Saturday, January 06, 2007

Powder Coating: An Ode to My Father

My father, besides passing me rather good business sense and a bucketload of charm, directly affected my relationship to paint.
From the age of 12 to 22 I worked in nearly every capacity at Dwight's business Calgary Powder Coatings Inc.(if you don't know the process, buy me three beers and I will explain it...it involves a gigantic oven) . Besides making me most comfortable around bikers and dudes who work labour jobs, it gave me something that feels like insider knowledge about paint.
By seeing poorly-coated cured paint shearing off of metal, I was let in on a secret about paint. It has dimensionality, an underside. It does not just fill in a space with colour. This disallowed my becoming a painter uncursed by a curiosity about what I was painting and how it looked form the board's side.
Seeing the daily ridiculous of 100 panels flying past, all fuschia did something too.

This post doesn't do justice and feels like the old "I was built to be a painter" routine...how do you deal with experience and what it did to your work. Especially with how common attributing special to every memory you have is. It feels like saying I was a drug addict because I have addiction in my family....so what about my sister? Is she not one because off the same reason.

I have a lot of discomfort around discussing my upbringing and how it affects my work. Tomorrow I'll describe my Mother's work at Observation Nurseries Calgary and what that did.

2 comments:

sarah said...

can you disconnect the cause and effect relationship between experience and art? or at least approach it with more of a shrug - you did x, and paint like x - maybe they're related, maybe not.

i guess i'm just thinking about trying to take the grandiose tone out of cause and effect, really. if you punch the stuffing out of 'i was born to be a painter', don't you just come back to 'i saw this thing, and it got me thinking...'?

Wil Murray said...

well, more like I don't have much desire to confuse the writing of one's autobiography with art making. My discomfort comes from years of reading artist statements by other artists that try to wrest the pen from the historian's hand and drop it into their own.
I'm leery to play the parlour game called "pop psychology", where the goal in mind is the eradication of mystery. "1 + 1= painting" supposes that at any point I am stable enough to discern, that I am living in painting an could see the elements of the equation. An outsider can do this, and standing on the other side of a painting I, as the artist, necessarily lives IN painting(Phenomenal!), but from the other side, from the interior I simply live....NOT phenomenal at all.
THAT is separating experience from art, supposing that there is an outside to art, or to living that would allow the perception of a narrative thread. At best I could eek out an incomplete narrative, but all it would reveal is what a terrible author I am.
Maybe it is just that I would rather not be described by anything other than what I cast a shadow over....or, as Breton states "who I haunt".