Anthony, tell us a little bit about your art practice. What are your artistic concerns? My ultimate concern is transcribing some truth or something human. The hope is that through attempting to touch into something that honestly hits a nerve for me, others will respond and relate.
The primary driving force leading my work is the figure, though I don’t view any painting a portrait. Instead I try to focus in on themes like ephemerality. The figures and the events are transitory.
The subjects of your portraits seem lost in thought and silence; where do you find inspiration for your subjects? Are they painted from life? There are a variety of sources- although I try to think of them as the same. Found photographs from my family, photographs I take myself, and images pulled from the internet.
I do not paint from life. It’s important to me to remove as much of the factors that I believe get in the way of the concepts as possible. I don’t want to have to focus on whether something is in perspective or if some proportions are correct. And worse than that would be letting style enter that stage. It would be horrible to be known for having a distinctive way of drawing noses, for example. All of that takes the focus away from the crux of the piece.
A feature of your paintings, which make them so interesting and beautiful, is the broad brush strokes, which almost abstract the portraits by fracturing them into different colours. Would you say this is intentional or do the visible brushstrokes hold a different meaning to you? The pieces dictate what happens and I respond. Some of the most ‘abstracted’ pieces I have done began as tightly rendered. I try to stay on my toes- that’s an important state to be in while creating. So to me, it’s exciting to play with the paint and see where mistakes lead.
Your drawing work is exclusively in black and white, while your paints are so brightly coloured. Why such a contrast? My drawings are mainly parts of series which are later printed in zines. Readability is the most important factor there. That being said, I’m interesting in trying to bridge the gap between the two very disparate modes and I have some experiments the internet will never see.
As well as your drawings and paintings, you’ve made a number of zines such as Soft Static, do you approach these works differently? Soft Static was a foray into sequential art, but I won’t continue making the following issues. When I was working on the second, I realized that I was seeing sequences and hearing music, and it made no sense to limit myself to simply drawing. I’m currently working on a screenplay for the entire series and hope to make it into a film.
The other zines I work on are the context I prefer my drawings to be seen in, giving each other weight and structure through association.
Finally, what are your current projects and plans for 2012? With Kris Mukai, I created a zine which features our work along with Garrett Young, Chris Nosenzo, and Bridget Collins. It’s called Slow Youth, and we are going to have a launch party at the end of March. I have a new zine myself that I’m about to print with several new drawings.
Other than that, I want to make a lot of paintings and short films and go to Europe!