We caught up with Gregory Siff as he prepares for his solo exhibition Portrait Of An American Ice Cream Man. The show opens June 10th at 4AM Gallery in Los Angeles and features an entirely new body of work. Read on as Gregory gives us the lowdown on his latest work including his a double sided print Sold Out Helado and much more…
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this piece, anything you want to highlight? It was featured in the Dean Collection’s No Commission exhibition right?
Gregory Siff: This piece was one of the jump offs for a whole new body of work that will be unveiled this coming Friday, June 10th entitled, Portrait of an American Ice Cream Man. I had a 48 x 48 canvas in my studio that became one of the most thickest canvases in paint to date because I was doing so much traveling last year, that whenever I returned from a trip. I would add something else to the canvas. There are so many materials and inks and layers to this painting that it took on an embossed textural feel much like a globe.
Every time I came home I would find something new to record from my life and put it into an ice-cream truck menu. Also it was always good to be home in Downtown Los Angeles and whenever I saw the Ice Cream Man pushing his fridge through the streets I became enamored with the handwritten style on the sides of the truck and cart. It proved to me that if you want to go out and get it, to hustle, to make it, you’ve got to create it with your hands. I love this piece for all that. And because I danced on the back of the canvas like a kid who just got his ice cream after chasing down the truck!
Yes, this canvas was chosen to be shown in The Dean Collection by Swizz Beatz for his group show during Art Basel Miami 2015, No Commission. A lot of dope people felt good around this piece. I wanted to share that in print form. Front and back.
1x: What materials did you use to create this piece?
Gregory Siff: This piece was created using a mix of oil, krink, acrylic, oil crayon, graphite, paper, marker and spraypaint on canvas.
1x: When was this piece drawn and created? Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Gregory Siff: 2015. The past year was the illest. I went across the world with the most interesting and rock star of collectors, traveled to see the Venice Bienele to get inspired and was in Dubai painting on the beaches, in Ibiza, Milan, Costa Rica, Venice, Lake Como, Miami, Vegas 8 times, New York City, San Francisco and San Diego. My studio became a place that I would visit briefly, blow of some steam and then pack and head out into the world again. This piece became the one that made all the layers worth it.
1x: How long did the piece take?
Gregory Siff: It took the whole year to get where it is.
1x: What is unique about this piece?
Gregory Siff: That every memory on here is true. Either the ice cream has been consumed, enjoyed or felt. Real life memories go into the meaning of each pop.
1x: Why should people buy this print?
Gregory Siff: People should add this piece to their collection because it’s an encapsulation of the artist at work. Even the back of the print is double sided and shares the energy of what a stretched canvas feels like and how it feels to create. People should get this because it’s the perfect size and opportunity to add one of my favorite works to their wall.
1x: Describe this piece in one gut reaction word.
Gregory Siff: Childhood.
1x: It has been a few years since your last release, bring us up to speed on what you’ve been up to?
Gregory Siff: After all the traveling I have been able to lock into the studio like a lover and look eye to eye with my life, where I’ve been, and what I can tell through the brush. My new show is a self-portrait, all the works but it is a mirror and you can see that there are pieces of me that are just like you.
1x: Let’s talk a little bit about your latest exhibition, what can fans expect from this latest body of work?
Gregory Siff: Portrait of an American Ice Cream Man is a chance for me to express the current state of my life. Gus was my first Ice Cream Man. He was the original happiness dealer. A chocolate milkshake could heal anything, just like a good painting. These days the more paintings I make the more I feel like Gus. I am really excited about the unveil of an installation I am doing of 118 canvases that represent the Periodic Table of You.
They are reminiscent of the Periodic Table of Elements that we all learned in our high-school Chemistry lab. These paintings are the elements of a person. If someone asked you what was great about your life, what cut the harshest, what felt the best, you would find these elements in their checklist. It’s almost like an interview with God to tell him about what was so beautiful about the moments and who you became while you danced on earth. I just love it.
The show is sponsored by Mercedes Benz, who I have been an art ambassador for the past 3 years, I painted a G Wagon for the charity Art of Elysium which helps kids in hospitals with strong art programs and painted live at the historic Hollywood Paladium while Bastille played on for their Evolution Tour. They have supported my art strong and made this show possible.
1x: Is this exhibition featuring all new works?
Gregory Siff: Yes. The only piece that people have seen is Sold Out Helado, this print which was at Swizz’s in Miami, but I wanted to exhibit the canvas in LA so the homies can see it in person who couldn’t make it to Basel.
1x: What strides do you feel you’ve made with this latest body of work?
Gregory Siff:In this new body of work I really embraced the full on what meant to be an abstract expressionist. The feeling. The necessity to create off of what one is going through. There are five canvases that show what I was going through and they could never be painted again. Also I have worked with some great magicians in metal, neon and monotypes and always moving forward my arc in new mediums. There is sculpture and a book that I is hand made out of cardboard and journal entries found in my studio from all the action of the art and travel.
1x: You yourself have always been a supporter of 1xRUN, who are some of your favorite artists to collect?
Gregory Siff: I absolutely can’t live without my Ricky Powell Warhol portrait from SOHO 1985, had to get the metal and jumbo one. I dig the Naturel drops, anything Revok and lots more.
1x: What’s the last piece that you bought?
Gregory Siff: I bought David Choe’s book that comes with a hand painted Munko Cover. Shit looks so good next to my Basquiat signed book.
1x: What else is on the horizon for you this year?
Gregory Siff:I’ve been going real hard for this show. I get a little break after June 10th when the show opens and then starting up again for a show in the Hamptons at Valentine Gallery 10 minutes away from where Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner lived. Emotional and perfect for an abstract expressionist. I can’t wait to see what I create back there.
Photos by 2wenty – follow him on Instagram @2wenty_.