“We want happy paintings. If you want sad things, watch the news.” – Bob Ross
“People might look at you a bit funny, but it’s okay. Artists are allowed to be a bit different.”
Anybody ever have this happen to them? Every morning, you wake up and stumble to the full-length mirror, look at your reflection and wink, remarking to no one in particular, “Hot damn, you are one big ol’ mess of good-lookin’.” You even feel a bit guilty that you spend so much time working alone, depriving so many the chance to feast their eyes on a natural work of art. But at some point, you happen to see a recent photo of yourself, perhaps taken one night while out with some friends, and there you are, unrecognizable as that hunka hunka burnin’ love you’re used to ogling everyday. You see yourself in the photo, but you’re sporting a third chin and half of your hair has receded like the polar icecaps. To top it off, the fly of your a-bit-too-tight jeans is unzipped. You don’t remember getting sprayed in the face with a 32-ounce can of Done Got Old & Lazy, so you’re pretty certain that a) the lighting must have been dreadful, surely, or b) it was the fault of the sh✝✝✝y photographer. Either way, now you can’t help seeing yourself in a different way and examining things under a different light.
“We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents.”
I started making these short videos so that I could pretend like I was Bob Ross from The Joy of Painting. I’d take a picture every so often while working on a painting, thinking that I could show peeps how to lay down some paint. I worked on growing my ‘fro real big and offered seemingly random yet strangely wise tidbits aloud while I worked, just like Bobby Ross did. Eventually, I realized that a) I’m a star and b) the digital image on the camera allowed me to see the painting in a different way. The camera flattened the image bringing out different aspects of the painting that I never noticed while working on it. Perhaps a face was lopsided, maybe more contrast was needed between background and foreground. I wouldn’t have paid attention had I not seen the painting differently. That’s what these short videos have become – a way for me to reexamine a piece of work and allow my eyes to really see what’s standing in front of them. Staring at a painting all day is a lot like looking at yourself in the mirror every morning. Sometimes you become blind to what’s in front of you and, despite what’s there, see only the sexy beast you’ve always seen.
“Well, the little clock on the wall says we’re just about out of time.”
These are two 30-second slide videos of The Artist, JJH and Rachel & the Idols from The Hunert Faces Project. From the pencil drawing to the finished product, they’re photos placed one atop another to make an old-school animated-type video. Check ’em out.
Oh, and one more thing. If you’re in Austin, Texas, during the month of May, I have some paintings hanging at Bennu along with a few other artists. As always, muchas gracias to Ree and Lowell Reynolds for making that happen.