Doing these paintings was simply an amazing experience. First of all I was flattered beyond belief that the amazing, Writer/Director Thom Fogarty approached me with the idea of having a portrait done of his equally talented daughter and son in-law to be, for their wedding. Being the generous artist that he himself is, he broached the subject and that was that. He neither requested, or placed any restriction or boundaries what so ever. I’d been doing a lot of silkscreen paintings “100 WITCHES” and “THE DOROTHY GALE OF KANSAS 100 TIMES” (not to mention my annual Holiday Cards) series and wanted to expand on that process, theme. It’s a very complex, and each painting involves seven steps to completion. At 36x 36” they are to date, the biggest silkscreen paintings I’ve done, but I fully intend on doing more. I am so absolutely thrilled with the final paintings that I’ve decided I’m going to accept commissions. I love doing these portraits and they can be anything, individuals, couples, groups, pets…anything!!
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I was so excited after doing “100 WITCHES” that I couldn’t wait to jump into another project. I wanted the paintings to be a bit bigger than The Witches and I also wanted them to be square. Obviously the logical choice for the image was the brilliant, and fantastically tragic Judy Garland. I wanted even more detail in her face than I had achieved with The Witches and it took me over two weeks and 11 silkscreens to get it right. I think these are just amazing, and I couldn’t be more proud of how well they were received. They are bold and very colorful. Her face is so charming, and more than a few people have asked me what I think she’s looking at. I mean, how would I know!?!
When I started “100 WITCHES” It had been almost five years since I’d shown any new work, the truth is, it had been almost five years since I painted anything at all. And then one day I just felt like painting again, but I didn’t want to work in oils. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to get involved with all of that turpentine, and having to constantly clean my brushes. It seemed like a lot. But I also really hate acrylics too, but I love silkscreening. So i thought I could do something where I was painting but screening as well. I broke the series into two parts, the first 50 and then the second 50. The first were more drawn, the outlines done by hand. The second 50 were done in more a photographic technique, but all the same principals applied. The Witch is So iconic that I was really free to play around with color, really get messy with my mixing and deliberately going off register with her face on the second screen. I think they are beautiful and very dramatic, and are clearly the inspiration for the Dorothy Gale paintings, which I wanted to take a step further.
SYNCHRONICITY FINE ART, NYC DECEMBER 2010
Although it sounds cliché, the idea for this show actually came to me in a dream. I saw the Crucifixion Of Dali Duck as clear as day. It conveys every one of my issues with Catholicism,( I don’t think I’ve ever done a show without at least one crucifixion). Anyway, I woke up and scribbled down the idea in a moleskin notebook I keep next to my bed so I wouldn’t forget the idea. Oddly enough, Dali Duck was the first idea I had but it was the last painting I did for the show, as I knew it was going to be epic and wanted no other pressures on me so I was free to paint. All of the paintings are copies from the masters, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Dali etc, etc. The idea was to duplicate these religious masterpieces and replace them with cartoon characters who I felt best matched their personalities. The Judas Kiss in particular was divine inspiration with Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny. The Dali Duck is the exact dimensions of the original Dali painting at TheMET Museum in NYC. I went and measured it as best I could and projected the image onto a specially built canvas so I would get the image as close size-wise to Dali’s masterpiece. I love all my shows, and paintings, but this show holds a special place in my heart, because of its creativity, experimentation, execution, scope, and imagery. Also, there are Dali Duck canvas prints for sale at markdemaio.bigcartel.com just click the button below!
SACRED GALLERY NYC, APRIL 2013
After having done several shows in a row and being committed to produce another one in just a years time, I was understandably exhausted, physically, emotionally and creatively. I had been working with so much color, with such vivid images that I was feeling lost and drained. Then I had the idea to abandon color altogether and do an entire series in black and white. But it didn’t seem to be enough, I didn’t want to just paint in black and white and shades of gray, it had to be strictly black and white. I began sketching ideas and started drawing little images that aded up to one big image and thats how “I WALK THE LINE” came to be. Some are painted and can only be hung one way but several were painted specifically to be hung any way you’d like, designed to be turned from time to time, and they are dense and complex enough that you’ll always discover something new. Most people paint with the idea that the viewer should stand back and absorb the entire image and that is true of this work as well, except these were also done to get as close as possible, stare into the images and discover all the little hidden gems I’ve put in there. For the most part they are all oil on canvas, but a few were done on ARCHES 400 lb. water color paper with black glitter. The glitter was coated with Krylon to stop it from coming off. In the process I discovered that the more Krylon I used, the glitter began to melt and turn into it’s own sort of paint, without losing it’s sheen. It was an amazing exercise working in black and white only. I was an excellent reset button as well.
