Just Dirt and Oil on Canvas

A formal training is a funny thing. The artists at the New York Academy are so incredibly talented that they can’t help but impart a commensurate level of influence. A lot of the time spent after graduating is trying to get their voices out of your head and come to grips with what is important, for yourself, as an artist.

It’s an important process as you don’t want to be just a disciple of some other, more important, artist. That said, there are a couple of voices that I try hard to hold on to. Vincent Desiderio, I hope, will never leave me. I think of him the most.

But in working on this painting last night I started to feel a profound sense of pride in the work I was doing. I felt like I had turned a bit of a corner and making work that I could really be proud of. It was at that moment when Martha Erlebacher came into my head to humble and chasten me. Martha used to say, “no matter how amazing your work, never forget that all you are doing is pushing dirt and oil around on canvas.”

Here’s a detail of my dirt and oil pushed around on a composite aluminum support.

Shh - Josh (detail, in progress)
Shh – Josh (detail, in progress)

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