this is a reworked image

Livre de fragments de lettres de violence et de secrets
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Book of fragments of letters of violence and secrets
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found images, reworked by Max Kuiper
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Page 146\147

5

Interview with Anthony Cudahy

Anthony Cudahy’s paintings offer an array of associations, from the technical contexts of photography and art history to the more emotional framework of desire, fear, loss and identity. Drawing from a variety of disparate sources, such as personal and found photographs, paintings, album covers and tapestries, the same symbols begin to reoccur – daffodils, dogs, dark desert landscapes – and images are likely to repeat themselves in a rhythm that can allow for multiple entry points into one form. These works are defined by a state of flux, a connection, whether visual or metaphysical, between places, times, ideas and people.
Conjuring notions of folk lore and forgotten histories, Cudahy interrogates the currency of images, reworking and re-imagining figures and patterns to create an entirely new dynamic.

You’ve talked before about how you’re interested in the history of images, whether they’re degraded or transformed. Does the source or context of an image influence the painting or your process in any way?

Oh, definitely. There’s a push and pull between my painting and its source that I like to work within. For example, I enjoy bringing specific “non-painting” languages into a painting. This could be photographic language, like a cast shadow, or digital language like a pixelated, crunchy area. I’m not beholden necessarily to accurately representing these. The painting dictates where it wants to go, and I try to follow that as much as possible. Sometimes I think the source gives me only an initial structure. Sometimes, though, it will give me a color idea that is the entire painting.  

‘mirrored’ (2016)

How do you approach combining images, like in your recent paintings ‘mirrored’ (2016) or ‘desertshore’ (2016)? Is this a thematic/conceptual process, or something more visual?

Often it’s an intuitive leap, but the images have to be on a thematic wavelength to work. Sometimes I might not get that immediately, but it’ll reveal its logic to me as I spend time painting and considering the image. Certain sources become shorthand for me. In mirrored, the sides of the image are appropriated from the Unicorn tapestries. Beyond a visual pull that related imagery has for me, I’m interested in the mille-fleur tapestries as a sort of futile attempt to order nature on the part of humans. I think there’s a lot of folly in those tapestries. So I have that “symbol” in the back of my mind always as a way to talk about an uncertainty or a crisis of existing. This particular painting is part of a series that responds to Caravaggio’s Narcissus painting. The tapestry I used here has a woman showing a unicorn its reflection, teaching the creature how to see— maybe teaching knowledge of self. Visually, the image it’s paired with has a man who also looks to the mirror, but he isn’t reflected there. That’s the crux of the painting for me. As I work, I’m open to discovering happy accidents between the images I’m pairing, where a line may meet or a compositional element might sing.

desertshore can give some insight to the process I go through pairing images. The cover of Nico’s album had long been a resonant image in my mind. One that I would come back to a lot, knowing it “meant” something to me, but not knowing how I’d use it. As the Narcissus project continued, I started to think about solipsism. The Caravaggio painting’s void led to that. I was trying to figure out why it was a frightening image for me, and I think it has to do a lot with the lack of setting. Yes, there’s a liquid surface providing reflection, but it’s like the entire world has been vacuumed out of that image. The intuitive leap came when I found the image that makes up the larger, pink side of the painting. I thought about being alone in the world, moving about in a degrading way— crawling on hands and knees. The Nico image floating to my mind. Her son pulling the horse. The journey of her life, a cyclical story. The child as parent circle. So these two disparate images needed to be organized together. I don’t always expect a viewer to get most (or any) of the references I use, but hopefully the feeling is transferred.

‘desertshore’ (2016)

Your style has developed over the last few years into something less photographic and with more of a collaged feel? Was this something you deliberately moved towards to create a specific atmosphere, or was it more of an instinctive change?

This was deliberate, and responds particularly to the way I was organizing images within my zines. There was a freedom there and I started to intentionally try to get that way of working into the paintings. I also stopped being wary of symbols. I think for a while I was trying to assimilate with some straight, male painters like Richter and Tuymans, where impenetrability is a virtue. I was pushing back trying to not make emotive work. I needed to tear this apart and become more vulnerable. I think allowing myself to indulge a personal, intuitive symbolism was a way to break from that maleness.

You make a lot of zines of your drawings. What role do these publications play in your practice? Do they inform the paintings, are they informed by the paintings, or both, or neither?

