CookiesWe use cookies to make it easier for you to browse our website. If you, as a user, visit our website, it is our understanding that you are granting your consent to the use of cookies. You may obtain more information on cookies and their use hereOK
There’s a kind of people who never stop challenging themselves in one way or another. Cole Sternberg is undoubtedly one of them. Having recently travelled on a shipping vessel across the Pacific Ocean for 22 days, the multidisciplinary artist based in LA embarked on a journey where he painted large-scale works by observing how the movement of water affected the paintings, and experimenting with linen, watercolor, graphite and ink. We talked with this adventurous artist, explorer of the human soul and passionate lover of the ocean, about his journey, artworks, influences and dreams for the future. 
Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
I always knew I enjoyed making things and liked texture. As a child, I set off alarms touching paintings in museums. Eventually, that translated into being an artist by practice.
For those who don’t know you (yet), who is Cole Sternberg? 
Oh Jesus, that’s quite an open-ended question, probably better for a therapist. I’m just someone who likes translating ideas and experiences into visual environments.

Abstract paintings in a substantially broad blue-grey palette with a clean and shifting stroke. Could we consider this to be an extension of yourself?
That color palette is a reference to the sky and sea, to storms and the night, something appealing and disturbing at the same time.
Could you tell me more about the industrial massive shipping vessel where you travelled across the Pacific Ocean during 22 days, from the Japanese port Shin Kasado to Portland while documenting the venture? Which was the most significant moment?
I recently travelled on the maiden voyage of the Ultra Letizia shipping vessel across the Pacific with the desire to experience the macro environment of the Pacific and the confined environment of the ship, and to find how that would affect my practice. On the journey, I painted large-scale works referencing the horizon and the dichotomy of the two environments. Each work was exposed to the elements, leaving them on the deck in storms and wind, dragging them alongside the ship and crumpling them back into my cramped interior studio. I also shot volumes of film and photographic footage. A documentary about the journey is forthcoming. The days were always filled with new discoveries about the environment, the artwork, my fellow seafarers and myself. Significant moments were rampant and widespread, but the most enduring was seeing how the movement of water affected the paintings. It was the experience of a lifetime for me.
There are many political, social intrinsic connotations in your works. What would you say about the situation of humankind at the moment?
Humankind has lost touch with itself and its role on the earth. We neglect each other and our planet. There is not much more to say about that.

You write on some of your works before painting over them with energetic clean strokes. How does this method help you transmit or transform the concept?
Conceptually, this addresses the misinformation and content overload in our current times. It also speaks to the power of words to guide people in the wrong direction.
Among all the different projects you carry out, you tend to indistinctly use many mediums like painting, writing, photography, film, room installations… Which one do you feel the most comfortable with? Which is the one that characterizes you the most? 
Most frequently I paint. The physicality and vibrancy of the medium still always seems to bring me back to it. However, becoming comfortable with anything is worrisome. I hope to keep evolving in format; thus I try to never get too comfortable. 
There are numerous references to the ocean in your artworks. What does the ocean mean to you?
The ocean is the truth.

“I think we all have a desire to be nomadic on some level. Life and society force us away from it and towards a consumerist prison.”
What does influence you, visually speaking?
Well, it is impossibly difficult to not be continually influenced visually. The environment, television, driving around aimlessly, internet chaos, art history, the flashing of lights, the darkness of the sea, and on and on are all influencers for me. It is editing down the influences that is the real challenge.
On March the 31st your latest work, a selection of antique rugs from LA, was exhibited on the art space LA><RT. It seems to be a really deep project, grounded in concepts like tradition, existence, memories…
Seeing this effort come to fruition is exciting for me. Nearly two years ago, I riffled through the large historical inventory of Woven Accents in Los Angeles to find these ten antique rugs. My goal was to address their craft nature, their journeyman-esque existences and their new home in Los Angeles, while also giving new life to them. Each work was painted delicately, leaving much of the original design exposed and then left to the elements of Los Angeles to further develop. For instance, they were left in the ocean, in the bottom of a Hollywood Hills pool, on Sunset Blvd. and on a strip club runway, to name a few. I also wrote a poem about each. It is nice to see the reaction to this body of work as the project and accompanying monograph are released.
Why have you leant towards rugs? You are a bit nomadic, aren’t you? 
I think we all have a desire to be nomadic on some level. Life and society force us away from it and towards a consumerist prison. They say an antique Persian rug that is over a hundred years of age has travelled the world seven times. That dream appeals to me.

Tell me about a dream that you’re working on now.
I’m currently watching the hours upon hours of footage from my sea journey, trying to relive moments with my feet back on land. I’m also in the research stage of moments from the 1970s both in preparation for things to come.
And a dream that has come true?
I’ve managed to avoid contact with snakes. It’s an ongoing dream come true.
And the very last question, what is for you the ultimate purpose of art in our lives?
I prefer the camp of Joseph Beuys where everything is art; so the ultimate purpose of art is everything.

Lucía Padró

ic_eye_openCreated with Sketch.See commentsClose comments
0 resultados