In April, three Painting and Drawing MFA students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago enjoyed the unique opportunity to meet with Creed and serve as studio assistants in the creation of several painted works for the residency project. The students assisted in painting the album artwork for a special edition vinyl album Creed recorded while in Chicago as well as several canvases going on display at the MCA this year. Two of the students, Seth Hunter and Ceyda Aykan, share their experiences with Creed below.
Two students, Martin, and Martin’s assistant Rob, went for tea. Sitting for three and a half hours, we discussed: portraits not landscapes, smiling not frowning, sick film not well film, balloon work not raisin work, certified art not anonymous art, how children are smart and sneaky not how children are stupid and obvious, drinking too much not drinking too little, vomiting not eating, psychoanalysis not psycho-complacency, therapy not illness, TV not books, parents and children, being a little bad not being a little good. Two students, Martin, and Martin’s assistant Rob got up and went home.
I think the charm of Martin’s work is its communication with and directness to the viewer. It has playfulness and ambiguity in just the perfect amount to create some space for the viewer to breathe in and play with the work. Martin’s works possess a certain attitude, as if they just happened by themselves, as if they are just natural. When you look at them you don’t necessarily picture them being made, but rather like plants growing by themselves just with enough water and light.
This is not an easy feeling to capture or an easy task to accomplish. Whether it is a neon sign, a huge installation, or the entire surface of a wall covered with patterns, Martin’s work is never under- or overdone. It is always just enough. The work becomes almost transparent because the viewer is able to experience the idea and the playfulness of the process of creation itself.
While eating my lunch last week, I sat admiring Martin Creed’s recently installed Work No. 1351 (2012). Thick, intersecting stripes of color cover the wall in Puck’s café, adding a playful dimension to what was previously a very white and clean-feeling space. This piece feels spontaneous and light. As is often the case with Creed’s simple- looking installations, a tremendous amount of planning and carefully choreographed installation took place behind the scenes to make this piece possible. The following is the surprisingly long list of colors that were used by MCA preparators to paint this mural:
Golden Bounty, Luminous Days, Golden Nugget, Sunshine, American Cheese, Banana Yellow, Wasabi, Bright Gold, Goldsmith, Sweet Pear, Sundance, Burnt Cinnamon, Orange, Paradise Beach, Pumpkin Cream, Vivid Peach, Festive Orange, 14 Carrots, Orange Burst, Marmalade, Butterscotch, Beeswax, Dark Salmon, Tawny Day Lilly, Jack O’Lantern, Raspberry Truffle, Rose Parade, Pink Ladies, Hot Lips, Crushed Velvet, Bordeaux Red, Fuchsine, Pink Ruffle, Neon Red, Red, Rose Quartz, Hot Apple Spice, Exotic Red, Royal Flush, Dog’s Ear, Light Chiffon Pink, Razzle Dazzle, Peaches ’n’ Cream, Magenta, Deep Carnation, Melrose Pink, Margarita, Neon Green, Citrus Green, Grenada Green, Lilly Pad, Avocado, Fresh Scent Green, Nile Green, Webster Green, Amelia Island Blue, Marine Aqua, Snow Cone Green, Emerald Isle, Mississippi Mud, Wenge, Seed Brown, Falcon Brown, Woodcliffe Lake, Tulsa Twilight, Onyx White, Almost Black, Picket Fence, Silver Lining, Gray Sky, Blue Springs, Albany White, Turret, Sweet Innocence, Desert Beach, Seacliff Heights, Bluebelle, Gulfstream, Deep Royal, Midnight, Spring Sky, Watercolour Blue, Black Satin, At Sea, Brazilian Blue, Baby Seal Black, Poolside Blue, Mosaic, Tropical Teal, Beau Green, Naples Blue, Rhythm and Blues, Dream I Can Fly, Blue Wave, Graceful Sea, Dark Royal Blue, Americana, Mauve Bauhaus, Violet Stone, Scandinavian Blue, Elderberry Wine, Pinot Grigio Grape, Crocus Petal Purple, After the Rain, Dark Lilac, Mystical Grape, Victorian Purple, Trout Gray, Ebony Slate, Espresso Bean, and Cobblestone Path.