Call & Response – Painting in New York

by Jeff

I am looking at older paintings and laughing at just how forlorn they are! It was a moody, introspective time in my life. Through my paintings, I was attempting to make something sincere that reflected my depression and acted as the visual equivalent of the melancholy synth-pop music that I love. Ten years later, I am relieved to be much happier and living on the West Coast.

Call and Response, 2006
Acrylic and glass beads on MDF
18″ x 20″

During the 2000s, my art featured “contained miniature landscapes”, informed by my conflicted feelings about growing up in Houston’s suburbs. I would paint benignly cute, expressionless birds or fish instead of people because I wanted the paintings to feel empty and post-human. My small trees and landscapes conformed to the shape of the containers, with roots, tendrils, and branches breaking out. I loaded my art with personal imagery like the Klein tool bag in this painting, which I toted around as my day bag for years. People would ask what I had in my bag, it was usually just a book and other mundane daily objects, but I thought it might be nice if my bag contained something truly magical like a little snowy landscape and a forlorn red bird. After deciding to paint my own bag of tricks, this was the result.

Click the video to hear the perfect synth-pop song.