In 1986-87 I lived in Chicago and did a number of series of works inspired by the city. That city experience stayed with me and once more I set out to discover Chicago in paint. Taking numerous photographs to use back in my studio my interest with the “L” train platforms and graffiti developed. My fascination with the “L” train platforms comes from the kind of space one sees there. One looks down the tracks and feels a sense of deep space not usually found in the city. Yet at the same time, there is the flatness of the buildings pushing up against you.
One of Chicago’s “Finest” was kind enough to pack a pistol and take me to different areas of the city where one might find graffiti he felt I might not otherwise see.
Graffiti is “marks” or “drawings” found on walls, states the dictionary. Isn’t that what we do as artists – make marks? Questions arise such as, “Is graffiti art?” “As an artist, if I do graffiti is it art?” “If I paint a picture of a building with graffiti on it, does the graffiti then become art?” Or “If I choose to do graffiti of my own on a canvas or paper, rather than ‘walls,’ is it art?”
This series of paintings explores the inner city, plays with the idea of graffiti as art, confronts these questions and presents my experience of Chicago in paint.