Friday, August 20, 2010

American Genius-My 3 Short Films On The Baltimore Artist Larry Scott

Baltimore painter/artist Larry Scott (1957-2007)-photo credit: Barry Michael Cooper/2003
By Barry Michael Cooper

Larry Scott was a self-taught, prolific, and imaginative fine artist and painter who died in November of 2007. In my opinion, he was on his way to becoming the next Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francis Bacon, Egon Shiele, even Pablo Picasso. His work is nothing short of phenomenal. From time to time, I will post a few short films featuring Larry Scott. I feel Blessed to have known him. He was a great friend and human being. GOD Rest his soul.

Below is an excerpt of a 15 June 2005 story written by Baltimore City Paper art critic J. Bowers, on one of Scott's exhibitions titled "Evolution of Depression":
As artists go, Larry Scott is a quiet presence . If he’s hanging around Sub-Basement Art Studios, the massive gallery tucked beneath the 100 block of North Howard Street, when you visit The Evolution of Depression, his equally enormous one-man show of recent work, he’ll shadow you unobtrusively, offering opinions and creative insights when he feels like it, softly folding his hands together when he doesn’t.

“That’s my portrait of Emmett Till,” he murmurs, as you stop beside a painting of a young man smeared into unrecognizable patches of black, red, and yellow, surrounded by newspaper clippings about the civil-rights martyr’s recent exhumation. “I was reading the stories in USA Today about Till. When I was a kid I went with my dad to the barbershop, and he handed me a magazine that had pictures of Till in it, what they did to him. I never forgot that, and I think that’s why he showed it to me, so I wouldn’t forget about it.”

Self-taught, Scott’s masterful paintings and drawings evoke wildly different associations as you move from piece to piece—Matisse, Picasso, Basquiat, Kerry James Marshall, Ralph Steadman. And his life has been just as chameleonic as his style. Newark, N.J.-raised and Baltimore-based, the former world karate champion, saxophone player, and business management major forsook his day job to paint full-time during the early ’90s. He’s been a player on the American contemporary urban art scene ever since, quenching his thirst for constant innovation with acrylics, oils, collage, inks, watercolors, sand, pebbles, found objects, brushes, twigs used as brushes, and anything else he can get his hands on.

The prolific results of Scott’s most recent experiments are given plenty of breathing room in Sub-Basement Studios’ vast underground space. The title series, “Evolution of Depression,” is a particular highlight. Consisting of 200 India ink drawings completed over the course of two weeks, the series illustrates a dark time in Scott’s life with harrowing subconscious imagery, rendered expertly with jagged, erratic lines. Babies being born share face time with knives piercing heads, phallic symbols, gaping red vaginas, chickens transforming into human hands, pig-headed figures, and stiletto heels. Some were painted upside-down, or sideways, and dribbled with diluted paint. Viewers may find “Evolution of Depression’s” raw mix of eroticism and brutality confrontational, but that’s to be expected—for Scott, it was a form of therapy.
(Click here to read the rest of the story on the website. Below are three of my short films on Larry Scott)

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