Discovering the artist George Condo

Check out this fascinating interview with George Condo. If you don’t know of him, then I highly recommend watching this interview before going to look up his work. Throughout the interview he gets up and shows his process of making a work on paper. Not being familiar with his work was a real advantage as I wasn’t blinded by any preconceptions in listening to him.

By way of brief background, Condo is an American artist from New York. He started out studying music composition at UMass, then dabbled in printing. Meeting Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1979 drew him to painting and he even spent some time working at Warhol’s Factory. Later in Paris, Keith Haring introduced Condo to the American writer and artist Brion Gysin, who in turn later introduced him to William S. Burroughs.

He would go on to hang with Félix Guattari, who together with  Gilles Deleuze was another of my early philosophical favourites.

The best thing is, I had no idea who he was when I stumbled upon this interview late one recent sleepless night. In no time I was loving this guy like some long lost brother, still having no idea about his background or body of work. I’ll let him speak for himself, but he’s fucking amazing. It was immensely refreshing to hear someone articulate so much of what I think of the visual world in such clear and simple language. Honestly, I don’t get many chances to talk painting with people, despite living in the age of the image, so I’m mostly just left to spinning my wheels and grinding my gears in front of the canvas late night at home with that resounding why, why, why do I od this screaming in my head, convinced I’m an utter freak. Condo’s words were an increadible breath of fresh air. It’s nice to know you’re not alone.

Stumbling across Condo was for me akin to reading my first Gergard Richter interview back in the early 2000s, then going to look up his work. In those days I was home on paternity leave, doing baby by day and painting by night, largely painting in a vacuum and agonizing over why, in the age of the omnipresent image and screen, I even bothered. Richter’s world view saved me. Condo‘s inspires me to keep evolving.


For more, check out this article in the Guardian: