Tanner Goldbeck lives in a fairly lively part of downtown, but his artistic temperament goes well with the neighborhood’s visceral energy, which is perpetually in chaos and control. Like DTLA’s frantic juxtapositions of historic architecture, street art, music, neon, wholesalers, colorful characters, danger and genuine pain, Goldbeck’s mixed media paintings and sculptures build and erase using harmony and dissonance, black humor and intuition, layers of material and the energy of movement. Glendale is currently hosting an exhibition featuring a brand new, vibrant and more operatic monumental painting.
LA WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
TANNER GOLDBECK: I’ve thought about it being an artist all my life. Indeed to know I was an artist? … Maybe 15 years ago. I realized that I might love concept art. Quite a big shift in my perspective. I’ve spent most of my life learning how to make art without ever asking why. I think I racked my brains at Twombly one day.
What is your work about?
visual chatter. At first it feels like you’re standing in a room full of people all talking at once. Gradually you can trace a composition. Long-lasting, thoughtful foundations buried in momentary blasts of emotional bliss.
What would you do if you weren’t an artist?
If I wasn’t an artist, I would most likely be a total mess.
Did you go to art school? Why why not?
Yes, I graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and then went back to the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in New Jersey for a few years. I was fortunate to have a great fine arts foundation but was too young to fully appreciate it. I came from a place where I was the only art kid I knew. If you could see a tree and draw the tree, you would be a great artist. Looking back now, I am grateful that I learned things the hard way. I can use all this battlefield experience to go in many directions.
Why do you live in Los Angeles?
Love it or leave it, this town is crazy. The energy and the volume. The clichés, the drama, the history… this city has a unique place in space and time. I believe it is the quintessential Mecca of the American art universe.
When was your first show?
My first group show in California was a Film Roman Level 13 show at the Rico Gallery in Santa Monica in 1999. I had just moved to Santa Barbara from New Jersey to work for Powell Peralta and entered a juried competition about a Advertisement I put in the back of a Juxtapoz Magazine. It’s been a wild ride ever since.
What is your current/latest show or project?
I currently have a solo show with the amazing people at Tufenkian Fine Arts in Glendale. The show runs through March 26th and has a massive cast of almost everything I do.
Which artists, living or dead, would you most like to show with?
Ahhh yes, this list of artists is subject to change by the minute. I love so many different aspects and periods. I guess John Sargent was my first art superhero. Turner hit me in the face, Egon Schiele drives me crazy. I’m thinking about this guy JC Leyendecker right now, and I’m on a blue fix, so Yves Klein was hanging around… that might work. Add Rosenquist, David Choe and Twombly for kicks. Always wanted to watch Jenny Saville at work…
Do you listen to music while you work?
No… I don’t really listen to music when I work. For some reason I tend to listen to old TV shows. I can stream entire series and listen to them over and over again. columbo is my type. I can’t explain it, but I feel so good. I sure would have an art show with Columbo. I heard Peter Falk was a pretty good artist.
Web and social media please!