Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Show (Creative Process)

(Acrylic paint, india ink and gesso on 6" x 9" latex paper)

This painting combines my 1980’s childhood and teenage memories of a violent, gritty, gaudy and decadent Times Square in New York with my “grown-up” reflections on the so-called underworld of sex, outcasts, masquerade, stereotypes and exploitation.


I started this painting with no set intention and and completed a draft of it which you can see below. I left it in this state for awhile thinking I had finished it, though I felt unsatisfied. I contemplated this painting for a few days and wrote about it until, to my surprise, the New York Times Square imagery opened up and I began to weave it into the overall work. As with most of my work, I created this painting with acrylic paint and india ink.

On writing about a painting I've created:

A lot of the writing I do for a painting, in order to understand it more deeply, comes in the form of stream of consciousness and poetry. This approach works very well for me because much of my work comes out of dreams and visions I've had or are currently experiencing. A lot of what I write seems very disconnected from what I've actually created but after ahwile it begins to come together and feel more meaningful to me. It is not always easy to create something from an unconscious place and then try to make sense of it. I've wrestled with this for awhile and decided that it's best to experience what I've created, enter into it and then try to integrate it into a framework that eventually I can accept.

On writing about this particular painting, "The Show"

There is a particular kind of corrupt innocence with which I look at the world which makes paintings like this one fairly cathartic to me. I am facinated by masks, puppets and puppeteers and look back on those waning days of the "real" Times Square with a disturbing nostalgia for the overwhelming presence of peep shows, drug dealers, addicts, arcades, homeless people, filthy movie theaters and prostitutes. Who wasn't a puppet back then? Who's not a puppet right now? And why would anyone actually miss those days in New York and long for them again? What's so wonderful about prostitution, poverty, sex addiction and drug addiction? I guess that depends on who you ask. In truth, although this city took great strides to hide these "undesirables" they still exist - in us and among us. That's why so many people come from around the world to catch just one whiff of what Times Square was before Disney did to it what it did to Grimm's Fairy Tales. Well, for me those days in New York haven't gone away they've simply been driven deeper underground. Times Square was to many people what the internet is now. But to think that the Times Square of today as merely just a wonderful, safe and clean place for tourists with their children to visit and enjoy amuses me because the notion is merely another affectation and mask. [Whew! There goes my native New Yorker cynicism again. At least I'm smiling :) ]


pg said...

so many layers and levels of artistry here. beautiful.

Tiffany (Bassagirl) said...

Thank you, pg!