JOE SORREN

RadarStation: What is your favorite medium and what about this medium helps you achieve your desired look? Joe Sorren: First, thank you for including me in this issue. It is really cool to see what you guys are upto over there. As far as medium of choice, I prefer oil painting. I worked in acrylic my first 10 years of painting, and still do from time to time. But after I started playing with oils in 2004, painting grew another dimension of interest for me. What I mean is, if you consider painting to be a recording of movement through space within time, then the energy brought to those movements (brushstrokes) communicate the intention of those movements (similar to the timbre of a sound in music), becoming another voice of which to communicate visually within the painting, like a soundtrack to a movie. When I started to play with this idea, I found that you could create tension and release throughout the image that could harmonize or foil with the representational elements happening within the work. RS: Are there any rituals you have to the creative process? JS: My strange pre-painting preparation is creating a sort of'white noise' in my headphones. What I like to do is put on some music, really low, then a youtube concert of other music, blended low, throw some political speeches, old and new, on really low and add an audiobook at medium volume per the top. Some days I will layer loads of music and spoken word files, other times just one or two, depending on the day. Its weird sounding, but this method kind of hypnotizes me into entrainment and I fall into the work with ease. RS: Who was the first artist(s) that had a major impact on the way you see and/or create art? JS: I always felt that it was important to create work that had space for kindness to live. I think it's a sensibility I learned from Jim Henson (rest in peace) at a very early age. Those seasons I first saw in the early-mid seventies were not completely limited-character driven in the muppet scenes, with many different types of creatures and people showing up and being tried out. You never knew what was coming next, but you did know, at the core of it, was going to be from a place of good. RS: Are there any creative outlets or mediums you have not worked with yet but hope to in the future?  

RadarStation: What is your favorite medium and what about this medium helps you achieve your desired look?

Joe Sorren: First, thank you for including me in this issue. It is really cool to see what you guys are upto over there. As far as medium of choice, I prefer oil painting. I worked in acrylic my first 10 years of painting, and still do from time to time. But after I started playing with oils in 2004, painting grew another dimension of interest for me. What I mean is, if you consider painting to be a recording of movement through space within time, then the energy brought to those movements (brushstrokes) communicate the intention of those movements (similar to the timbre of a sound in music), becoming another voice of which to communicate visually within the painting, like a soundtrack to a movie. When I started to play with this idea, I found that you could create tension and release throughout the image that could harmonize or foil with the representational elements happening within the work.

RS: Are there any rituals you have to the creative process?

JS: My strange pre-painting preparation is creating a sort of'white noise' in my headphones. What I like to do is put on some music, really low, then a youtube concert of other music, blended low, throw some political speeches, old and new, on really low and add an audiobook at medium volume per the top. Some days I will layer loads of music and spoken word files, other times just one or two, depending on the day. Its weird sounding, but this method kind of hypnotizes me into entrainment and I fall into the work with ease.

RS: Who was the first artist(s) that had a major impact on the way you see and/or create art?

JS: I always felt that it was important to create work that had space for kindness to live. I think it's a sensibility I learned from Jim Henson (rest in peace) at a very early age. Those seasons I first saw in the early-mid seventies were not completely limited-character driven in the muppet scenes, with many different types of creatures and people showing up and being tried out. You never knew what was coming next, but you did know, at the core of it, was going to be from a place of good.

RS: Are there any creative outlets or mediums you have not worked with yet but hope to in the future?

 

JS: Yes! Working with animation and marble sculpture, but not necessarily at the same time.

RS: Many of your paintings resonate a tangible yet out of reach dream world type quality. Like a good fairy tale it feels like the world you have created continues to exist, going about its business even when we aren't watching it. Where did the idea of this world originate?

Do you ever dream of your created world?

JS: Not really. The way I found this world was by letting reference go and painting what I remember things looking like in real life. For me, it is much more fun and interesting to be painting, and finding something in the paint that looks vaguely like a Vespa at night on some lonesome highway, being lit only by the stars and an exploding telephone pole. This sort of approach; creating the narrative while simultaneously creating the actual painting. It's how I keep the act of painting exciting and fresh for myself. I always refer to Stephen King's incredible book, 'On Writing'. In this book he talks of throwing away plot and instead write from character. The motives in the characters will naturally drive the narrative without 'your brain' getting in the way. This is an idea that transfers well to painting, I think.

RS: Your sculptures are an extension of this dream world, yet the aesthetic is somewhat different from your paintings. Talk about the differences in your approach and workflow in terms of sculpture.

It has been a few years since I have had the opportunity to work with bronze, which I very much look forward to getting back to in time. I think the nature of being responsible for how a sculpture works with gravity and the physical elements (as opposed to the no-rules aspect of physics in painting) makes me think differently about composition and form. For example, with painting, I can use form in impossible ways to resolve composition or increase the flow of a painting, whereas there are different, more self-contained considerations when you are working in three dimensions. Someday, I would like to have a space big enough to be able to get back to playing with sculpture on a larger scale.

 

Read More from Joe Sorren in the Summer 2015 issue of RadarStation!