Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the city of coffins

here is a new painting. like, a real one, with lots of paint everywhere especially on my face, wood panels, new brushes etc.
it was done atomic-speed, no more than one week and it's BIG. i am proud of this so let me make myself Pretty on that.
Let's see...the first idea came while i was reading a book, the tattoo artist by Jill Ciment, and the main character draws a portrait of new york made out of coffins in the place of buildings. i though it was a very smart idea and i though someone should make that drawing for real. i eventually decided that someone was me. so drew a skyline of coffins. then i really wanted some pink ocean because i think it's awesome. and clouds because really, it often storms. not in NY, just in general. and there are a lot of chemtrails too but that's for another painting.
that put me in the unfortunate position of coming to terms with myself on how to incorporate backgrounds in the making of a picture. you can easily notice, there is NEVER a background in my pieces. always blank flat tone, maybe some wallpaper if i feel creative. truth being, i don't know where to start with backgrounds because i have no perspective skills or vague idea on how to paint a tree without drawing every single leaf. but this time i tried, it's still very simple but the real character here is the setting and i've never done anything like that before. the focus was always on the action or the character or both.
i think it came out nice as a first attempt.
i also always wanted to make a painting based on Le Citta' Invisibili (the invisible cities) by calvino. i wrote down on my notebook "Despina", which is one of the cities, while i was reading it. I was in costa rica at the time and i don't even remember which one Despina is, but i think it was a city of memories and i apparenlty liked it and wanted to retain some of it when i wrote it down, so i trusted myself and didn't go read what the city looks like. but i will. being a city of memories (i hope) it marries with the all Tattoo theme from the other book. i wanted some graphic elements and i love letters so i just wrote the name of Despina in type breezing away from the coffins. I also wrote L'Absurde L'amour but I don't remember why. It still triggers good means.
The skeleton is a self-portrait, it has my tattoos and is reading The Tattoo Artist. It's the last skeleton i paint, i promise. In the book there was also the idea of getting your own coffin tattooed etc. so i thought i would put myself in my own coffin in my own painting.
I had a lot of fun drawing and painting coffins. I love doing the wood texture and you get to experiment a lot and always have to figure out different ways to get to the same effect without being boring and repetitive. I found myself with my head facing the floor from close distance at yoga and i REALLY observed the wood texture and got ideas on how to paint the last two since i had no more ideas for it. I always had a problem with the color brown, i can't ever make it work or at least i have to struggle with it a lot. it is not an opaque color but not even vibrant so it drives me inZZZZane when i try to understand it. i mixed brown with a bunch of other colors, to make all the coffins different. some with pink, baby blue, rotted green etc.
finally, in the right bottom corner, i wrote the title in a black outlined square and stamped a weird bunny head with a stamp i got in london. i am currently into japanese prints and love those graphic solutions.

i will put it in a show at limited no art gallery in milan, opening may 5th. come and check it out in person. or not.

another painting coming soon. a tribute to amelia (RIP), you'll see. there is a lot of fun going on.


cheap pain said...

" I also wrote L'Absurde L'amour but I don't remember why."

haha! funny!

I like this one very much. love the colors. It makes me want to be there. same feeling I get when I look at the drawings in where the wild things are. It kinda reminds me of that, not the style, something else, maybe the sea. I don`t know.

thomas pitilli said...

This is really nice, I love all the different textures. I think this would make a really nice postcard.

cherry grenade said...

thank you! luca, you are right in your desire to enter the picture. I WAS in there and it was weirdly pleasant. I also like the parallel with where the wild things are, it never occurred to me but now im proud!
Tom, i was in fact thinking of making a postcard out of this!