Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What I'm Working On

These are some photographs that I took yesterday with my trusty little digital camera of a painting project I've been working on for some time now.  I'm remaking a series of paintings that I finished more than ten years ago about the artist and writer David Wojnarowicz.  I've posted about that earlier series before.
In this version, I'm making him a little less of a martyr and more of an artist and adventurer.

Some of these paintings are finished and others are not yet.

Painting David.  

I never met the man, but here I am painting him.

The Green Pterodactyl.

David Wojnarowicz was a regular at the West Side piers, a now destroyed ruin that was for decades a gay cruising area.  He painted many works of the walls that were all destroyed when the piers were torn down.  He painted at least one large painting of pterodactyl there.

What Is This Little Guy's Job in the World?

I can never get the colors to come out right whenever I photograph this painting.  I'll have to wait for my professional photographer Steven Bates to get these colors right.

This painting is based on this text by Wojnarowicz:

What is this little guy's job in the world.  If this little guy dies does the world know?   Does the world feel this?  Does something get displaced?  If this little guy dies does the world get a little lighter?  Does the planet rotate a little faster?  If this little guy dies, without his body to shift the currents of air, does the air flow perceptibly faster?  What shifts if this little guy dies?  Do people speak language a little bit differently?  If this little guy dies does some little kid somewhere wake up with a bad dream?  Does an almost imperceptible link in the chain snap?  Will civilization stumble?

Krazy Kat Landscape

This painting is not finished and will undergo a lot of changes.

David Wojnarowicz traveled frequently in the west, usually by hitchhiking or hopping freight trains.  In later years, he drove a motorcycle out to the western desert which he loved.  He said that the desert reminded him of the background landscapes in George Herriman's comic strip Krazy Kat from 1913 to 1944.  Wojnarowicz was a big fan of Krazy Kat, and quoted that cartoon strip frequently in his paintings.

David Acts Up

This painting is also unfinished and still has to go through several changes.

David was active in ACT UP, and took part in many ACT UP actions, including stopping traffic as in this painting.

Here is a life study for a future painting in the series.

Here is the same model, the same pose, in pencil.

My messy studio


it's margaret said...

Thank you for sharing this -love this.

JCF said...

Thanks for the update, Doug. Interesting stuff!

Kittredge Cherry said...

What great new art! You might not like to hear this, but I feel your paintings actually exceed the work of David Wojnarowicz. The colors of “Krazy Kat Landscape” are gorgeous. It looks like my idea of Neal Cassady in Kerouac’s “On the Road,” another favorite book of mine in the 1970s.

It’s fun to see your studio. I’m pleased to see some Passion paintings on the wall, especially “Jesus Rises,” which is one of my personal favorites. I’m glad it hasn’t disappeared into oblivion in the hands of an unknown collector.

Counterlight said...

I'm a fan of Wojnarowicz's art, though I wouldn't make extravagant claims for it. He's not a great artist like deKooning was a great artist. But he was a good artist.

I think he fascinates me more than his art. He was quite a character and quite a writer. His diaries and journals are marvelous to read.