Before Downtown LA was cleaned up and made habitable for non-crackheads, The Brewery was one of the only places worth visiting. Sitting next to the LA River, The Brewery is a collection of industrial buildings and warehouses turned into artist live/work spaces. Pretty sure some of the people at The Brewery can be categorized as “Burning Man” types waiting for the mothership to pick them up…. or rich Sunday painters living the “artist” lifestyle. But, all jokes aside, there are actually a handful of artists living and working here who contribute to LA’s thriving art community. One of those individual’s is longtime friend, artist, and curator Max Presneill who was gracious enough to open up his studio to us right before he moved everything to his new space. But, before we get to Max’s studio lets poke around The Brewery…..
(Like I said, Burning Man types…)
Amazing metal bridge connecting two buildings.
What goes better with graffiti than hand painted shark tooth canoes?
So, here is Max surrounded by literally hundreds of his paintings, talking about his painting process. His work is not only layered and dense with color/imagery but Max primarily works life size or larger. I haven’t seen his new studio yet but I hope he has ample storage.
Each of Max’s paintings have a rich story and narrative that he uses as a springboard for the work. The painting on the left was based on a portrait of Billy The Kid. It’s hard to tell from this photo but the painting is extremely layered. The paint weaves in and out of the figure, creating depth and flattening the space all at the same time.
No material is safe in the work. Spray paint has equal weight as oil with the surfaces. It’s so thick that the paint starts to sag.
Max has a rule that a painting isn’t finished while it sits in his studio. He continuously works and reworks the images. Some paintings are finalized in a few weeks, while others have been worked on for years.
Back to back…
More back to back paintings…
So many paintings that some are even called “Back To Back To Back.”
Max breaking down the various levels of the narrative in a large work.
After walking us through what seemed like 50 paintings in the front room, Max took us back into his actual studio, where there was a massive work in progress.
The above is a mock up of a Théodore Géricault’s Raft Of Medusa, which Max is basing his epic painting on. The work is so large that Max has to work on it panel by panel, never seeing the completed work until it hangs for his show at Edgar Varela Fine Arts.
Nice detail of one of the panels.
Studio references and inspiration.
A work of this scale takes oil paint of epic proportions.
When you’re studio floor looks like this you know you’re doing something right. Thanks for the visit Max!