The full American Civil War series is now on display at the Jalopy Theater here in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The show will be up until the end of January. Jalopy is located at 315 Columbia Street, between Hamilton Avenue and Woodhull Street.
Here are a couple photos of the installation:
Here are the first six paintings in a series of a dozen 12″ x 24″ portraits from the American Civil War era that I’m working on.
When I decided to embark on a series of portraits from the American Civil War, I really didn’t know that much about the history or the subjects of these paintings. I was drawn to the imagery. I wanted to paint the faces from this era, and I didn’t want to be bogged down by the political implications of the actions of these figures. I wasn’t going to just paint people who were on the politically correct side of the Civil War, or even people who were directly involved in this war. I simply wanted to make paintings of Americans from this time in history. There is something about the expressions on the faces of people from this era; they look angry, sad, scared, and beaten down. They also look resolved.
A lot of this, I realize, is due to the technology of this era. The astounding Mathew Brady took pretty much every portrait that is associated with this time, and I am certain that most–if not all–of the paintings in this series will be based on his work. Daguerreotype photography from this time utilized glass plates instead of film, and cameras relied on long exposures to capture enough light to produce an image. The subjects had to stay completely still for long periods of time, resulting in a portrait that is remarkably sharp yet ghost-like at the same time.
I find these images fascinating. I can’t stop staring at them. I read somewhere that many people from that period considered it impolite to stare at a daguerreotype portrait for long, and that makes perfect sense when I look at that image of General Sherman, or even the portrait of Brady himself. These photographs are unsettling, yet strangely compelling.
I’m not quite sure what the next six will be. I’m picking them out one or two at a time, as I go. I am contemplating painting this Brady portrait of Samuel Morse next, but then again I might have to throw myself in a volcano if I have to paint all the detail in that beard (oh but those medals would be fun). So if anyone out there wants to make a suggestion, I am wide open.
Mathew Brady and Sitting Bull in progress (4/12/12):
The awesome Overflow Magazine here in Brooklyn not only sent the wonderfully talented (and weird) Dale Eisinger over to do a fantastic article, but they also gave me the cover. hooray! I LOVE THIS MAGAZINE. Denizens of Brooklyn, look for it at all your local shops, bars, restaurants, hair salons, etc. (it’s everywhere, and it’s free)
Click for larger versions…
Well, this is nice. I’m the featured artist for the April 2012 Artist Spotlight in Professional Artist Magazine.
Click here if you’d rather see a PDF.
When Alex Battles asked me to do a big ol’ painting of Johnny Cash for the upcoming annual Johnny Cash Birthday Bash, all I could say was HELL YES. Not only is this annual show one of the best parties of the year, but you haven’t lived until you’ve seen the Whisky Rebellion tear through “Big River”.
I had a big roll of canvas that was the perfect size for this backdrop, which is a whopping 107″ wide by 70″ tall:
I can’t begin to say how much fun I had with this. The work went quickly and methodically, with a minimum of hair-pulling. I completed the entire thing in seven days.
I’m also going to be selling prints at the shows:
I did a limited edition of 50. Each print is 16″x20″, signed and numbered. If you want one, but can’t make the shows, email me and I will hook you up.
, new paintings
, Alex Battles
, Bell House
, Johnny Cash
, Johnny Cash Birthday Bash
, Whisky Rebellion