Scott Greenwalt, in a nutshell

I have a lot in common with Scott Greenwalt but I am not exactly sure what. Sure I can make lists, like, well, we both like beer, a lot, we both make art, a lot, we are the same age, pretty much…and on, but something deeper, or maybe more shallow. Anyway, he is a total bro who basically lives right down the street from me in Oakland and its just wierd we haven’t met yet. He’s got a lot going on…let me let him tell you about it. -obi

Obi: Where does this latest work come from? While you have always worked with images of the body from inside and out, this new work seems particularly in transformation…not only like writhing flesh but from a more subtle use of paint to a more graphic…is that at all right?

Scott: Basically, my work is rooted in a lengthy process of weeding through strange visions in my mind, attempting to render these visions, failing, eliminating problem elements, meditating on the direction of the painting, then implementing the ideas in an obsessed trance-like state. Rinse and repeat. Transformation is an apt word to describe the work. I think that my entire approach to painting, as well as what I depict is about some kind of metaphysical change. I think of them as glimpses at another dimension of time and space where things are folding in on themselves.

Obi: You are in a bunch of shows right now. What’s going on? When was the last time you had a solo show and how does it differ now?

Scott: 2010 has, thankfully, been a very busy year for me. There is a momentum that has been building, and I am just running with it. Moving back to Oakland this summer has had a lot to do with that, I think. My new studio and the art community here are incredibly inspiring. My last solo show was at Gallery BellJar in April of this year. That show marked an important moment where my work began to take on new qualities that I have expanded upon for the show at Hotel Biron that opens Thursday, October 14th. I think that the major difference is that the subject matter now is concerned more with a living, breathing phenomenon, rather than archeological specimens discovered long after mutation occurred.

Obi: Describe your road to becoming an artist. How has Scott Greenwalt become Scott Greenwalt? Who was your biggest influence?

Scott: It’s a long story. In a nutshell, I just never really knew what else to do with myself. I took a lot of art classes in high school, because it was easier for me than academia. I just kept that up until I wound up with an MFA. Then I got a job that I hated for ten years, all the while working on art at home during the evenings, trying to figure out what I really wanted to say as an artist. Then I flipped out, quit my soul-sucking big money job and started showing my work. That was three years ago.

Nailing one primary influence is hard. I would have to say that it is a three-way tie between Francis Bacon, Philip Guston and Hieronymus Bosch in terms of aesthetics. There are hundreds of other artists, film makers, musicians and writers whose work has had a hand in forming who I am and how I see the world. I must say that it was Philip Guston’s decision to trust his personal instincts and ignore what the art world expected from him that has been the most significant guiding principle of my practice.

  1. Jon Casey clary

    Well said! Cool interview.

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