The Viner BlogJuxtapoz // Friday, 13 Oct 2006
My feline alarm clock gets me up at the crack of noon. Her name is Mooch. Cute cat.
I live in Manhattan with my girlfriend Emily. Our apartment is tiny, but it's on a nice street. I shot this photo a few doors down, on my way to the subway. I've grown to love the gray, stark gravity of this place.
Wow, who's this handsome fella? Apparently I have my game face on. Not unusual in the subway. When I put my headphones on, the psychological wall becomes almost impenetrable.
This is a typical off-peak subway mix. Everyone seems so familiar on the subway. I ride back and forth every day. I've never seen any of these people before, and odds are I'll never see any of them again. Times like this I tend to step out of the moment in order to grasp how strange it is.
I get off the subway in Brooklyn. My studio is in a surreal industrial wasteland by the Gawanus Canal. When crossing over the bridge over noxious canal I sometimes imagine a group of thugs jumping me from behind and throwing me over into the filthy, toxic water. I wonder if it'll burn my skin, or if I'll feel fine at first, but will start to experience organ failure a few days later. Anyhoo...
That's the Brooklyn/Queens Expressway in the background, with trucks slowly lumbering along the hundred foot tall road like giant, metal elephants. Seriously, you do grow to love this shit.
On the other side of Lowes is Dunkin' Donuts. I've become a caffeine addict. It's open all night, so I often come here half way through all-nighter painting marathons. I like ordering the "Turbo" because it reminds me of Breakin'.
My studio is on the fourth floor of a factory building. Until recently we had to compete with the sweatshop on the 2nd floor for the freight elevator. Now they're building more artist lofts where that used to be, which is fine by me. There are also rehearsal spaces for bands in the building. Lots of creativity in the air.
Anyway, above is a photo of my giant easel. I built it from scratch. It's large enough to hold two large painting surfaces, or three medium sized ones. That's important because I like to work on a few paintings at once, going back and forth. I also rigged it so I can turn a crank to raise it up or lower it. If I raise it up all the way, I can work on more pieces on the wall behind it.
My painting table. I built this from scratch too.
It's important to have a work space where it's okay to drip and spill paint. Until about a year ago, I had to work in my bedroom. This is way better.
Emily is my official studio manager. She helped me get all organized. I used to keep all of my supplies mixed together in moving boxes, or even trash bags. She categorized everything and labeled what's in each box. You have to understand, I'm generally a very disorganized person, so this change was an eye opener. Now I know where everything is and where to put things away when I'm done. Go figure.
I like to draw with graphite on hand torn pieces of Stonehenge printmaking paper. It's very heavy weight, archival, and sturdy.
I include a unique, original drawing with each Deluxe Limited Edition of my book, Tranquil Aftermath, which is also signed and numbered. You can get em through the online store at Jonathan LeVine Gallery (www.jonathanlevinegallery.com). In fact, if you give me just a minute, I'll violently sweep everything off the table here, so I can quickly throw a pile of books out on the top for you to take a look at.
Wow, look how the books just happened to land like that! Tranquil Aftermath, is published by Jonathan LeVine Gallery and Murphy Design (www.murphydesign.com).
Moving along...this is sort of like "the study" area of my studio. When I shot this I was about to jot down some notes and sketches for the design of my new website. My old site (www.viner.biz) has become a bit obsolete, so I'm building a new one with a simpler, cleaner, faster design. I'm going to keep it up to date with the latest info and images. The new site will be www.vinerstudio.com, and it should be up by the first week of October.
While I'm plugging stuff, I'll also mention a couple of shows I have coming up in LA. I'll have five new pieces in a group show called "Friendly Fire" at Berman/Turner Projects in Santa Monica's Bergamot Station. That opens Saturday, October 14th.
I also have a piece in a group show called "Subterfuge" at Thinkspace Gallery. That opens on Friday, October 13th. I'll be signing copies of Tranquil Aftermath at Thinkspace as well, on Saturday, October 14th, from 12:30-2:30pm. Try to catch those if you're in the area.
A few more photos...
Being on the top floor, I get a great view from my windows.
Here's the subway train about to go underground. It actually runs directly over my studio. I hear it go by so often that it doesn't even register anymore. Not many painters can say they work beneath the subway. Well, come to think of it, everyone on my floor can pretty much say that...
Another sound I hear often is barking from guard dogs roaming the industrial rooftops across the street. Cute dog.
I often depict birds in my work, so perhaps it's fitting that I leave you with a shot of flocks of birds scavenging along the canal.
Thanks and be sure to stay tuned for more exciting stuff coming up!
"Friendly Fire: Four From the East", a group exhibition featuring works by Ray Caesar, AJ Fosik, Dan Kennedy and Jonathan Weiner, opens October 14th, 2006 at Berman / Turner Projects, at Gallery C2 in Santa Monica, CA. The show runs through November 11th. www.viner.biz and/or www.vinerstudio.com