ARTIST-A-DAY BLOG: Inside A Generous Kingdom V and the Expressive Force that is artist, Bob Conge

"I am not interested in making “Pretty” pictures. I want the viewer to react and vibrate with the same energy that inspired me when making the image,"

Bob Conge

How does your work interact with the theme of “A Generous Kingdom V: Art that Explores Story, Symbolism, and Beyond”?

For me the idea of “story” is the why of what I do. “Story” in the sense of what it is that I want the viewer to understand by reading my image. Many of my pieces are akin to short stories, as they are designed to overwhelm the viewer with scale, energy of expression and clarity of message. Visually more like a “wake up” punch in the face than a softly told bedtime story. I am not interested in making “Pretty” pictures. I want the viewer to react and vibrate with the same energy that inspired me when making the image.

Does the idea of transformation influence your work and process? Transformation is the objective of my work, I want to change how the viewer sees, thinks, feels, and understands the subject of my image. I want to force the viewer out of their comfort zone and consider what may be for them uncomfortable. I want them to grow!

What draws you to the medium you chose? And tell us a little about your process (I don’t believe in giving it all away).

I have no favorite medium. I have always let the message dictate what would be the most capable medium to express that particular image. While drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, etc. are all part of the visual vocabulary each has its own strengths and weaknesses. The first step is to decide which one will most effectively communicate the message and then exploit its strengths with vigor.

What are the strengths of the medium? What are the challenges? In the case of my piece in this exhibition, "Coal Exec.”, the message is about the unbridled GREED of the leaders of the coal industry in the US by placing profits above the health and welfare of the public. Coal kills everything it touches ! The medium I chose, pen and black, like coal, ink is by its very nature crass, blunt, basic and by virtue of being black and white it is most selfish in its “either or”. Coupled with the visual energy of furious drawing to express the emotional weight of the subject I hope it hits close to home with the viewer.

Who inspires you? And What do you do to get inspired?

I am inspired by just being.

If you could have coffee or tea with any artist who would you pick? What would you have coffee or tea? What would you ask that artist? I would like to have coffee with Bob Dylan and I would ask him “how ya doin Bob”.

What do you hope your work achieves, in general, and/or specifically with this installation? That is out of my hands. My hopes end with the completion of the work and become invested in the next piece

What recently made you smile?

A stray cat playing outrageously with a 5 cent ball.

What recently made you cry? The thought of passing that cat on to someone else. We didn’t and her name is Zuni.

If you could tell your viewers one thing, what would you tell them? I said everything in the work. It is up to them whether they can hear it or not.

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