Phoenix Art Space will be shutting down in 2014 after 8 years of operation.
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Colton BrockUpon entering the older parts of the city, one notices subtle changes, not only in environment, but also in mood. The old city contrasts with the encroaching newness of mass-produced lifestyles. One can sense the atmosphere and personality of the people and structures sheering against impending progress. In this place character and quality have broad foundations, the type of which cause old men to say such cliche's as, gee they don't build em' like that anymore! In this place the roots of the past run deep and the smell of history seeps from every pore of the urine stained marble and every minute crack in the decrepit, newsprint riddled concrete sidewalks. In this place humanity can still be found to be connected under a shadowy drapery of telephone and electric wires.
Everyday I drive from where I live in the older city to newer parts of the town and back, constantly being confronted by the polarity in the types of businesses, ethnic diversities, languages and standards of living. When moving from the old to the new one experiences a noticeable loss in...lets just call it flavor. While the new outskirt developments are clean, predictable, wealthy and fashionable; they are at the same time, many other things. Monotonous, tedious, tiresome, at times mind numbing; and in my opinion, depressing. At the same time, while what areas many faux-Phoenicians would affectionately suggest as being a ghetto are dusty, grimy, ridden with crime, drugs, and, god forbid, non-English speakers; these areas are time tested, mature communities, which have paid their social dues to both the city at large and the local population. The faint aroma of food cooking at sunset, the far off noise of car horns and mariachi, and the view of our small downtown skyline over the trees culminates in an atmosphere that cannot be duplicated with fake, sterile desert landscaping.
While each city I visit and explore encompass their own unique characteristics regarding physical and aesthetic attributes; the more one travels, the more one notices just how similar they, in fact, are. That is really what these cities (small and large, alike) are- locations containing slightly varying sights, smells, colors, temperatures and atmospheres, which cannot be truly conveyed in a more generic landscape depiction. One must decipher how to truly convey the message or meaning of the landscape. This can be done by drawing from personal memories and emotions, and subsequently conveying those ideas through color, composition, subject matter, and so forth. The process is always subjective, even if your finished product is striving for an objective appearance. This also ties in a lot to working from drawings and photographs, as opposed to the real thing (which would not be possible in many circumstances). The photograph is useful in assisting my memory in the technical aspects of these jumbled metropolitan messes, and as the great illustrator Robert Crumb once said of these wire and light filled Closter phobic spaces, “You can’t make this stuff up.’ The ultimate goal for me in making a landscape piece is to connect with viewer through his or her own memories, and through these memories forge a meaningful relationship.
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