CHRISTOPHER BECKMAN STUDIO VISIT
Christopher Beckman recently invited us to his gorgeous midtown studio. Having steadily made a name for himself in the art world over the past few years, Beckman spoke with us about his reverse painting process, the performative aspect of his work, and his love for working with untraditional materials.
1. Can you explain your reverse painting process and not actually seeing what you’re painting while you’re painting it?
Sure, so when you buy plexiglass it comes with a protective layer on both sides that is somewhat opaque. I peel off the layer on the side I paint on leaving the opposite side covered. So this means I am painting on the reverse side of how I intend the artwork to be seen. Only when my artwork is in front of an audience do I see the painting from the intended side with the final protective layer pealed off. The performance aspect of working this way is the discovery of seeing something for the first time. This way of working from the inside out and the anticipation of the unknown forces me to be uncomfortable and it helps me to be able to let go.
2. What’s been the most interesting thing that you’ve discovered while developing this technique?
Do you remember the old Polaroid pictures? I love them, it has very much that same feeling of excitement when you peal it back to reveal the photo.
3. What themes are you currently exploring?
I appreciate the discipline that is required of my current performance based process of painting. The performance is not letting anyone see what I have painted (even myself) until revealing the artwork in front of an audience. In doing so, I am able to share the experience of viewing my work for the first time.
4. You have another body of work that repurposes old paintings and scraps of paper pulled from the trash, how did this come about?
I got tired of painting on traditional material like canvas and I was so inspired by the types of material that I found while walking around NYC. You’d be surprised at the things you can repurpose.
5. How did you begin working with screens and mesh?
I constantly work on new materials and incorporate new ways of making work. It’s hard to say exactly when it started. It even goes back to my first memories of painting.
6. Can you tell us about your recent collaboration with The Room x Stephanie Seymour?
The Room FW15 came about organically over a dinner conversation about how art influences fashion and vice versa. So when The Room decided to work with Stephanie Seymour by integrating art with the fashion campaign I of course jumped at the opportunity to do something exciting – the final result is something I am so proud of.