i started painting when i was 14 and continued until i was 21. my approach to the medium alternated between furrow-browed intensity and casual play. i was a severe young person.
i developed a crisis of meaning related to how communicative or important i imagined those canvases could be (not very). then there was the issue of fitting a post-studio lifestyle in with egg tempera and yards of rough fabrics. painting was closed-in and locked down. the surrounding discourse didn't help: it seemed obsessed with material and structure to the point of being autistic, but also over-invested in a trivial history of the medium. or perhaps it was the other way around, that i was not successful in making myself care.
at 22 i began the flight to other mediums, nations and realms online. this was a fruitful escape. i did not return to the easel. however, a certain way of seeing persisted. looking for light and contour, often over content. i began to draft more seriously in photoshop.
nu painting is a game. a blank 40cmx60cm 300 dpi .psd file is a level terrain. layers are added and blank spots are filled with textures, 3d objects, faux-3d effects, simulated bruhsstrokes, colors and formless forms. the resulting file is stashed in a folder until a print has been ordered (chromaluxe or dye-sublimation). when the order has been placed the file is deleted.
the original file is sacrificed in order to create value. the printed matter now has a chance of attaining the status of a unique art object. nu painting becomes an old medium.
"ON NU PAINTING""
On an idea level Nu Painting is not innovative or news-worthy. Artist groups like Poster Company and PaintFx have exhausted the novelty of the gesture. The pseudoawkward abstract digital painting that reflects on its own failure to simulate (/ is nostalgic and knowing in its failure) has been introduced as a possible move years ago and has led to a dead end. To continue executing this move might be questionable and unoriginal.
I’m interested in how this treaded practice could be linked to a biography. It doesn’t make sense with the other work that I’m doing. There are several artists inhabiting the same biological person. One of the artists wants to be a careless/carefree bro that produces desireable objects for fairs. Some of the other artists would oppose. I toggle between several playing styles. Sometimes I’m a moralist. Then I drop my Samsung Galaxy S4 into a toilet at the club and wish I had more resources and more fun.
Lately I’ve been trying to judge less and observe more. In the best cases making is a form of observation. Making the Nu Paintings feels very internal, it’s close to me. I was bed-ridden when I started. I was afraid of death and craved gloss and color. Screen-glow at 4 am.
From the outside the paintings look like a calculated move, an unthinking and unfeeling one. How to match the internal to the external? How to be genuine and to also be understood as that? It feels good to be late to the game and to be a plagiarist. It feels good when people come to a show and express disappointment, if only in body language. They expected more of me. In their minds I had potential.
There are three blocks of ice cream in the vitrine. Synthetic dreadlocks in bright colors support the melting blobs. This matches the viewers’ sense of deflation. I feel free, the radar is off me again. I’m not a critical thinker. I’m not a “good artist".
I started writing about how I want to explore physical materials colliding with the virtual, what happens to a file when it’s printed and exhibited in the gallery space, but I’m not actually interested in that at all, not in those bla bla bla terms. I want to make objects that are compelling. It hardly matters how I get there. I want things that have aura, prints that are beings. I want to: Get money / fuck bitches.
Post Internet (or whatever the label would be) is not interesting on a conceptual level. Documents being manipulated and distributed, circulation is hardly a concept, to point that out is not new. What’s interesting is the shady, flimsy part: visual tropes that travel as memes. The mimicry, the ripping off, the style, in the knowing-who-you-are-and-not-giving-a-damn sense. Or maybe it’s not-knowing-who-you-are-and-being-desperate-to-please, that’s interesting too. It’s about data organized in a satisfying manner. I think Beckett said something about beauty being all in the form, probably a lot of people said that. Things that look good are good. All images have the same value.
People talk about branding, their brands, their brand strategies, and I agree, that is interesting, but then I also think that I don’t want to be a brand like an emerging fashion label would, the interesting ones are Ikea or H&M or something, brands that morph and self-contradict, umbrella brands that hold entire imitation worlds. Ikea looks at us like an alien would, then it churns out set designs that we live out of. Ikea is surprisingly critical.