Hi! I'm continuing my series this week, by writing about my thought process while making my (ahem) award winning painting, "The Score". You can see the listing details of this painting here.
The score was created in 2013. In 2013, I set out to enter a juried gallery show every month at the San Diego Art Institute. I had never submitted my art to a juror before, and I felt a little nervous. After some encouragement from one of my mentors, I set out to be selected to show every month of a calendar year. I did it.
The challenge for me was not knowing who the juror would be. (In retrospect, knowing would have probably not helped me at all.) The gallery presented the submitted art works to a new juror every month. There were artists, gallery owners, art professors.. lots of different types of jurors...but the artists never knew who would be bestowing their talents onto the submitted artwork beforehand.
Enter "The Score".. I believe this was somewhere around the 3rd or 4th month of my submission streak. I have always loved the color combination of rust and dark navy or black, but it was difficult for me to get the rust "X" onto that dark of a background. I needed up painting over those letters several times, each time with more opaque paint until I reached coverage I was happy with.
The letter 'X" has always been my most favorite mark. When I was a kid, I was managing some adults in a department store. I had one employee who would always sign his paperwork with an "X"..and it kind of became a joke with us all. This was the kind of paperwork when the employees came onto a shift, the group would have to read and sign some sort of "bulletin" from me.... I would look at the signatures to make sure everyone read the announcement of the day..and there would always be an "X" in the mix of signatures. I loved that.
While painting, I started to make many "x" ...each time counting something in my head. This time..and this time...and this time...and this time... the tally marks too... like the marks an inmate keeps on his cell wall to count the days to freedom... I love seeing those marks. I don't know why. I also love watching crime documentaries....so maybe that's why. I find those marks fascinating.
"The Score" is one of the few paintings I have that features legible scribble. You can see the words "score", "the china"..."the money" buried in the layers here. They are faint. I was going though some horrific, selfish, family drama at the time I created this.. and I think that passion shows through in this painting. I marked and scrubbed the hell out of this.
The results? This painting earned my first juror's choice award. I watched the juror process the submissions this month. He walked around the gallery looking at the art as it was placed all around the floor (before hanging) and a handful of volunteers stood in a far corner watching quietly. This juror was a tall man.... a distinguished gallery owner and very accomplished artist.. I was totally intimidated by him. He was holding pieces of printer paper, each containing a word in bold print. One assistant followed him taking small notes. He dropped "honorable mention".... and then walked between my paining and another painting. He dropped "Jurors Choice" on my painting. I was a little stunned. My friend said, "Go talk to him!!" So I walked over...like a beginner kid...and I said, "Thank you. Thank you so much for picking my painting. I can't believe it." He replied, "Drop the humility, kid."