I know we have been neglecting the hell out of this blog lately, and this site in general, but Dave had a really good idea an idea so good it just might inspire me to do some actual work. His idea was that we, or well since I have already stolen the idea, I, could visit a bunch of different artists in their studios to see how they set up, what processes they use, and the whole way they make their art. Include lots of pictures and an interview and throw the whole thing up on our blog. Great! Who isn’t curious to see how other artists work?
My first visit was with Vincent Comparetto who coincidentally has a show coming up in September at Indyink. I caught him getting ready for it so he explained and took me through part of his process. On the day I visited he was working on the 5 x 7 pieces for the show, for which he had already put together and painted the boards with the background layer.
V: So, the little ones are really fun cause you can whip them out because they are tiny, and then I make bigger ones too.
D: So you draw it and then you put it in the computer, scan it and then, make it into a vector?
V: Yeah,then you know I go cubist on it and you know illustrator is great because you can draw a perfect shape so easily, it like lends itself to it. It takes, the part where you trace takes a little time.
V: A lot of the pieces for the show have a film and cinema theme, but then some of them will be just straight up cities and stuff like that. And there are certain themes. There is a lot of cats. Like there is a cyclops cat in this one.
D:I like cyclops cat
V: And breasts,
D: Lot of cats and breasts
V: Cats and breasts, eyes, this one was fun cause I made like, honestly I should do this more often where there’s just eyes as heads. It’s fun cause you don’t see what it is at first, you have to take it in and then you see like maybe there is smoke swirling around a city and maybe the city is on fire and something like that. And that one is taken directly from a little sketch that sometimes you can see underneath. So here’s another sketch…
V: So then it gets cleaned up
D: And then it gets printed, that machine just makes stencils that are stickers?
V: So basically you make an invert of what you have scanned and cleaned up in the computer, so the negative space is what you are printing through. Then you can stick down and spray paint.
D: So then you have to do a lot of layers on the sticker?
V: Yeah some of them are three color, I mean a lot of the little ones that I am doing today are two color and they go pretty quick, so basically I’ll show you.
V: The last thing I exhibited with you was like weird abstract cities, which is funny, so I am still doing that just in a totally different way.
D: But it was also layers, I mean if you think about it you’re still doing layers and you are still doing abstract cities.
V: I am going to cut this out so it’s kinda fun when it cuts, hopefully it will do a good job and not choke on it.
(Crazy loud printing noises)
D:I like how loud it is, although I bet you don’t
V: So I mean can you imagine how much faster that is than cutting by hand?
D:How long did you cut by hand?
V: For like a year, and I have only been doing this style for like a few years total.
V: Let me get like a tarp and my art supplies. Basically there is a collage portion which gets painted over so a lot of textures. So that is what I was doing yesterday. I work on all the pieces at the same time, so they all start in one stage, together. I paint the boxes first.
D: So they all end up finished at the same time?
V: Yeah, it’s rad actually, you’re like, I don’t have any work done, then you are like oh I have 40 pieces done. I like it, it is a fun process that way. And all the pieces are more consistent.
D: So this is where you work?
V: Well, I have a studio downstairs but I paint outside, spray paint, you know it’s not cool to do inside. I did in the winter time I felt really bad, I had a show, I did it in the laundry room, and put a fan on it, but it is shitty.
V: So this is the little studio
D: So how long have you been in this building?
V: 13 years, yeah like right now, I need to get a better system for my spray paint because…
D: It’s in a Mr. Coffee box?
V: Yeah, this thing broke yesterday
D: You need a better quality box is what you are saying?
V: I can actually work in there and then there is all these like table saws that I drag out. I love the process because you have so many layers. It is fun because you don’t really see the collage that much but it really helps the piece. And then I try to decide what colors I am going for before.
D: Do you try to keep a color theme for a show?
V: I don’t but everyone always says there is one.
D: So you always end up with one but you don’t really try?
V: Yeah cause I like primary colors a lot like reds and blues and those cameras they seem to be looking pretty good in red and blue.
V: Sometimes I work in the laundry room, it makes a really good studio, just painting and touch up stuff. I just use that table and no one seems to care. They are just like oh he is the resident artist that lives here.
V: It actually sucks working on this stuff in the sun. I gotta work real fast. Just kinda stick it like that. Yeah it didn’t stick as good in the sun.
D: Nobody does anything as good in the sun.
V: That is really flimsy It is like melting.
D: Too much negative space for the sun.
V: I’ve had ones that got so fucked up like how am I going to salvage this? But it still works out. I don’t know about this one. We’ll see, it looks Pretty bad. I might wait and try to do it downstairs really fast in the cool laundry room.
D: It is a good thing you have so many areas you can work in.
V: I always forget that about the sun and the stencil You almost have to You have to wait and do them at night.
(Vincent and I proceed to run downstairs to the laundry room, then outside where he does his spray painting, then back upstairs to get more stencils off of the plotter.)
V: The collage is nice because it makes printing uniqueness, like the background collage, because you can do the same print but it is still completely different.
D: The cameras are just one color?
V: That’s one color and then there is the second color and they fit together like a puzzle. You know it is very much like a mosaic puzzle that is what some people have called it. I really actually want to try doing mosaic at some point like the style in tile. I think it would be cool
D: Do you find that there are some stencils that just don’t work at all? Like they don’t come off?
V: Yeah like I have to redesign them. With bridges sort of, like bridges holding the pieces together.
D: I like the speed painting aspect
V: Yeah it’s funny. I almost can’t think of myself as a painter. Because it is like the last part is this super fast speed painting.
Eventually it got to hot for me and I bailed, Vincent said he was not going to work much longer that day, as the sun was playing havoc with the stencils.
Be sure to check out Vincent’s show at Indyink 84 S. Broadway, Denver. Opening reception Friday September 5th, show will run the month of September.