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Jim Houser: innocence with an edge

The art of Jim Houser has an undeniable edge.  Despite the huggable octopuses and other playful animals, there is the creature in the corner with a tear under its eye, there are phrases and words such as “like a noose”, “germs”, and “fake”. Under the sweetness that Houser ostensibly portrays there is sadness, turmoil and grit.

Jim Houser is a well-known painter and installation artist from Philadelphia.   He is recognized by his cartoon-like images juxtaposed with poetry and painted objects, as well as his work with Toy Machine skateboards.  In an interview with Fecal Face Dot Com,  when asked what advice he would give to aspiring artists he replied “give away the first 100 paintings you make, and get a job that you can steal from.”  His inspiration comes from “sea water, dog fur, and dried blood.”  Gotta love that! 😉

Installation view from "Make Room For The Emptiness" at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in NYC (2009)

A  2005 retrospective book, Babel: Jim Houser, shows how he spawned his distinctive style, which many have since sought to imitate.  In a recent exhibit, called Make Room for the Emptiness at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York City (2009),  Houser re-emerges with a more mature, poignant and darker style.

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