Texas Red Interview


AP: Some critics claim that your symbolic paintings have killed post-modernism. What are your thoughts on that?

TR: I make portraits of the masters of Western consciousness. I brand them, I bring them into my corrals. I honor their genius and make it mine. Every painting is a battleground of wills, a landscape of human nature with all its logic, folly and nuance.  When I portray Picasso through one of his works I honor his dominating personal symbology. My paintings resemble Medieval icons. They’re imperious, designed to force a deeper understanding of life. They certainly don’t entertain. If my work helps American culture forget the irrelevant self-annihilations of post-modernism it would be a pleasant coincidence.

AP:  So you don’t agree with the truths of deconstruction? With the commercial phenomenology of contemporary art?

TR: When the culture is in decline, those who mirror decay have little of interest to say.

A P: What about Banksy?

T R: What about Banksy?

A P: You’re both graffiti artists. You both use stencils and spray but Banksy’s allure comes from the vandal’s identification with working class values. He’s painted against nuclear proliferation, the police state, and the abuse of children. How does his project differ from yours?

TR: I loved his October show in New York. To get 7 million people curious about art every morning was a magnificent artwork.

A P: So you are reactionary.

TR : The world is experiencing a slow and mangled apocalypse right now. Those who follow political fashion will soon lose their ability to follow any fashion. Art is bubbling right now, but its true purpose is to feed the spirit.

AP: Are you saying Banksy…..?.”

TR: I think we agree on the idea of resistance, on the fight against the Apparatus. He’s graphic and I’m….emblematic.

AP: Obviously you can afford it now so why do you still paint on recycled canvases?

TR: The propaganda of the Apparatus is focused on identity. There’s a collective conditioning claiming that everybody  was born today—that the individual has no past, no stories carried on from his ancestors, no possibility of continuity into the future. It’s a freeze-frame of delusion and mind control. I continue to paint over thriftstore finds because each canvas has a specific history. A Northwest landscape with a deer and waterfall, a family portrait at the dinner table, a gaudy attempt to recreate a rock poster—-all these previous efforts give me a chance at transcendence through simple appropriation and coverup. As Heidegger claimed, Being is finding ourselves being. The strokes and texture of a past, both known and unknown, inspire me to improvements. It happens with my own work. The first try seems perfect but passing time suggests it’s not so it gets obliterated by a layer that works better. And the final try is really never final. My “Aphrodite” started out as kindergarten expressionism, became Lady Gaga, and then achieved its present form only after much sweat and deliberation. We’re all born with certain lines and colors. Circumstance and desires continually modify how we think of ourselves. To face the future with confidence we must continually readdress our past. I use blank canvases strictly as a change of pace.

AP: Joseph Ross, the LA psychic who channels famous painters like Dali and Andy Warhol, is a collector of your work. He thinks you have a magic key that unlocks what great artists are trying to say. Do you think such a key is possible?

TR: I can’t say. There is always something alchemical about interpreting another artist’s or thinker’s work. I generally start out with a clear and distict idea of the final look, but in the painting it’s almost always negated, twisted, or in some manner discarded and the result is an accident.

AP: The art market is extremely hot right now, and some say that young artists are providing the content for what marketing executives and brokers have already determined to be the style. Like the mystery novel business, or the country music business. When the form matches the formula, the auction houses light up. What is your opinion of this marketing phenomena.

TR: I’m entirely in favor of a financial market for art, even when it’s manipulated and trivialized by artists like Hirst and Koons. Shocking the bourgoise with calfsblood and kitsch is fundamentally tiresome emphera and like bestselling novels, their art will not be remembered or shape future culture. The attention they draw, however, is useful for artists with something to say and the talent to say it with power.”

AP: Tell us something about your Rockers.

TR: Such as….?

AP: I’ve seen that they’re strarring in a social campaign to “Keep Portland Rockin;!”


AP: Can you explain how they work? How they make you feel beautiful inside?

TR: The physics is rather complicated. I prefer to call it magic.

AP: Is it true that each set is quantum coupled to the one you use?

TR: Yes.

AP: And that the energy fills the room with Beauty.

TR: That’s the intent.





























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