Studio Notes: Day 1


I am documenting my process as I work in the new studio in Harlem:

Today I lay out all of my recent work on a large table. I am seeing the latest figures I’ve painted, gestural and expressionistic, and totally unlike the earlier cartoonish/graphic paintings. When I notice these beside the earlier paintings, I realize a hard tension between a meticulous, cartoon style and energetic, expressionist painting.

It’s not enough. There ought to be no hard tension. I see I can be more joyous. I can keep driving the expressive side of my painting, and keep laughing.

I paint two dogs. The first one is simple and powdery blue. I write on this one “Where did the dream go? Morning Dog”. The other dog is painted in childlike manner, and its paint is thick and crusty.

I paint two hand puppets, a kind of abstract, cartoonish painting. One is kawaii and the other is a Mega Man-like snake head. Typical Johnny Gross style—I am being too self-focused, I think.

“Handpuppets” in the top right corner

“Handpuppets” in the top right corner

Johnny Gross