Nestled in the heart of Hollywood near the Sunset Strip, artist Gregory Siff blasts rap music in his cluttered studio apartment and works at a zealous pace nearly matching the rhythmic flow of the lyricist he's listening to. The walls are crawling with hand written inspirational notes: "Every King Needs His Crown" and "I am a Hand Made Man" are just a few phrases penned to keep the creative juices in abundance. Artwork from friends adorn the space as visual memories of events, places and the people he calls 'family'. The atmosphere compliments Siff's work perfectly: raw, imperfect, and utterly real.
As I observed him work in his minimal palette of black, red, blue, and yellow, I was amazed at how effortless it all seemed. Siff's method is controlled and yet fluid. His pen rarely leaves the canvas as he creates his signature faces - one continuous line from start to finish. It's fascinating to watch because at first glance it is full abstraction, but once you look closer varied personalities are revealed. Descriptive text such as "Loco", "Pimp", "Wild", and "Soul" are given to each figure to further communicate to his audience.
In fact, these lexicons are a prominent theme in Siff's work and he will often fill an entire work with internalized messages of hopes, fears, or what happened last Saturday night. The feeling is that these canvases are acting as his personal journals documenting his existence in Los Angeles and his childhood roots in New York. With titles such as 'Revenge on Hollywood, I Will Have My Starry Night' and 'Conversations at a Party', everything is personal and nothing is hidden. Siff lays it out there for us to live vicariously, judge, and love.
* check out Siff's work in person at Design Matters Gallery for the upcoming "Word Play" exhibit opening June 29th