Has this ever happened to you? I was in Kreuzberg at a bar with some friends, and a guy spilled his wine on my favorite pair of pants. They’re pants I took from my dad’s old wardrobe from the 90s, and I love how loose they sit on my waist and legs. There’s definitely a bit of a stain on the side now, but like paintings, some guy spilling his wine is just part of the process. Painting is one of those things where you gotta let go of your ego for a second and trust that eventually things will work out. That process definitely had to play out for the piece I just finished. It took me about two months to complete. This is much longer than I would expect for something of this scale. The delay comes from a struggle I have been facing this semester, trying to fit everything in while still enjoying it. Of course, I have all of my classes, but I also want to keep up with my painting, and the improv comedy podcast that I direct and edit (https://anchor.fm/buttercups-and-moonbeams ). Plus, I still need time to enjoy Berlin, travel and meet new people. But on a positive note I’m staying in Berlin through the end of July to complete a course at Humboldt University, which will give me much more time to focus on creative pursuits in the summer. It’s been an interesting phenomenon to experience the omnipresent craving to create something while also just wanting to relax and enjoy the ride. At some point, something has to give, and for me, that has been my projects taking much longer than usual to complete.
The painting depicts my friend Clara sitting in a cozy jazz bar in Hackescher Markt on a Wednesday night, savoring the new experiences brought by Berlin. The city is a very grungy place. Much of the architecture and ways of life clash, but they are all surrounded by a calm pace of daily existence compared to a place like Boston, around where I grew up. Areas like Kotbusser Tor for example are entirely covered in debris and cigarette butts line the green spaces throughout the city. At the same time parties literally don’t stop during the weekend. Yet “village Germans”, as some Berliners call them, will yell out their windows or call the cops when you’re having a lovely time on a Friday night because of Nachtruhe, or evening quiet hours in the city. To reflect this, I choose to paint quickly and in thick layers, which constantly overshadow my previous work to create a sense of chaos close up. I also used the palette knife heavily, so that as the contours adjust over time, the old bumps and grooves of the previous layer are still visible through texture and scraping. For example, I originally painted areas like the flooring in a lighter color. I eventually realized it had to be a darker hue to fit the aura of the piece, so I scraped a deeper brown on, still revealing the past work to an extent through the scratch marks. My main influences for this painting, in particular, include modern artists Max Beckmann and Beauford Delany, who both painted representationally. Still, their abstractions are what makes their work interesting, in my opinion. Beckmann, for example, often did not paint eyes, or when he did, they had a football shape unrealistic to the actual sitter. Delany would paint incredibly thickly and much closer to abstract expressionism. This way of painting presents the materiality of his works as holding more value than pure representation. The figures are a means to an end for the composition. Rather, the importance is the emotions they leave with their audience. I’ll leave some images of their works below. Still, I hope to continue developing my work in a similar pursuit for abstracted representation.
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<p>Guten Tag! Ich heiße Corey! I come from a small town named Groveland, Massachusetts about an hour north of Boston and now study at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. I have a double major in Film and German with a minor in Studio Art and am studying abroad in Berlin Spring 2022. In my free time I tap dance (for the past 15 years), finger paint with oils on canvas, and direct an improv comedy podcast. In Berlin I'm super excited to live in a city for the first time and experience the hustle bustle on a daily basis.</p>