SYNCHRONICITY FINE ART, NYC FEBRUARY 2009
This is the show that followed The Practise Of Injury In Private. I was still recovering from my accident, and the recent death of my Father. I was tired of everything being so bleak and depressing. I wanted to create something whimsical, and light. ABSURD NOTIONS was the result, and about as whimsical and light as I get…goblins falling off cliffs, walking on impossible stilts, jumping over bottomless holes, balancing (or not) on tightropes and of course, a crucifixion and a funeral march. A complete bundle of artistic joy. I love these paintings, I just find them delightful. Three of them are very personal to me, and contain at least one hidden message in each, A Rare Public Appearance By The Martyrs Of Port Lligat, Leaning Man and Birthday Party Rescue Squad. On a side note, I’ve always felt that Funeral March For A Goblin looks like an Opera.
THE DOLLS WERE A PART OF THE PRIESTS, STILTS, CLOWNS & FREAKS SHOW AT SACRED GALLERY NYC, APRIL 2014. They were done in 2007-2008 during the…yep you guessed it…the recession. It was all over the news and people were freaking out and I thought, wouldn’t it be lovely if someone created a line of dolls for a recession and then priced them so high no one could afford them? Hence the price tags on the paintings, not the price of the actual painting. Although during the recession no one could afford the paintings either!
This series of paintings were created in homage to some of my favorite writers. They were all painted in burnt sienna oil. I covered the canvas with the writers work, sealed the paper to the canvas with gel medium and then painted the image over that. EB is the least famous (for now) but will one day soon be recognized as a very individual and unique voice, that deserves and demands listening to.
SYNCHRONICITY FINE ART NYC, FEBRUARY 2007
The title of this show is actually a quote from Francis Bacon, who in my opinion is one of the greatest artists and painters to have ever graced the earth. In an interview Bacon was once asked about painting portraits, and whether he liked to work from live models or photographs and his reply was that he liked to work from photos because “I choose to practise my injury in private." Also, practise is not spelled wrong, this is the UK spelling of the word. This show was probably never meant to be, I don’t know, maybe it was. I digress…Three weeks before the show opened I had a really horrific accident. I was dependent on my magnificent friends to not only get the work to the gallery, but get me there too, carrying me down several flights of steps and back up as well as wheeling me to the gallery and back home on a very cold February night. I was immobile for months. At the end of the first week that the show was up, the gallery had a flood, and then five days later an electrical fire. A lot of people, myself included felt a black cloud hovering. There was a minute there that I thought a drag-queen had put a curse on me, it’s a long story… ask me sometime and maybe I’ll tell you about it (the story has a charming, bitter sweet ending).The title of the show was repugnant and upon reflection I guess the work was pretty brutal. I still cautiously adore these paintings, and if anyone is brave enough to own one, there are a couple still for sale!
SACRED GALLERY NYC, APRIL 2014
Priests, Stilts, Clowns & Freaks…what more can be said! This was an amalgam of new works done specifically for this show, old work never show and some experimental works (PIG done in encaustic). Theres a lot of different techniques going on here, from the impasto (Who Killed Bunnyduck), to the use of kitty litter mixed into the paint for texture and a fair bit of collage as well. Who Invented The Twins is the culmination of all of it, canvas, oils, paper, fabric and kitty litter and one of my most popular paintings (canvas prints are also for sale on markdemaio.bigcartel.com) This was also the first time I’ve shown “POOR EUGENE” a painting i did in 1992 and have refused to sell. I’ve turned down countless offers for it. It’s my Sistine Chapel, my Mona Lisa, and the thought of parting with it breaks my heart. But should someone offer enough for it, I may be able to deal with a little heartbreak…maybe!