New York City: Population Immersion and Studio Isolation

A previous body of work really put me out there on the street.

New Yorkers are not known for their reticence; therefore, I found myself interacting often with people while painting. I believe that I live in the most fascinating city in America—I can’t imagine living anywhere else. New York makes me high: this New York where I find there to be a wealth of intelligent people, intelligent conversation, and utter wackos, all of whom offer interaction and entertainment in their own unique way. I have made quite a few oil paintings of that lovely, dirty, gritty New York City full of buttinskis.

If you think about it, being lonely and isolated is a choice—or perhaps a matter of temperament. It’s not in my nature to be solitary and reclusive. The insanity of isolation makes painting an odd career choice for a guy like me. Then again, if being an artist is a career choice, you are fucking doing it wrong . . .

Photograph of Jonathan Herbert studying a painting in progress.

I saw the play RED on Broadway. Incredibly it was real and important theater. This is how Rothko often worked.

Photograph by EMMANUEL CAYERE 2013

What the Studio Looked Like Today

Before Liza worked on it…

ImageImagePractically looks like Sir Francis Bacon’s. Well, not really.

And here’s my Lizafied oil painting station:

Image

I’m going to work on the current DEAD SUZANNE oil painting now

Really. Even though I am totally out of Old Holland Cadmium Yellow Light.

I’m going to try it without putting all those paintings in the hall again. My good friend, the painter Eric Clinton Anderson, was supposed to help get them back up into the storage loft today. But he got too busy. Tomorrow.

DANGER: DO NOT SIT OR STAND

This is where I decided to stand

I won’t try it myself ever since I fell off the top step of the six foot ladder – you know, the one that says DON’T STAND HERE – and literally almost killed myself. I’m getting okay with Suzanne being dead; don’t want to follow in a real hurry, though.

I'm going to work on the current DEAD SUZANNE oil painting now

Really. Even though I am totally out of Old Holland Cadmium Yellow Light.

I’m going to try it without putting all those paintings in the hall again. My good friend, the painter Eric Clinton Anderson, was supposed to help get them back up into the storage loft today. But he got too busy. Tomorrow.

DANGER: DO NOT SIT OR STAND

This is where I decided to stand

I won’t try it myself ever since I fell off the top step of the six foot ladder – you know, the one that says DON’T STAND HERE – and literally almost killed myself. I’m getting okay with Suzanne being dead; don’t want to follow in a real hurry, though.

Unburying the studio to work on Dead Suzanne

First I spent the morning putting all the paintings not back up in storage into the hall so I had enough room to work.

That took about an hour. Here’s what that got me.

But I was able to play in the mud and the dust, breathing solvents and smearing myself with lead paint.

The Alchemical Shrine

From shamanism to alchemist to artist; chain of spiritual translation unbroken.

Intensity of Focus

Jonathan Herbert painting from the model.

Jonathan Herbert creating the oil painting "Red Queen Naked" 40 x 30 inches Oil on Linen copyright 2008 Jonathan Herbert

Intensity of focus results from relinquishing control.