New Paintings by Geoffrey Greene

New Paintings by Geoffrey Greene

When I was a kid, my best friend could draw a perfect motorcycle. He'd pick up a pencil and with a few precise strokes induce an ideal “hog” to appear on the blank page. Furthermore, his motorcycle was always exactly perfect and always the same, like a machine had drawn it - you could almost hear the thing roar. This excited something akin to envy in me and I wanted like hell to reproduce that drawing, but my attempts never came out right. As I tried again and again, my drawings began to change. Soon they weren't even motorcycles any more, but began morphing into horses or birds shooting flames from their beaks or naked women... extremely frustrating!

Yet one day, looking over my abject failures, an idea hit me: maybe what I was doing was not failure. “Always the same, always perfect”… might not be what art is. I struggled to understand my own thoughts: my friend’s bike was way cool but it was finished, closed off, sealed. It was actually dead in a way - it came out exactly the same every time and would never bust free and grow into anything else. It would never sneak in through the backdoor of your head, as I realized my drawings - flabby and imperfect as they were - had the power to do. That realization was what laid the foundation for my philosophy of art and it has stuck with me to this day.

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