LIGHT ON: Geoff Greene
Geoff Greene is a Californian artist who has started a movement called “NEAT-O!” which envisions art that people can actually enjoy and respond to, not just analyze intellectually; it advocates an advance to a child-like, untutored response to art.
“A friend of mine in junior high could draw a perfect motorcycle; just pick up a pen and with a few precise strokes make an ideal “hog” appear on the page, ape-hanger bars, dual throne seat, rear-sweeping, high-flying pipes. It was always the same, always exactly perfect. You could almost hear the damn thing roar.
This excited something akin to envy in me and I tried and tried to copy his drawing, but my drawing never came out anywhere near as clean and after a while mine didn’t even come out a motorcycle but morphed into a horse or a giant bird shooting flames from its mouth or a naked lady.
Yet one day, looking over my failures, it occurred to me that I was actually not failing but in my flopping around was doing something else, something much more interesting. I didn’t want to copy his motorcycle. Always the same, always perfect… is not what art is.
I struggled very hard to understand what I was thinking: my friend’s perfect bike was cool but it was finite, finished, somehow closed and like, hermetically sealed. It came out the same every time – it would never get lost or explore, could never grow into anything else or sneak in through the backdoor of your head, as I realized my drawings – flabby and imperfect as they were – had the power to do. A simple thought, but one which to this day has stuck with me to this day.”
Geoff Greene’s work is featured in many collections including those of PBS NewsHour’s Jim Lehrer, star actor/writer/producer Owen Wilson of Hollywood and NY taste-maker Michael Hirshchorn (CRO and Founder of ISH Entertainment) as well as the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Images courtesy of Geoff Greene