Eli Rosenblatt

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Night Life Paintings

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Artist's Statement

Back alleys and night life have always intrigued me. My latest paintings reflect this fascination. The images come in part from my imagination, and in part from my experiences playing pool in the back rooms of Milwaukee, then running a bar in Taiwan and wandering the streets of Hong Kong. Painting from my mind allows me freedom to interpret this world as I please. It also is necessary, since the middle of a street or a bar are not always ideal places to set up a canvas.

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It is no accident that many of the characters in these paintings could pass for any ethnic group, white, black, Asian, Hispanic. I want the viewer to decide for himself. And I also want the viewer to see the painting from his own vantage point and to think about a side of life that he may or may not be familiar with. I'm not trying to produce a pretty painting, but rather a painting that will make people think.

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I like to paint on a canvas gessoed black. The images just start to appear for me on the dark background. I like spontaneous, thick paint, and tend to work quickly. The thickness of the paint makes the images come off the picture plane. The strong colors and contrasts push the eye back into the canvas, enabling me to get a more three-dimensional sensation.

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It's important not to be afraid to add or take away, to be open not only to learn from but also to use mistakes.