While this way of organizing images has influenced my newer paintings, I still think of my zine work as a separate practice. One with different rules and goals. When I get the opportunity to show a group of paintings that I have truly considered as a grouping is as close as my painting gets to my zine-making. Then the final layout of the show is the piece and the paintings are elements of that. But more often a painting is a singular, solved problem for me. Books allow me the chance to talk about ideas over a longer period, and one that I have control of the pacing. Timing comes to the forefront of my thinking. In the zines I make, there are often three or four strains of thought that can be read by themselves or can interact with each other.

Your paintings ‘Snyder’s dogs’ (2015) and ‘tendto’ (2016) are both drawn from Frans Snyder paintings of a boar hunt, although they have a year between them. What makes you return to a source image or subject, and did the similarities between the two original Snyder paintings play a part in your attraction to them, considering your interest in reusing images?

His paintings of dogs really resonate with me and are shorthand in my practice for violence. tendto is a dualism— the dog is violent, while the gesture is more tender. That word in particular is one I think about a lot. The painter, Robin F. Williams, brought it to my attention how it has two distinct and sometimes contradictory meanings. It can refer to the kind closeness between people, or the lingering sensation of a wound.

To better answer you question, when something like that becomes shorthand for me, I feel free to reuse. This is to mix ideas and to build and change them. Also, for the most part I never feel like I’ve said the thing. I could always come closer or say it a different way. Rarely does anything feel done. And then physically, returning to an image is interesting to me. I don’t have an exact hand. I am not tied to the source so much that I try for accuracy. It will be entirely different, and I’ll find out something new from the same source.

‘Snyder’s dogs’ (2015)

The titles of your paintings are often formatted in an interesting way, such as your series ‘Everyone at the Funeral’ in which every painting title is abbreviated to EatF (or most recently EatF_3 which I assume indicates the third iteration of this series). These titles are heavily reminiscent of file names on a computer, particularly when they include underscores. Is this intentional and, if so, what do you think it adds to the experience of the painting?

I really hated titling work! So at one point I decided to get very methodical with it. I was working at a publishing house and really liked, even visually, how files were named. I started to use acronyms that I’d never tell anyone, and I even would forget. I don’t know when it changed, but now titles come easier for me, and they are more “This is what it must be called!” The EatF paintings are a long-term, methodical project (I’m rendering an individual portrait of everyone within a found photograph- well over 100 people) and so that kind of naming feels more integral.

You’ve also mentioned previously that you look to film first for inspiration. Do you intend to work with film in the future, either in your paintings or as a medium itself?

A few years back, I went through a big film phase. Particularly obsessing over the films of Fellini and, most important to me, Tarkovsky. These artists had a profound influence on my thinking and understanding of art, and the world (not to be hyperbolic). At the time I thought, Oh I must be moving towards film. It was how I felt about the first painters I obsessed over as a teenager. But I never connected with any other film to that level, and realized I don’t have any ideas specific to that medium. It was more how those two directors took ideas and through a medium realized a vision. And that’s something I can apply to my paintings and zines. One of (maybe) the central themes of Stalker is whether nature is inherently good or evil. That question is one I cover pretty consistently in my paintings (in tendto, which we spoke about actually).

Right now, I’m reading and thinking about novels more than I’m looking at painting, although I still look at painting a lot. Things just go in cycles like that. I just finished reading all of Toni Morrison’s novels and she’s unmatched genius.

Anthony Cudahy has a solo show coming up in Brooklyn at Cooler Gallery from 1st-22nd November.

Images courtesy of the artist.

flickr

The Tulip Nebula by Chris Grimmer
Via Flickr:
A rework of my 1st and only image this season so far. hope the clear skies arrive soon.

2

Above via mtv (x). 

Superhero Super Bowl Bet: Captain America vs. Star-Lord 

This week Chris Pratt (who plays Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy) challenged Chris Evans (Captain America in the Avengers franchise) to a Super Bowl bet to benefit charity, and since then Twitter has gone wild over it

In just the last few days on Tumblr, 369 posts have been made about the bet, earning 106.6k notes so far for an average of 289 notes per post. The majority of the most popular posts were all recaps of the Twitter conversation

But Tumblr, of course, always has its own take on things. The Captain America: Civil War meme has been reworked specifically for this Super Bowl bet: 

 

Above image via (x). 

