Todd Schorr will be signing copies of his retrospective book “Never Lasting Miracles” at SINBIN/Halfling Studios in Portland next week. The 11,000-square-foot maker space is owned by Sandy Bodecker, Nike’s VP of special projects. Bodecker and Nike CEO Mark Parker are longtime collectors and supporters of Schorr’s work, and pieces in Bodecker’s collection will be on display at the event. “Never Last Miracles” was reviewed in Hi-Fructose Vol. 46.
The signing/release party arrives Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. Ahead of the event, we talked to Schorr about the 8-pound tome, collecting 30 years of the artist’s work.
Hi-Fructose: Your book offers some rare insight into the creations of some of these paintings. Can you describe what it’s like to let people into your process in such an intimate way?
Todd Schorr: For certain paintings like “The Sphinx of Lower Slobbovia,” which highlights an obscure historical moment, it helps with the viewers understanding to provide some back story. For other paintings however, the scenarios might have more to do with something that has deeper personal connections. For works like those I prefer to keep explanations to a minimum and let the viewer draw their own conclusions. I feel I’ve provided enough visual clues in my careful choice and depiction of the elements in my paintings that explanation seems like overkill. Besides, I’ve had some very amusing conversations with viewers who have come up with totally different interpretations for paintings than what I had intended.
HF: Can you tell me about the title of your latest book, “Never Lasting Miracles”?
TS: It’s mentioned in my Artists Statement at the beginning of the book, but to elaborate a little on that, as I’ve gotten older and I think this is true of anyone who’s been around the block awhile, you begin to see so much in life as bittersweet. You have your fond memories mixed with the various trials and tribulations that is life. I believe we only have this one ticket to the carnival and then it’s over so you realize it’s a miracle to even be alive just as all of nature is miraculous and I don’t mean in any religious way. But all miracles eventually wither and die. The title is meant to be melancholy.
HF: The book is immense, yet there is still a great amount of curation involved in compiling this retrospective, with some never-seen paintings. Can you tell me about your involvement with that process?
TS: The selections in the book were entirely of my own editing and choosing. A few years ago my publisher stopped reprinting my previous three books so we determined that it would be appropriate to publish a large overview that would include the best of my earliest work up to the latest unpublished works. Over thirty years of painting.
HF: Pop elements from your childhood/teenager years appears throughout your work. How would you describe your relationship to pop culture today?
TS: I have little interest in the pop culture of today. I have much more interest in social evolution and how it relates to pop culture. The pop culture elements that appear in my paintings are based on childhood influences so for the most part it’s pop culture from the first half of the 20th century, 1900-1960’s. Just as important is my ongoing interest in world history and paleoanthropology.
Additional images from the book: