John Greiner-Ferris is an artist who does not believe that life, and therefore art, is a spectator sport.
I am informed by the theater. You don’t lean back in a theater seat and say, “Entertain me.” For the actors to do their jobs well, the audience has to be just as involved as the actors in order to give something back for the actors to respond to.
Nor do you walk into a gallery and just look at paintings on a wall. Pictures are something you engage with. Artists are arrogant. We all think we have something to say, something we are compelled to present. I’m even more arrogant. I feel I have something to say, and I’ll make you work to find it. Because it causes the viewer to make their own personal relationship with the painting. In the end, they’ve earned it and will feel better engaged with the painting. Ultimately it’s to instigate a personal relationship with me, the artist.
I am inspired and influenced by street art. Decay. Torn wallpaper in an abandoned house. Tarnished mirrors. Tattered posters glued to a wall. Science. Graffiti art on freight cars. Paint rags. The seemingly haphazard/purposeful/spontaneous nature of paint buildup in an art studio sink. Memory, remorse, and anger. Death, tombstones, and graveyards. Nature and politics.
I need to see the hand of the artist and the mark of the tool. I like colored pencils because when used on canvas, their marks become analogous with pixels. Spatter marks come from dragging a stencil across the canvas. I value spontaneity during the painting process for what it allows the materials to reveal, and I value ambiguity for raising questions in the viewer’s mind.
So, put down the damn phone. Or if you can’t, before you take that selfie, use Google Translate. What are these words in French saying? Un mauvais cas de puces. Dites-moi quelque chose que je ne sais pas déjà. The words become like the paint, another material used in the process. The paint and the words become collaborators in the subterfuge.