“Art School” Explained
“Art School” is often not about “art” and not about “school,” but about the ways people who are artists find their way to making what they need to make, either via teaching themselves, each other, or learning through some kind of institution. However they discover who they are and what they are supposed to make, this process seems to be about finding ways to convey what’s always been inside their brains and souls in the first place, externalizing and visualizing identity, ideas, obsessions. These 5 artists are completely disparate in age and other differences (including educational access), and even though they work through a wide variety or styles and approaches, their art and practices share a sense of both playfulness and seriousness, stylishness and succinctness.
These Are the Artists in “Art School”
Clint Basinger is an artist from Owensboro, KY. Now living in Covington, where he co-runs the Pique Art Gallery, with Lindsey Whittle, Annie Brown, and Noel Maghathe. Clint was an art major at Murray State University. After college, while living on the family farm, he taught himself to write and draw comic books. He has created over 30 comic books, under his company Cosmic Moustache Comics. In Clint’s recent work, he’s taking old family photos, and adding to their story. The old Polaroids of family stories and legends are given new energy and new life.
“Everything. I want them to see everything.” –Curtis Davis
The unifying forces in Curtis Davis’ work are immediacy and joy. He produces art daily at Visionaries and Voices studios daily committed to a painting process and routine. His impulse to make art results in an abundance of new paintings and drawings produced daily. In the case of drawings, they are made quickly, intuitively, and with recurring symbols. Paintings typically take no more than two days to complete. Sculptures are covered in a layer of fresh paint everyday but continue to be re-worked for months or years. New objects are added and then paint applied on top. Over time, the objects lose their meaning in the layers of paint and become echoes, replaced by the sheer physicality and weight of paint. When asked at what time he considers a sculpture finished he always replies “when it’s done.” His personal simplicities on life combined with his use of everyday materials create a wonderfully poignant body of work that is always growing.
Malik Harris, 16 years old, is a Cincinnati Public high school Junior at Hughes High School’s Zoo Academy. He is the youngest son of mother Kelly Isham, grandson of Theresa Mosley, with older brothers Andre, Zion, and Ron. An accomplished musician, Malik has been active for a number of years with the Music Resource Center-Cincinnati. He a member of both the Hughes High School Drum Line and the Cincinnati Stars Drum Line. Malik is first and foremost an artist, an interest he has been pursuing since he was a very young child.
The leisurely act of floating in the pool turned into an unconscious study of color and form. Confronted with a gridded ceiling of lights, the repetitive architectural structure was initially the point of attention but quickly moved to the afterimage that lingered behind closed eyes. This optic reaction became the focal point of curiosity, exploring the uncertain space of sight when one continues to see when the eyes are closed. Disparate gradients of color are sourced from memory and tied to specific moments in time and space, from a makeup palette to a dinner date’s dress. The paintings depict a reoccurring motif of imperfect modular units overlaid on a textured field of thickly applied paint. The images that linger when the field of vision have supposedly come to an end are formless and temporally obscure, which recall properties of painterly abstraction. -Sso-Rha Kang More information: www.arvindsundar.com
Balloons have an inclination to bring about positive associations; relating to celebratory times, memories of innocence, and the idea of total freedom. There may be negative undertones arising from the presence of these objects, they are fragile, and their ultimate emptiness can result in emotions that revolve around loss and apathy. They are ephemeral objects that are constant but also unpredictable. Depending on another for their creation but in due time choosing their own demise, whether that be the ending of their created purpose, their own sudden decision of departure, or simply by having time take its toll. The human life-cycle is similar. The balloons are contradictory objects, double-archetypes. They take up space but are ultimately empty, they symbolize freedom but still eventually relinquish life, bringing us joy when present but heartache when they escape our grasp.
My work re configures an object that is defenseless and frail, changing it into something with permanence and fortitude. Relating to experiences where one was emotionally damaged, and in-turn built walls or defense mechanisms to protect oneself from further harm. This was achieved by translating the objects form, a balloon, into a new material, bronze or plaster, and replacing volume with mass – through the various steps of pouring, mold making, wax work, casting, tig welding, finishing, and polishing. These processes are used in my work to explore questions regarding time, development, vigor, impermanency, and vulnerability. For instance, taking a balloon and casting it out of bronze transforms the object that is temporary and makes it permanent. Also, the extensive process involved starts with an initial form that becomes completely lost but then undergoes its own evolution from its emergence to completion. Inherently, balloons are fragile temporary objects that exist in space only when one has the intention for them to do so. When doing this it creates a connection between the balloon and the person or thing that brought it to life. The action of blowing up a balloon, or any inflatable, I see as a process of growth, release, rebirth, and transference. Starting with breathing in which gives life then exhaling to discharge what brings us life and pass it onto something else. Humans relate to inflatables; breathing in to prime oneself, giving life, optimism, and posterity. Then exhaling, which symbolizes a release of life, coming of death. This simple performance creates a connection by relinquishing a past part of yourself and instilling it into something else that one can physically touch, see, and manipulate in space. Without the balloon as a vessel this piece of us becomes lost and completely irrelevant. By casting these objects in bronze or plaster, I am trying to monumentalize a previously temporary object that will outlive time and carry on the connection that I personally had with it.