“Like a weird weed poking through the concrete, the independent spirit of San Franciscan avant-garde creativity manages to survive.” -Andrew Goldfarb
In a previous post, I featured images of San Francisco-based artist Andrew Goldfarb’s surreal and macabre black velvet paintings. He also produces a vast amount of illustrations for diverse purposes, including promotional posters and comic books.
Goldberg’s creativity and interests were evident at an early age. “When I was seven I wrote a story called ‘Dracula and the Golden Stake (with Blood on It)’ that featured lurid illustrations, so right out of the gate I was drawing weird stuff. I also drew these comical superheroes called Toilet Man and Super Funk. I was influenced a lot by horror movies and comic books, and also humorous things like Mad Magazine.”
The early influences are infused in the illustrations that Goldfarb produces today, with his works displaying distinct visual characteristics that hearken back to old horror films and post-modern worlds.
“When I was a teenager I got into punk rock and started drawing flyers for bands, and then later I began painting (mostly on velvet) and also doing an underground comic strip called ‘Ogner Stump’s One Thousand Sorrows.’ So making art was always something I did, as a way to color the world around me and make life more interesting. Especially growing up in the suburbs, I had to rely on my imagination to make my environment less dull.”
Through his Slow Poisoner persona, Goldfarb is able to tour across the country as a one-man rock band and immerse himself in the artistic communities in which he performs.
“I feel as much a part of the artistic communities in other states as I do in my own hometown of San Francisco. Partly this is because I perform music and tour fairly frequently, and when I do I bring my visual arts with me as well. My music act, The Slow Poisoner, involves many theatrical props and I also sell velvet paintings out of my merchandise trunk. This sense of connection to the larger, national underground arts scene also comes from interactions on the Internet, which has made it so easy to share work with fellow freaks far away. I find that this interconnection with so many creative spirits keeps me inspired and productive, because there’s a lot of enthusiasm and support, even if we can’t make a living off our crafts (yet).”
Historically, his hometown of San Francisco has had a big role of attracting artists and is generally an artist-friendly environment, with many creative visionaries merging to develop a community rich in arts and music. However, many see the creative communities in danger of becoming extinct due to to rising costs of living.
“Here in the California Bay Area (San Francisco and Oakland) astronomical rents have made it difficult for artists and art spaces to survive, but people still manage to do it. We have First Friday art gallery openings and neighborhood art walks that have been well attended, and art sales have been pretty good. There are plenty of cafes and bars with rotating art exhibits from local creators; it is just unfortunate that San Francisco is betraying its bohemian past by becoming a millionaire’s playground. Our local government has failed us in that all the real estate turns into luxury condos, but like a weird weed poking through the concrete, the independent spirit of San Franciscan avant-garde creativity manages to survive.”
Andrew will be on tour as The Slow Poisoner this summer. To purchase paintings or books written by Goldfarb, visit his website, Ogner Stump.