by jbyron

New painting. It’s big. 48 inches, square – that’s 4 feet – or 1.2’ish meters for my overseas peeps.

Normally, i type all this exposition before getting to the work. But you know what, for those that just want to see the painting without all my indecipherable ramblings – this is for you:


Now feel free to stop reading anytime. I waste my own time with this blog, it would be selfish to waste yours. Moving on…

I’ve explained before why i often use text in my paintings and i’m not going to get into it now – suffice it to say that i am a child of the ad age and i expect artwork to sell me on something, even if it’s an abstract idea open to my own interpretation. And what better way to do this than language? But another reason i use text and numbers in my paintings is due to the influence of graffiti. Not so much in style but the medium itself. I really like it when you can see the nomenclature from a train car, the numbers and such that signify which train car it is (i assume) peeking out from behind the bold colors of someone’s tag.

So after nearly finishing the piece above, which i call BRAWLERS because of the ruff and tumble appearance of our featured players, i still felt like it was missing something. Plus, and this is the real reason, the guy’s hand just looked like a muddled mess and i needed to find a way to hide it. So the whole thing had a vintage, romanticized gangster feel about it. I thought maybe i would retrofit it with some ideas about the Kray twins but that seemed a bit trendy. So i started looking up criminal slang from the 30’s to the 50’s. One thing led to another and i ended up on a short story about 2 criminals called “the killers” written by Hemingway. In it was the line i used on the painting, which if you can’t read it off the less than spectacular photo above, it reads “We’re killing him for a friend. Just to oblige a friend, bright boy.” I thought it fit. And there you have it.

Too much information? Here’s some more…

This painting, as you can see, involves a bit of realism, which is something i normally stay away from. i most always compile my work in a computer before i ever get to the canvas. And in doing so, i always tweak colors or turn photos into simple stencils, etc – various things that go the other direction, away from realism. This is going to read like a very limited perspective, so understand that i will deny  it if you ever call me on it, but i’ve always been like, “if you want realism, take a photo.” But really, that more applies to photo-realism and what we have here is me simply using the natural color palette from the original photo and nothing more. I mean, brush strokes and juvenile technical ability still firmly in check. The reason is that when i did my initial photo composite, using the original photo (which i stole from the world wide web – come and get me), i liked it as is. And that rarely happens so i went with it. I mean, i made it my own. I cut another figure out. I changed the background entirely. But the muted color palette along with the lime circle 5 just worked for me. And why a 5? Because my last painting (see below) had a 4 in it. Duh.

Speaking of that previous painting. I’ve decided i don’t much care for it. Or rather, i like it, but i don’t think it reflects my sensibilities enough. This might be artsy ego stuff, but i need the work i put into the world to project enough of myself that the signature doesn’t feel like a forgery. So i’ve decided that if it doesn’t sell at the next showing (this thursday here in beautiful monroe), i’m painting over it. So basically, i’m painting over it.

This painting and the soon-to-be-destroyed STRUGGLE will be on display at the next crawl this thursday where i’ll also be selling my smash-hit, soon to be a major motion picture, book – ROBERT. Hope to see you there. And take it from me, don’t believe everything you read, kids.

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