“An Authentic Truth” is a concept and an idea to make art in a technique i call Plein Aire Graffiti. i am using methods of traditional Plein Air painting (open-air painting) and combining it with traditions of Graffiti (markings on a surface) and Street Art expressions. In doing so, i’m disrupting both creative practices. Plein Air paintings are typically landscape paintings painted outdoors on canvas and easels with oils and/or acrylic paints. Graffiti/Street Art is usually done anonymously, without permission, during the cover of night with a focus on letters, names, and messages painted with spray paint.
In my practice, i am painting on an easel (JamWall™) and canvas during daylight hours in full public view, on highly populated street corners, open lots, boulevards, fields, etc., and painting traditional Graffiti Art motifs of stylized letterforms. It's a performance piece, where anyone may watch and witness the art being created. Once i’m finished, the art may stay in place for a few hours or overnight for public viewing and/or drying time. Canvases are reclaimed later and prepped for gallery exhibitions.
i’m not painting in the traditional technique of Plein Air because i’m not painting a landscape. i am painting in the aesthetics of Graffiti, but in full public view, on my own setup without trespassing and committing illegal acts. i’m disrupting both crafts and creating a new concept, style, and idea of art that expresses the action of painting, a performance, and public attention in a pop-up style event. People may witness graffiti painted right in front of them or see the result during an art show.
i am also introducing an abstract element to this work. As i exercise Graffiti Writing techniques on canvas, i also erase parts of it by a process called The Buff. The erasure of graffiti is usually done by city officials, property owners, and/or vigilantes covering unwanted graffiti markings. Once graffiti has been Buffed, it often resembles scars on a wall. The patchwork of off-tone paints that do not match the original wall color, reminds me of Abstract Expressionistic artists like Rothko, Newman, Hoffman, Motherwell, Still, and Frankthaler. This was my favorite art movement that i studied while attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1987-1991).
Using an abstract painting element (The Buff) introduces another disruption that challenges the intent of Graffiti Writing and the process of landscape Plein Air while simultaneously pushing graffiti to be seen as fine art and Plein Air techniques to be used as Street Art.
All of these things are what i love about the expressive intent of art. i’m crashing them together in a practice i call, Plein Aire Graffiti.
Peyton Scott Russell