Sorry, Stark. Looks like you’re out of this one so far. But we’ll keep you posted on the outcome of this bet, along with the rest of the Super Bowl. Just like we always do

Who really created Candy The Cat?

I have gotten many comments and messages saying that I stole Candy The Cat’s design from The Return To Freddy’s. All I can do is to prove you wrong.

November 21st 2014
I posted the very first image of Candy The Cat, I had worked on it that day and decided to post it for everybody to see. At the time Candy was just a blue cat-head, and yet he was one of the very first 3D rendered fan-animatronics in the FNAF community.

November 22nd 2014
I posted two more images where Candy now had more realistic shading that also bared resemblance to the glossy shading on the original Toy Animatronics from FNAF 2.

November 23rd 2014
I posted another set of images, I had reworked Candy’s jaw-area to make him look more like the Toy Animatronics, I had also created the upper parts of his body.
Later that day I also posted another image, I had added the “Toy signature” red cheeks to Candy’s face, I had even made “eye-scalers” for his eyes, so they could be re-sized with relative ease.
In the end of the day I posted yet another image, I had also created a red segmental tie for Candy, as I figured a bow-tie would be a little bit un-original…

November 24th 2014
The last image of Candy’s development stage was posted. He now had a fully rigged body with hands and everything. Candy was finished.


That is the story of Candy The Cat. Later I wanted to give him a twin-sister, so I created Cindy The Cat. Eventually I wanted to create more animatronics, and so came Blank, Old Candy, the Penguin, and the others.

My point is; The Return To Freddy’s came out on christmas day (December 25th 2014), which used many of the images of Candy that I had created, calling him “Sugar The Cat”.

The Return To Freddy’s 2, featured a custom-built version of Candy The Cat, again re-titled “Sugar The Cat”, with all the features (blue and white fur, and red tie).

So obviously I created Candy The Cat first, the character, AND the design.

Scorpio- Graveyard witch. According to a zodiac witch post by a user whose URL I can’t remember. Scorpio’s ruling planets are Mars and Pluto. Scorpio’s power stone is topaz. Scorpio’s element is water. I added an image of Loki because I work with him most of the time. I added an image of a solar system watch because I love space and actually center a good part of my philosophical beliefs around space. I might rework this to include an image of Epona, the goddess I was dedicated to at birth. None of the images are mine, credit to original sources.

5

Spolia Tarot update:

We decided that the Hierophant needed a makeover. 

I’ve never really liked any of the traditional Hierophant imagery. It’s too Christianity-based, with the Pope’s blessing (two fingers and thumb up, two fingers down), the mitre hat, the staff with the three bars representing the trinity. 

And I never liked Aleister Crowley’s Thoth version because fuck Aleister Crowley.

There were certain elements Jen May and I wanted to highlight on the card, like how religions all build from and steal from each other. The traditional Pope hat, the mitre, is shaped like Dagon’s hat, the Babylonian sea god. 

And isn’t he beautiful? So we felt it was important for Dagon to live on our card. The lineage has to be acknowledged. 

So the top image is our reworked Hierophant, with Dagon hat, many different expressions of the number Five (H’s number in the tarot, and super important for our understanding of the card’s meaning), and a very secret but significant halo. We didn’t get him totally out of his Christian garb, but we managed to add in the bones of the religions that Christianity stands on.

flickr

Tulip Nebula V2 by Chris Grimmer
Via Flickr:
A rework of this image as wasn’t happy with the previous version. This is a full Hubble Palette image, 3 hours in each Ha, Oiii & Sii William optics GT81 SXVR H694 Mono Ioptron CEM60 Astrodon Filters

The Weird Problem with “Focus”

Richard Brody on the new movie:

[Glenn] Ficarra and [John] Requa have ambitions; their scenaristic cleverness pervades the movie from beginning to end, with their bright and clattery dialogue and their exotic plotting. As directors, their images are inconsequential, uninspired, but undistracting; but directing isn’t only creating images. It’s also a matter of reworking and sometimes opposing a script; it’s an attitude toward the story and the characters, it’s a vision of the world. These directors, who have also written their unintentionally absurd script, don’t open it out when they direct it.