Thursday, October 28, 2010

Notes from an Easel- Tell Tale Art-portrait of Edgar Alan Poe by David Van Gough

6" x 9"
Acrylic on Board

Usually at this time of year, I am like the Crypt Keeper incarnate, thumbing through Vault of Horror back issues, or reliving my adolescence, ogling generous bosomed, lesbo-vamps from my Hammer DVD collections.
This year, it's felt a bit stale if I'm honest.Lani has been busy conjuring a cornucopia of creepiness however, and so I've gotten off my act, and painted this yesterday.

Poe, of course is the master of mystery and macabre, the Raven alone would secure his permanence way beyond the footnotes of cultural obsolescence, except he also wrote amongst others, Pitt and the Pendulum, Murders in the Rue Morgue, Masque of the Red Death, the Black Cat and my personal favorite-The Tell Tale Heart.
Perhaps syphilitic and loaded when he died, its hard not to caste him as the archetypal alcoholic scribe, sneering at the tragic barbs of life, and stumbling through muddy puddles in Maryland, but I daresay the reality is not as colorful.

It never is.

Here is Chuck Jones animated version of Tell Tale Heart, with the voice talents of James Mason-it's a fascinating, weird, little, piece, which has always had a huge influence on me-the art in cartoon certainly.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Art Booking Trend

Spent most of the day at Borders for research, flicking through the arts and culture sections,either immersed in magazines or trying to convince myself I don't need another sketchbook.

I think I may have a serious problem in that regard, since I caved and bought myself a pocket sized Moleskine-they were on sale.

I have around a dozen sketchbooks on my studio shelf already, at various stages of completion, much to my wife's bemusement.

Its an odd quirk I have, the need to start a new one before I've completed the last, as if I were having some sort of external reboot on my creativity, or capping a certain point in time.

The research was for my book, which is coming along nicely. It features around twenty of my most recent works, complimented by biographical anecdotes and annotations, and all being well, I'll have it done in time for Christmas. I wish I could post the cover, because it's awesome, but I'm wanting to keep it under wraps until it's available.

Writing biography is oddly disconcerting, a counterpoint to what I do with painting, using metaphor as camouflage-and I so don't want it to be down, more laden with irony, so I'm taking my cues from my dog eared stalwart-Salvador Dali, the unspeakable confessions of. I've read the book once a year, ever since discovering it when I was sixteen-it's eminently quotable, completely batty and salacious in the way every good biog should be, although my own shall probably have closer allusions to the parochial Alan Bennett.

I'm also working on rearranging my studio to maximize the space, lugging the monster office table that was here when we inherited the property and removing the massive closet doors that never worked. I realize its the wrong month for a spring clean, but as you can tell, I'm feeling like a fresh start.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Traveblog-Irrelevancy in Yosemite

I'm returned, though in what capacity I'm unsure.

I was unplugged, off the grid, out of my skull, roughing it in a tent and living off the fat of the land for a week.

That's not strictly true, there was no cultivating of crops going on since Lani and our co hostess-Lauren-
who I like to refer to as; Amazonian, warrior woman due to her impressive stature and dexterity with a tomahawk, packed enough provisions for a small army.

Instead, I cultivated an understanding.

So, all the weight and ambition of the world, compacted and obliterated to irrelevancy when diminished by the spectacle of standing on a cliff and peering into the valley below.

All the pressures of trying to be relevant dissipating when peering into a bottomless night sky with a million lights emanating from a million years ago.

All the hollow questions lost to the burning embers of a woodfire, when with wine and women
A time to re-evaluate, a time for perspective.
So spiritually rejuvenated, the shows are behind me, because I realize that if I stepped away from it all tomorrow just to exist, it would be more than enough meaning, if only because trying so hard to be someone means so little.

Like watching a kettle boil, the water doesn't heat any quicker if you will it.
The shows are up for another two weeks, whether I make a bean or end up with enough wood to make a pyre is immaterial at this point.

There are things that are so much more important than convincing people of ones worth through paint on a wall.

