Chris Gentes

August 19, 2011

DONDI graffiti acrylic painting

Filed under: no category — Tags: , , , , , , , , — chrisgentes @ 4:03 pm
DONDI graffiti acrylic painting

DONDI graffiti acrylic painting

Update Oct. 1, 2013: Very grateful that Duro stopped by and posted this message:

“Hey This is Duro just wanted to shout you out for the Dondi painting, thanks I will post it on my Dondi page.”

Take some time (as I am and will be doing) and look at Duro’s link.

I painted this back when I had taken out a Dondi book from the library and was studying his line drawings. That was also the same time period when I first started photographing the local graffiti. Some of Dondi’s letters really connected to me on a visceral level. I don’t have synthesia–the ability to see music or taste color–and in a way I’m glad I don’t; however, if I did, I would guess it is akin to the sensation I get when I look at some of Dondi’s letterings.

I remember one night when I couldn’t sleep, I decided to take that block of time  to try and draw some of Dondi’s letterings in a sketchbook. I’ve got that drawing somewhere  – not that it is any good, but it is interesting to see the process – I will have to find it – it may take several months. I’m in the process of organizing my studio that I share with Heather. Anyway, I remember that night trying to draw some of Dondi’s lettering that I really liked and how I was thinking two things – what am I looking at, and what am I drawing. It was usually 2 different things – what I thought I saw was not what was there. And I remember looking at the style – some really great letters.

I did this painting from a photo in the Dondi book from the library. I remember thinking at the time that it would be the easiest of Dondi’s lettering to try and imitate. I had been thinking of doing a series of paintings based on photos of tags I’d taken. Then I got more and more drawn in to all the train details and I don’t feel like I finished, but this looks pretty good to me two years later. At the time I felt there was more to do on it and tucked it away somewhere – now it is lost in my studio – only 5×7 inches on gesso board.

I remember thinking about what Mark said about how when he was just hanging out painting and drawing with Dondi – maybe I read it somewhere, but I thought maybe he said it to me when he was here painting the mural. I am going to take that book out again.  Thanks Duro, now I’m kind of thinking of some of these letterings and I am doing small paintings again – maybe have to combine those two and revisit the idea of painting some of the graff photos I’ve taken here in Northampton the past few years.  This is the book I took out – I’m pretty sure it is this one.







this is from 2011: I wanted to paint this because I want to do paintings of graffiti, and I liked this picture. This was a test to work out some things with painting with acrylics. This is 5×7 inches on gessoboard. I picked this image because the graffiti part seemed pretty straightforward and the rest of the train looked easy to paint.

As I progressed I soon realized that the picture had a lot of detail – down to the smallest rivets on the train, and I began to push up against the wall of what I could physically recreate with the paint. So midway I really didn’t want to continue, but I forced myself. I could probably go in more and add detail and tweak it, but I came away from it with what I was looking for. If I am going to do this series of paintings of graffiti, then I need to decide what size and how much detail. I like working on the small size canvas, but the details get so much smaller than if you kept the same detail on a larger canvas.

I treated this almost like a watercolor – lots of transparent layers, trying to build up the darks with cool-warm-cool layers.

Whenever I finish a painting I can’t see it with a fresh eye, because of the intimacy of spending so much time with each minute area. I have to forget it and look at it in a month or two when I no longer remember all the things that I was working on getting right. Like the shadow under the vents on the roof should be half as thick, but that is so minute as it is, and nobody probably will notice anyway.

I should have painted the train without the graffiti first, and then added the graffiti over that – ha ha that would have been cool.

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1 Comment »

  1. Hey This is Duro just wanted to shout you out for the Dondi painting, thanks I will post it on my Dondi page.

    Comment by Duro Cia Top — September 29, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

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