Charlie Boots on his artistic process, Internet romances and why logos inspire him
Editor's note: Artist Charlie Boots is part of the inaugural pair of PAIR residents at Denver's Powerhaüs Studio. As part of his residency, he and his fashion-designing counterpart will be reporting from the real world via Show and Tell, as they learn the ropes from studio mentors Mona Lucero, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy and Jimmy Sellars. Boots's next post follows. And incidentally, applications are now being accepted for the second PAIR residency; visit the website for details.
Charlie Boots, "Sugar Skull."
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As an artist, I am accustomed to questions about why I do what I do.
"What does this mean?" and "How do you come up with this stuff?" When I'm being honest, I respond with the answer, "It means whatever you want it to mean, and I come up with it randomly. Does that matter? Do you like it?"
Sometimes I feel like giving my responses a little more weight, and I can definitely play up the art theory stuff. I'm pretty good at it.
I can take the shoe off your foot and go into an hour-long diatribe about its significance as an object that has shed its identity by being removed from a context in which its utility situates it as being opposed to an object of contemplation and... by doing so, simultaneously challenges historical notations about what constitutes an art object as opposed to a mass-produced good.
Did you get all that? Don't worry if you didn't. It was all bullshit.
That is not to say that my work is meaningless, however. That's not the case at all. What I'm getting at is, I don't make works intended to be the visual equivalents to 900-page essays.
There are times when I sing the lyrics to "Don't Lose Touch" by Against Me! before I paint:
"SOS texted from a cell phone.
Please tell me I'm not the only one
Who thinks we're taking ourselves too seriously.
Just a little too enamored with inflated self-purpose.
Talk is cheap.
And it doesn't mean much.
Don't lose touch."
No. You shouldn't require a philosophy degree to "get" my work. I used to study philosophy as a major, so I should know. Really, the beautiful thing about painting is that diverse, sometimes contradictory, sometimes meaningless or, more often, subtle sources can be drawn upon to create a visually cohesive image. When the question of meaning comes up, the number of interpretations should be unlimited.
"Bazooka," Oil on Linen.
But still, a friend may point out, "There has to be some starting point for an idea!" That never really happens to me. When I think of the Bazooka Bubble Gum logo under a skull blowing a bubble with a fetus in it, you should know that the idea was given to me, complete, in my mind, without any added effort.
It literally just pops in there, I see the image, then I draw it out and refine it.
I think this happens because I have an over-active mind. I don't mean this as "I'm sooooo smart." I mean, I was diagnosed with ADD as a kid (just like everyone else). My mind just goes. I don't think about paintings, but I do analyze day-to-day events in extreme detail. I think these day-to-day events are the basis of what ultimately creates my work.
So! I've decided to give you a glimpse into my process -- should you be interested. What follows are a series of... events (?) or meditations (?) or dreams (?) that inspire my work.
Continue reading for more from Charlie Boots.