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An Interview with Seth Armstrong

Oakland, CA based artist Seth Armstrong will be opening his latest show, "Another Thing Coming" this Saturday, May 14th at Gallery Heist in San Francisco. To celebrate the occasion, another one of our favorite Bay Area artists, Brett Amory, sat down with Armstrong for a few questions, full interview and survey of the new works below.

Oakland, CA based artist Seth Armstrong will be opening his latest show, “Another Thing Coming” this Saturday, May 14th at Gallery Heist in San Francisco. To celebrate the occasion, another one of our favorite Bay Area artists, Brett Amory, sat down with Armstrong for a few questions, full interview and survey of the new works below.

How would you describe your work to someone? What are you trying to communicate to the viewer?

Unreal stuff happening to real stuff.  I’m attracted to little details and compositions that reveal an almost surreal subject within an otherwise normal environment.  I’m trying to entertain the viewer.

What and who have influenced your work?

My friends and peers are the strongest influence on my work.  Them and Mrs. Mealiffe, the greatest high school art teacher on earth. Without her, I may have been a cop.

Can you describe your process for creating new work?

I like to drink a ton of coffee and think of crazy colors to combine with images that appeal to me.  I either stumble upon these images or I create them.

Working routine?

I sit down and mix a ton of colors.  Then I paint these colors until I’ve exhausted them.  Then I sit down and mix some more, different colors.  I do this all day long until something else comes up.

Tools of the trade?

Paint, something covered in primer, brushes, and food.

As an artist what do you want to be remembered for?

A sense of humor.

Whats your favorite color?

Yellow ochre

What time of day do you usually paint?

Anytime after 10 am.

Music? If so what type of music gets you in the mood?

Lately the Beastie Boys, Ottis Redding, Outkast, Jamaraqui, and Paul Simon.

Can you talk a little bit about your process. Your compositions have a broken or montaged look to them. Do you put your compositions together from multiple sources and what sort of tools if any are you using, Photoshop etc?

I do sometimes combine sources into one image.  I do so either directly on the canvas, or by sketching a rough before hand.  Any color decisions are also made while painting, or while staring at it for ever.

I know a lot of your work is inspired from black and white photographs and you make up the color. Is this why the light in your paintings feels artificial or you can’t really place what time of day it is. 

Yes.  I’m drawn to images with highly contrasting values, whether black and white or color.  I’m also interested in stage productions and movies, and try to emulate that dramatic or theatrical light in my work.

Your work reminds me of painters that are apart of the “New Leipzig School” do you look at these painters and are they influential on your work?

Neo Rauch is the coolest colorist this side of the Danube. 

Are you Santa Claus?

I will be.

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