To Brooklyn, New York based artist Dan Witz, the mosh pit is a place of savage beauty. Featured here on our blog, the longtime street artist, who was in his own punk band, combines his passion for art and the energy of the hardcore music scene in his “Mosh Pit” series. He slows down the chaos of the nightclub from the musician’s perspective into paintings that are strangely primal, focused on both the private and collective experience.
“I discovered in my museum wanderings – especially in the epic baroque multi-figure pieces – that painting actually had plenty of potential for the adrenaline and animalistic frenzy I craved. The action, especially in the large set pieces by Rubens, Brueghel, and Bosch can be dizzying, sometimes it even manages to achieve an almost punk-rock pitch of chaos and catharsis,” he says.
Though he works from photographs and is widely considered a hyperrealist painter, Witz isn’t all that interested in copying reality so much as the cathartic existence of his subjects: “I want to create a believable world that takes you inside of it,” he explains. Newer works continue to portray the mania of mosh pits but also depict rave scenes, particularly Brite Nite, and the swirling naked bodies of an orgy.
“I’m an academic realist painter, but I’m living in the 21st century, so I’m not going to be painting Roman soldiers invading, or some gothic baroque composition… The highest aspiration of an academic realist painter are these big group figure paintings, and I’m using the hardcore scene as my subject.”