You might know Alex Schaffer Czech from the Aqua Cityscape Tee he created for us; Or you might know him from when he used to manage our shop; going out of his way to help us out.
In any case, Alex is one of our favorite people pretty much ever, and he is having a solo show of his artwork at Driftwood Salon.
His art is a culmination of his experiences in the sea. Alex paints the ocean, brilliantly colored paintings patterned after the natural moods of the sea.
Alex, please tell us about this body of work.
Over the course of these last three years I wanted to put together a collection of work that talked about my experiences with bodies of water here on the West coast. Some of the paintings in the show stem from experiences with the Pacific Ocean in Washington State and in San Diego, but most of the work is inspired by the magical moments that I have witnessed around these parts, between Santa Cruz and San Francisco. My paintings represent a particular moment that I observe in a body of water; like a lake, ocean, or stream. When you ride waves or go fishing, there can be a lot of down time where you have the opportunity to observe nature and enjoy the things that unfold before you. I have always been mesmerized by how light penetrates through the different atmospheric conditions to arrive upon a body of water that is naturally activated by wind, current, swell, or direction of flow. Water takes on its color by things like plankton, the geology beneath it, and a combination of the atmospheric conditions. I simply love to watch these meditative interactions take place before me. Often times, I get so wrapped up in wondering how this spectacle is taking place before me and how fortunate I am to be a part of it all that I forget about the stresses that are on mind and I can easily relax! The paintings that I create result from the moments that are a little more out of the norm. What I mean to say is that when I see something that I normally don’t often observe in the water, I have this massive desire to re-create it. It’s difficult to describe how it feels to witness the natural phenomenon. I basically take a mental snap shot and absorb the moment as much as possible. Then, I spend time thinking about the color and the surface texture of the water and eventually re-create that special moment from my memory in my studio. Since the paintings take me so much time to do, eventually “the event” becomes overpowered by my feelings that I experience while I am making the painting. I feel like I am able to capture the actual memory of the water surface pretty quickly, but in time, my imagination takes over and I begin to accentuate the color to communicate my passion for the event that I witnessed.
Who are some of your influences both classic and modern?
I have always respected Turner. He used to sail out on all of these different vessels during his time to specifically observe the ocean for his sea faring paintings that he created. There are stories of him climbing up the mast of these ships during massive storms so that he could witness and experience first hand the power of nature and the angry monstrous seas that it can serve up. If you look at his work, he was a master of how light reacts with water. I also enjoy Winslow Homer’s sea-faring paintings. They really capture the feelings that you have when you are on the big blue sea. I always feel like I can relate to the mood of his work. Then there are guys like Pinkham Ryder and Claude Monet. I like their work not so much for their subject matter, but for their confident mark making. The color palettes they create for each painting are amazing! I can look at their work and have full conversations with them about the pigment in their paint, or how they have the cajones to make a mark to indicate a reflection of light. There are other classic painters, but those are the main ones off the top of my head. I look at a lot of Diebenkorn’s work and have a big spot in my heart for Rothko’s painting. I never get tired of Rothko. I can stare at his work for hours. Of the artists I watch who are alive and well today, there are a ton that influence me. I appreciate Fred Tomaselli’s work. If you ever have a chance to see one of his works of art in person, take the time and make it happen. You will be glad you did. I have always loved one of my teachers work from SFAI, Jeremy Morgan. He does these incredible atmospheric paintings. I can go on and on. I love to watch people create and share their experience here in this life.
How good does it feel to fulfill the goal of completing a solo show?
The short-winded answer … damn good! It’s been an intense three years. I look forward to keep on keeping on. The show is going to be a lot of fun. I look forward to sharing my passion for life with people.
Give us all the opening details please and the links to see your work online-
The show opens at the Driftwood Salon Gallery, here in SF, on Friday, February 4th. The opening will be from 5 to 10 PM. The show is up until February 27th. To close the show down we will be having a BBQ on the 27th. You can go to drfitwoodsalon.com to check their regular gallery hours between these dates if you can’t make the opening. Anthony and Camille run the show there and are lovely people to be involved with. This show will also celebrate their one-year anniversary as a gallery.
If you would like to see more of my work, you can go to ascstudio.com. For the two weeks leading up to the show, I will be blogging heavily and will feature the paintings in my show on my blog. We are shooting all my work this weekend and I plan to put this work on the slide show of my home page on February 1st. I will be selling a limited edition T-shirt showing one of my drawings at the show too. I will be posting the T-shirt design when they are done so folks can have a look before the show.
We plan on having good music, amazing food (we are trying to have HAPA come out and park their truck in front), and always good conversation. I look forward to seeing everyone. Thanks Aleks for all the love and support. I want to send a shout out to Devin and the Aqua crew too. You guys are a great family to be a part of. I truly appreciate everything you do for me.