Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Drawings with Friends: Collaboration with Chad Crowe

I'm really excited to start a new project called Drawings with Friends. I'm not sure I can even call it a "project" because it's very loose in form without many rules other than to have fun. For the first drawing, I collaborated with illustrator, Chad Crowe who has an amazing sense of humor combined with an acute sense of politics. He lives in Portland and I live in LA so scanning and printing were necessary parts of the process. This is the final result:

Drawing collaboration between Chad Crowe and Gazelle Samizay
My Little Pony, Chad Crowe and Gazelle Samizay, 2013. 
Watercolor, pen and pencil.

Conversation between Chad and Gazelle
I always have great conversations with Chad. Perhaps it's that we're both Geminis, or, that we both grew up in Pullman, WA? Whatever it is, we seem to have a particular synergy that always ends in laughter. I decided to post this Q & A between us because it explains some of the underlying meaning of the work as well as the insights we gleaned from the process.

G What should the title be? What were you thinking when you made the drawing?

C: I remember it was a bunch of sketches trying to figure out painting concepts for political and ideological paradigms. I was thinking about how our minds get educated in formats and how that shapes the structures for our worldview and opinions (socialism, fascism, capitalism, etc.). It was actually a horrible concept to try and create paintings about, as it was so large and abstract, but of course, it doesn't matter in the end as fine art is about people coming to their own conclusions, which is more interesting anyway. I had in mind people like Voltaire, Mussolini, Marx and Don Quixote, and was inspired by the Italian sculptor Marino Marini and his horses.

But I think the title could really be anything, as it's an experiment. What did you feel or think while you were working on it?

G: Oh wow, that's really cool to know the background. The background you explained makes a lot of sense with the image.

Is it a centaur? I remember really liking the centaur and thinking the little guy on top seemed so happy/light in comparison to the two-headed bull.

I was thinking about dualities and different paths, how one side can be dark, and the other is something else, but not necessarily light. Later, I really thought this centaur thing should be on clouds. When I added the clouds it transformed from something dark to a scene from a fairy tale or children's book.

C: Yeah, and you offer another perspective that makes complete sense and is intriguing to explore that I wasn't even thinking of. I notice, despite my humor and friendliness, that much of my humor and art is from a cynical perspective or source. Not that that's bad, of course, but just interesting, and you have taken it from something heavy, and maybe a little depressing, to something accessible and with some possibility of joy. 

G: I think it's really interesting that your work has that element of cynicism or darkness but is also hilarious--very interesting combo. 
It seems like this collaboration is opening up all sorts of angles.
I like all the little heads in your drawings :)

C: Thanks! Yes, many angles! If I was independently wealthy, all I would do is collaborations like this with you and other artists, as it is so fun and rewarding. Thanks for the kind words on my cynicism (that is a funny sentence!). No, I think you're right. Somehow humor is how I cope with my negative world view! But once I stop paying attention to the news, I bet I'll become optimistic again. News is bad for you.

G:  I feel like the image is less about the jockey and more about the creature. The guy is just there for the ride thinking he knows where he's going but totally unaware that he has no control. Instead of a royal horse he's riding a crazy and beautiful beast with lots of little heads.

Maybe it should be called "my little pony." This title might get at the idea of a dream/ideal vision (as represented by a pony) that in fact is very complicated, irrational and hard to understand and somewhat outside of our control. The only control that is there is in our minds (as evidenced by the happy jockey).
Damn how did this all get so deep?
We're crazy...this was supposed to be a FUN project ;)
We always gotta make it dark and deep...

C: Cracking up. Jesus. Yes, My Little Pony is the way to go! I think you've really deducted the intention of this. That little bastard thinks he's in control, but is along for the ride wherever that bestial thing is going to take him. He's a prisoner to this culture clydesdale that's going to go tromping all about making doing what it wants.

G: Ok, so have we settled on My Little Pony as the title?
I don't think "Our" [Little Pony] is necessary, as we all can agree My Little Pony is part of our collective consciousness.
How's that for some academic bull speak!?


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