Brad Siskin, a Savannah Born and raised artist, brings his 1980s upbringing to the walls of Stonelords Boutique.
Siskin’s exhibition “Pony Boy”— named after the 1983 Teen Drama “The Outsiders”—is currently on display at Stonelords Boutique at 415 Whitaker Street.
The exhibition is made up of 19 crayon and marker drawings and five highly-rendered paintings, all stemming from the influence of the artists’ childhood.
He and his old grade-school classmate, Rosalie Morris, who is also the owner of Stonelords Boutique, combed through hundreds of art pieces that Siskin had drawn and painted over the past several years. Together they curated a selection of works that in various ways referenced the decade of his upbringing.
“We thought that this would be a fun show,” Siskin said. “Speaking for ourselves and the community [we thought] it would be nice to have an exhibition on the lighter side given the state of things the last couple of years.”
The highly detailed paintings chosen for the exhibition juxtapose the nearly free-formed drawings with just two common similarities at first glance. Siskin points out that the similarities between both the paintings and the drawings are that each piece is a singular isolated form on a blank, neutral canvas.
“I spent 2014 making paintings based on photographs I had digitally composed and altered,” Siskin’s artist statement reads. “I was interested in subverting popular imagery, to humorous or absurd effect, with the goal of simultaneously exploring my culture and neuroses.”
The paintings were made with a French brand of acrylic vinyl paint called Flashe that is a highly pigmented paint that dries to a matte, velvety finish.
On the other hand, the creation of the 19 drawings chosen for the exhibition were approached in the same manner that the artist had approached drawing when he was a kid: largely devoid of intention.
“When I went primarily to drawing in 2016... I stopped using external visual references so basically I’m just working from imagination now and I try—I don’t always succeed—but I try not to be too deliberate with the drawings,” Siskin shared. “Meaning that when I sit down to draw which I do everyday, I start drawing without thinking too much about what I’m drawing.”
The artist said that these drawings such as the headline work “Pony Boy” and “Unicorn” were more improvisational and meditative, having more of a sedating effect on him.
When asked “what makes these drawings works of art?” particularly in comparison to his more intentional work and other common styles of art viewed in sophisticated galleries, Siskin answered simply.
“When you start thinking in terms of ‘how will the work be perceived,’ that’s a dangerous place for the artist to be,” Siskin said. “So regarding my own work recently, particularly now with the drawings, I don’t really care how my work is perceived. The act of drawing for me now is a fairly necessary part of my routine, just like you might go to the gym everyday to keep your body in shape, I draw everyday for an hour simply because it’s something I need to do.”