Thursday, November 12, 2009

October 2009: Damon Ginandes in NYC

Damon Ginandes paints faces that linger in your mind long after the painting is gone. With their sullen eyes and gaunt cheeks, they haunt the streets they decorate. Today, Ginandes gives us a peek into the past and a hint about what lies ahead. He writes:
"I became interested in graffiti as a teenager in the early/mid '90's, and learned how to paint with a spray can doing pieces and characters now and then. But graffiti started to seem more and more stagnant and repetitive to me, so my interest waned. It wasn't until about five years ago, when there seemed to be a burst of new 'street art', that I really started paying attention again. At that time, I was primarily focused on my studio work. In 2007, however, I took on a commission to paint a 60 foot long mural on Degraw Street in Brooklyn – that project really rekindled my interest in large scale street work."
"I've been painting characters similar to the ones in my current work for quite a while, since my early teens. Of course my style has changed and developed since then, but that seemed to be a very formative period for me artistically. I had an art teacher at that time, a Holocaust survivor, who would incessantly paint glaring faces staring outwards and I must have absorbed part of her vernacular. Also, at that age I discovered such artists as Alberto Giacometti and Egon Schiele, and their influence is still apparent in my work. I am attracted to the distorted human figure -- faces and bodies elongated and interwoven with abstraction. Lately, my style has become a bit more angular, almost 'cubist'."
"I generally work by myself, though I'd love to collaborate more often. I don't have a favorite place to paint, but I prefer hard surfaces."
"A few years back, I was painting an abandoned factory alongside railroad tracks in Massachusetts in the dead of winter. There was probably a foot snow covering the ground so it was impossible to know what exactly was underneath your feet. At some point, I stepped back to take a look at my piece, and as my boot pressed down through the snow, I felt a shooting pain in my foot. I pulled it up and found a huge rusty spike sticking out of a piece of wood that had gone through my boot and right into the bottom of my foot. I was able to pull the spike out, but I could feel my boot fill up with blood. Luckily, I was painting with two friends who were able to get me to a hospital quickly. Tetnis shots ensued."
"I generally retreat to my studio when the weather gets colder, so I'll be generating a new body of studio work in the coming months. Check out my website and join my mailing list for updates on upcoming exhibitions and projects!"

Thanks, Damon! Stay warm indoors and we'll look forward to a new outdoor project in the spring.

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