feed.


66 x 30 inches

Barbarians at the Gate
66 x 48 inches

The Fantastico Mr Bombastico
60 x 35 inches