What is an art show?
If there is a pat answer to that question, artist Craig Drake wants to change it. I saw an article that featured him and his upcoming installation at the Hero Complex in Los Angeles. I was immediately drawn to his work due to his obvious Nagel influence (see above). Drake's work features clean lines, negative space, movement, and predilection for alabaster women...just as Nagel did. The show itself is described at the article in these terms:
“The sight, the sound and the manner in which you view and experience the artwork will be completely different,” said gallery co-owner Adam Smasher. “Think mood and atmosphere, special lighting, a soundtrack for the experience.”
Looking over his work, Drake's main motif seems to be pop culture, specifically geek culture. I was somewhat disappointed by it. The subject matter, I mean, not his renditions. I would rather see an artist with his obvious talent really explode on the media and create new work. I mean be truly original, abstract even, and not parrot back what we're seeing every day in movies and video games and so forth. Why add to what's already out there?
Then it hit me. What did the artists who might be termed "the old masters" once do? They painted scenes from the bible and from classical mythology. Might that not be the popular culture of their time? If they were lauded for holding a mirror up to their culture and rendering the reflection to canvas, can I fault Drake for doing the same? What's more, wasn't Nagel doing the same in his own way? That's what artists do. And if I can stop scratchy the elbow patches on my tweedy blazer for just long enough, I can see that fact.
I also hadn't realized how many of his Star Wars renditions I've admired and downloaded. They are indeed smart, fresh takes on my favorite mythos, combining the somewhat purity of my Star Wars with the decadent and somewhat dirty sensibilities of my upbringing in the Eighties.
So he is creating something new. I don't know what I was complaining about.
Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets