Surfing with Franz and Wilhelm
Surfing with Franz and Wilhelm

Surfing with Franz and Wilhelm

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Dimensions:  18.5" x 42" image, 20" x 46" paper

Medium: Mixed Media on Deckled Edge Paper

Edition Size:  75

Availability:  Sold out at publisher, still available at Peabody Gallery framed

Year of Release:  2016

Waves Of Influence by Tom Everhart from Limelight Agency on Vimeo.

 

We surf the web to find information. Students of art academia surf the history of art, much in the same way, to find information of influences. Sometimes, these inspirational waves of influence roll with our play of consciousness and evolve with other influences into a new way of seeing illusion, thought, and mood.

This is how fusing my 20 years of influence from Sparky’s (Charles M. Schulz) visual articulations with the many other influences from my life and fine art academia experience is responsible for my body of work from the past 28 years. Without these many other influences, the work would be a body of cartoons, and not, as it is, a body of paintings. Additionally and most importantly, fusing these other influences, with Sparky’s, facilitated our only agreement that the paintings were not to be a copy of his comic strip, but a new way of seeing the same thing.

“Surfing with Franz and Willem”, is the first work in a new body of paintings, entitled, “Waves of Influence”. It is a body of wave imagery each referencing a various influence that surfed the waves with Sparky’s influence to define the evolution of my work from its beginnings to the present.

The visual construction of each wave starts at the far right of each work in a tumbling, swirling universe of birth and beginnings represented in an abstraction of energetic individual expressive marks of childlike doodles. As the wave rolls to the left, the fusion of influences grow increasingly to a new visual awareness, from the unfamiliar to the familiar, as the whipping doodle marks evolve and tightly organize into a representational image of a new breaking wave.

Sparky’s character of Snoopy is incorporated to project the substantial scale of the influential wave, and not as a reference to his influence. The wave itself is the reference to the influence of his line constructions.

The wave is actually from a large Sunday strip of his, dated, April 21st, 1991. Sparky worked up the image from a black and white Xerox copy of a photograph of a wave. If one were to research this strip, it would be noticed that the wave in the paintings turns and breaks to the left instead of turning to the right as it does in the Sunday strip. It is not just to start the process of seeing his wave in a new way, but is the direction that the wave breaks around the Tahitian studio on its circular reef.

“Surfing with Franz and Willem” was produced in black and white because it was the first work of the series and represents beginnings. Not only were my large-scale paintings always begun in black and white paint, but they were usually blow-ups of very small black and white sketches.

As a young child, my visual awareness grew increasingly through my enthusiasm for the black and white pages of coloring books. By the time I arrived in fine art academia, that influence had pushed me to the visual activity of the black and white abstract paintings of the Abstract Expressionist that flourished from roughly 1942 to 1952. Most notably, it was the black and white paintings of Abstract Expressionist, Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning.

As a young child, my visual awareness grew increasingly through my enthusiasm for the black and white pages of coloring books. By the time I arrived in fine art academia, that influence had pushed me to the visual activity of the black and white abstract paintings of the Abstract Expressionist that flourished from roughly 1942 to 1952. Most notably, it was the black and white paintings of Abstract Expressionist, Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning.

It was their influence that allowed me, from art academia, to be open and receptive to the black and white line constructions of cartooning.

So, for the next 20 years, I learned how to surf in Sparky’s waters through our conversations that focused on pictorial problems simplified in black and white.

I miss those conversations.

I was often told, by the wonderful people who worked with him day to day in his studio, that he was the work’s biggest promoter. I guess this was because he more than anyone else understood what I was doing by fusing the influences from my living world with the line strategies of his visual world. Struggling with the past 16 years of his absence, it seemed appropriate to start, once again, a discussion though a new body of work about how and why the work began and continues today surfing waves of influence.

– Tom Everhart