I've been planning a group exhibition at the café in Inwood that I curate art shows for. I've asked some of my favorite artists that I've either met or blogged about this past year to participate in this show. Grace Knowlton, David Provan, Gretchen Kane, Jacqueline Sferra Rada, Karin Dando-Haenisch, David Bernstein, and PD Packard have all agreed to exhibit their art along with Douglas Florian. I picked up two paintings from Douglas' studio in Hell's Kitchen this past Wednesday. In case you don't know Douglas is an accomplished children's book writer and illustrator (I included a few images of his illustrations).
Douglas is a super nice guy. He has no ego, nothing to prove to himself or others, and he's great listener. I asked him who some of his favorite artists were and he replied Paul Klee and William Hawkins; one artist that champions outsider art, and the other a genuine outsider artist. I also asked him how his children's book illustrations and his paintings relate. He told me that he thinks of them as two different bodies of work; he typically works on illustrations for a long stretch of time and then works on his paintings for a long stretch of time. He does not work on both simultaneously.
Another curious thing I learned about Douglas' work is that he often uses gessoed brown paper bag to paint on. He almost exclusively uses this surface for creating drawings, but has chosen to do most of his paintings on wood... Sometimes on wood that he has found and sometimes on wood that he has bought new. However, both his paintings and drawings express a love for texture, abstracted form, humor, and centered composition. I too share those interests of his.
Douglas Florian is one of my favorite artists. I am very happy that, even though he is represented by Bravin Lee, he has agreed with enthusiasm to show two paintings at Indian Road Cafe started next week and showing till January 15th.