Tuesday, April 12, 2016

For Now, It’s the South West

We run the risk of losing our culture if we base all of our joy and importance
on reality TV and the entertainment industry.
Logan Maxwell Hagege

The Los Angeles based artist Logan Maxwell Hagege is inspired by the American Indians of Southern California, their art and the landscape they inhabit which his depictions of have been described as “a unique contemporary vision of traditional western subject matter.”

As he explained to the ArtBookGuy’s  Michael K. Corbin “I'm not Native American. I think it’s a really interesting culture. Art has been such an important part of their culture. Even before anything was being made to sell, the early tribes were making pottery with amazing painted designs. Everything from Kachina dolls to weavings that are great. The simplified design is really interesting to me.

Hagege’s artistic journey began tracing characters from comic books as a child and after a flirtation with animation he decided fine art was where his future lay.

As he has said “I started doodling as a kid. I believe it was during second or third grade on weekly trips to the library that I started. Instead of reading, I began to trace pictures out of the, "How to draw Marvel Comics" book. It wasn't until after high school that I started to get really serious about studying art… I got really serious about art when I started to study figure drawing and painting from life at Associates in Art, in Los Angeles. When I started studying there, I was interning at an animation studio. I quickly learned that I wasn't interested in the animation industry and wanted to focus on fine art. I definitely felt a sense of mission when I started to get serious about learning to draw and paint better.”

A family dive through the desert to visit his grandmother introduced Hagege to the subject matter that was to become the mainstay of his work.

About which he has said “I was inspired by the simplicity of the desert, which is what I am attracted to in art. The desert became a subject because of its bold, simple characteristics… I lived in the Northeast for a few years and on Cape Cod for a bit. I did paint landscapes of that region as well as some fishermen as subjects. But, while living there, I still painted Southwestern Landscapes and portraits.

Now in his mid-thirties and pretty much pigeon-holed as ‘a Western artist’ it may not be always so.

As he says “I'm not really concerned with the tags or categories that people may put me in. I don't approach a painting with the thought, "I'm a Western artist, what should I paint to fit that mold?" Instead, I paint whatever I want and whatever I'm inspired by. I paint all kinds of subjects and themes. Some of what I paint I do for myself and other work is seen by the public. As an artist, it is important for me to paint what I want.”

Hagege’s current exhibition The West is on show at Culver City’s Maxwell Alexander Gallery until the 7th of May. 

No comments: