By Jimmy Angelina
Editor’s Note: This post concludes our series featuring KMAC Triennial artists. The KMAC Triennial, on view through December 1, 2019, brings together twenty artists who spent formative years in Kentucky. Comprised of artworks that preserve certain traditions like weaving, crocheting, drawing, painting, and ceramics, the Triennial also includes the newer territories of conceptual photography, video, sound, installation and performance.
I’ll admit here, at the outset:I’m not particularly adept at explicating my work (I always like to open with an apology). Regardless, I’ll have a go at discussing some of the influences and impetuses that fuel it.
Primarily, I’m after moods and emotions in my drawings, in a vaguely abstracted sense,tied to the ways in which human beings dance around each other, trying to connect and communicate. Often failing, yet---miraculously---sometimes not!
Anyway---let me put a cork in my weak attempts to be florid. I’ll try to expound a bit further, and more plainly. Ever since I was a kid, movies were just about all I was interested in (with books and music running close). I started drawing at a young age, mostly to have a medium through which to live my enthusiasms all over again (like, after a movie, I’d do a drawing based on said movie, as you do). As I got older, and more into visual art as well, my drawings opened out into that arena. However, the film influence never left. I don’t know how it could have.
I initially went to college in my hometown of Chicago to study filmmaking. I won’t bore you (or me, or...us!) with the details, but I only lasted one term before transferring to Bennington College in Vermont and switching my major to sculpture/drawing (after a brief detour as a very maladroit literature major). Anyway---I learned a lot from, and was greatly inspired by, my fellow students. A very dynamic, eclectic group.
My work opened up a lot and I experimented (stumbled around) with new forms/formats in my work. My stuff was/is figurative, as humans and their myriad weirdnesses and vulnerabilities and scuffed beauty is my main interest. I often use abstract forms as a bridge from the figurative elements to something a bit more amorphous---as an analogue to the way memory and dreams occupy a hazier plane than concrete reality. Or something like that.I like the emotional aspect of memories and dreams, and am always trying to evoke a sense of that in my drawings. It’s what appeals to me in movies, too.o, in my work, I’m trying to combine all this, basically trying to direct my own montages, on paper.
The work in the KMAC Triennial is a much more streamlined and focused version of what I’ve been doing---influenced, I’m sure, by work I did over the last couple of years with my co-author, Wyatt Doyle, on THE LAST COLORING BOOK and THE LAST COLORING BOOK ON THE LEFT, two volumes of semi-satirical (or not?) adult coloring books based around cult, obscure and classic movies (which led, in a nice full-circle way, movie/drawing-wise, to me providing illustrations for documentarian Danny Garcia’s film, Rolling Stone: Life and Death of Brian Jones).
Anyway---when it came to the new work for the Triennial, I found that the black and white idiom I’d used for the books served well what I was looking to achieve. The new work feels, to me, like one big drawing/movie, in separate bits/scenes. What stories it tells are up to the viewer.