I'll continue in vein, but not in the same vein-I'll see the series to the bitter end, finish the book of 'Dead/Ends',but in the end I really couldn't say what will happen.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Upon a Midnight Dreary-an article showcase of David Gough at the Hive Gallery by Dahlia Jane

If I was a little wilted upon returning from Monterey-then I was welcomed with the spirit, lifting herald of this tremendous featured write up on Dahlia Jane's wonderful blog-uponamidnightdreary. I had the pleasure of talking at some length with the lovely Dahlia, last week at the Hive, and I've not read anything so perceptive about my own work before-certainly I don't believe the stalwarts Juxtapoz or Hi Fructose could have done better, so rather than have my own limited words fail me, here are some of hers:
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"At first glance, David Gough’s paintings seem to be about death. Human forms stripped of their skin, hollow eye sockets and sinister grins against an apocalyptic sky challenge the viewer. But, after speaking with him I realized that his paintings are actually about the experience of living in a profound way. David uses death as a window into life the same way that Bowie used outer space as a metaphor for inner space. By exploring and demystifying the symbolism of death, David opens up an avenue for us to confront the way that we live."

You can read the full article from the link here:

Uponamidnightdreary David Gough artist profile

Thank you Dahlia. x

The Alternative Cafe gallery-Twilight Journeys with David Van Gough

I'm back from majestic Monterey-a journey that unravels some of the most beautifully, bleak landscape, America has to offer.

If the endless, rolling sun baked plains and hills seemed like grandiose distraction from the mundanity of eight hours on the road, then I suppose Fridays show at Alternative Cafe, was something of a subdued affair by comparison.

I'm forever grateful of the people who do make opening nights what they are,and this time around the trickle gave me ample opportunity to walk attendees through each piece at my leisure-something the short shrift of a deluge doesn't.

So my undimmed thanks to you all, gallery owner Scott for a grand showcase, the wonderfully imaginative decal border lining the walls, the patrons who hang on every syllable, the dogs and children who kept us entertained and barista's who kept my whistle wet throughout.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Twilight Journeys, Alternative Cafe gallery show Details

Here are the full details for Fridays show-or what is the second part of my very own Octoberfest.

The Alternative Cafe
1230 Fremont Blvd.
Seaside, CA

The Alternative Cafe is proud to present the Art Show "Twilight Journeys" at their gallery. Please join us for the grand opening of this exhibit, for it'll be a good one! These three artists send their works from Germany, Ireland and our own San Diego. An absolutely brilliant selection for this season.

David Gough
Dean McDowell
Michael Hutter

Friday, October 8 · 7:00pm - 10:30pm

There will be hors d'eurves served, along with beer and wine as well as coffee drinks available for purchase.
Guest DJ will be spinning tunes through out the night.
This event is free, and you won't want to miss it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

From Hell at the Hive gallery, picture post of David Van Gough's featured show

Three hours of crawling traffic on the five, and the kind of heat that could fry an egg in its shell, did not alter the fact one iota, that last night was tremendous.

My feet may feel like that scene in Midnight Express-you know, the one where Brad Davis is hoisted upside down, and beaten on the soles with a paddle-but my soul is full to the brim.

A veritable whirlwind of so many strange, talented,cool, sexy, bright, beautiful young things, hungry for my words and the work hanging on the walls. I am unfathomably grateful to the following...

The King Bee and curator himself-Nathan Cartright

an angel in Hell

Talking Art and Religion with some patrons and artists

Meeting the delightfully, darling Dahlia, who runs an awesomely cool blog called uponamidnightdreary-check it out!!

My wife Lani and her awesome cousin Dave and his wife Amber

Particularly as they came bearing gifts-'I love scotchy, scotch, scotch.'

Can't celebrate too much though, I shall have barely enough time to recover before I have to do it all again for Monterey's show at the Alternative Cafe next week.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Showboat-Heaven and Hell at the Hive

Tonight's 'THE' night. Part uno of a show that has been a year in the making-The Heaven and Hell show at the Hive.

I am in hell of course;)

Be prepared to have your reality altered as you vie with the glitzy denizens of LAs dark underbelly, and stare at the bloody revelations lining the alabaster walls, composed entirely from the viscera of former C listers and the symbols of some dark order.

Marvel at the sonic howlings of an atavistic Shamen, getting down with the dead souls he has conjured using fire, brimstone and the clanking of ribcages, hit with a femur.

Drink the black elixir of dark enchantment, said to be a cocktail of juices, drawn from well known celebrities as they lay in a detox fever at a rehab clinic.

Actually, I'm lying-none of those things are going to happen,what you will see instead are some of the best works of my life, composed from real blood,sweat, tears and oil paint, whilst listening to some great happening music and drinking a cold beer.

So break yourself from your catatonic reverie, put down your Blackberries and your Ipads, and experience some real world art, in one of the best venues in LA, support living artists and see what keeps me awake at nights.