Weldon Arts Interview with Cassius Fouler. His solo exhibition, Four Boro, opens on Thursday, July 12th.
What inspires you to paint?
Working on canvas is the most literal form of “art”. I think the thing with painting is the simplicity. Or the literal connection between canvas and art. It’s [a] passive non-functional role in a space. I’m young, living recklessly in New York so the timeless stereotypical themes apply to my paintings; a healthy thirst for drugs, alcohol, food, sex, violence, conversation, attention, money, status, instant gratification, etc. Desires and aversions.
How does living in New York City impact your work?
New York’s story is the entire world’s story. I’m drawn to the social desperation, the entropy, the ignorance. New York is very good at [containing all of] these things. I paint New York City quite literally; a straight forward fragmented rendition [with] an obvious personal twist. It seems right now more than ever [that] I’m illustrating a novel with no text.
In 2010 you made a painting called “Graffiti Versus Street Art”. As an artist who puts work on the street and exhibits in galleries, what are your thoughts on the art world?
I don’t pay much attention. Like everything else, the art world has its good and bad points. I just make paintings and drawings because I can’t stop. I’m not sure if I would include Street Art or Graffiti as being part of the art world. It’s clear that not much ground breaking work is coming out of street artists, and writers don’t care about anything except writing their names over and over.
Are your paintings self-portraits?
Not really although many scenarios are personal. I often do portraits of friends and people in my life. Usually substituting people’s addictions for their features.
What were you like as a kid?
Hyper active. Sillier. I started scribbling on my school around 7th grade. I was always into drawing but never took it too seriously until I experienced painting through graffiti.
What do you want viewers to take away from you work?
Whatever they want. It’s personal but I don’t make the pieces impossible to decipher. No one remembers the same night the same way. People can have their own version or they can have none at all. My particular aesthetic is definitely not the kind of thing people here in New York City are used to, so I hope at least people can be confused or not care at all.