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TJ Silverlake

  • 20110819103417-calm041411a1d
  • 20110819114903-rough041411a1c


St. Cloud, MN

Lives in
Valencia, CA

Works in
Pasadena, CA


CalArts (California Institute of the Arts), 1978, MFA
CalArts (California Institute of the Arts), 1978, MFA

abstract, photography





Art, graphic art, design, digital technology, writing, paying dues, sitting and looking into friendly faces and drawing a blank, color, oh yeah, interesting color, color field where I began as a Pollack fan but not of the art so much as of the man and his choices – well right up to the end anyway, then media, art media and running the risk of crossing the line, not sure who put that line there, me, I suppose… tools; pens, pencils, graphite, watercolor, ink, paint, scrappers, airbrush and spray cans and cut out paper and cardboard sheets, air and glitter, rhoplex and the smell of thirty year old liquid plastic, resin and fluorescent bulbs, skylight and slide projectors, video tape rolling, digital scanning, digital painting, architecture and the human form, snow and ice, artifacts of construction, abandoned foundations, archival inks, archival paper and here I am…

I’d rather create new work than talk about work I’ve created. Why is that? Seems simple – let the work speak for itself. Let the viewer confront the work and deal with it on their terms not my terms. I can say that an image is about xyz to me but then that short changes the possibility of experience for the viewer. So, given that, how do I get the work out to be seen? Ahh, there’s the rub.

What is the work about? The general process…

- Some pieces are records of an event. These works were ways of representing light being caught – airbrush, spray paint – or motion being caught – splash oil and water paintings – and fixed in time.

- Some pieces are ways to tell a story - although that story is not generally in words but visual elements that rely on the viewer for meaning. This work investigates ways to freeze an object in time and have it tell a story with minimum cues/clues – curved paintings, grout sculpture, glitter paintings.

And then I mix in time.

- Some pieces are records of an event with the added element of time. What happens when an image moves? How does that change the sense the viewer has of the event. See New Work below…

- Some pieces are ways to tell a story with the added element of time – No Interaction, Walking

What are the works about? The content…

Moving Color images: these are about emersion in abstract worlds.
- Colors are used to tweak emotions.
- Shapes are used to intrigue and reference living forms without being figurative.
- Detail is used to pull the viewer into the image and allow them to stay engaged with the piece.
- Scale is used to enhance the viewer’s immersion (scale is usually a minimum of 42 inches in the smallest direction and up to and over 60 inches in the largest direction.)

Arctic landscapes: these are about investigation and emersion in a fictional arctic world. This world is created over a period of several weeks and snapshots are taken of elements from within the environment and rendered to scale.
- Colors are used to suggest place, time of day and climate.
- Landscape is used to suggest human involvement and isolation.
- Detail is used to pull the viewer into the image and allow them to stay engaged with the piece (as with the Moving Color Images above.)
- Scale, see above…

Sea surface: these are about investigation of light and reflection in a fictional water world. The water elements here were created over a several weeks and snapshots are taken of the water surface at various times of day within the environment and rendered to scale.
- Sea colors are used to tweak emotions and memories.
- Detail, as with all my work, is used to pull the viewer into the image and allow them to stay engaged with the piece.
- Scale, see above…

Walking: these are a series of images dealing with the association of words and homelessness. The content is understandable but disguised.
- Color is black, white and violet neon and aimed at keeping the message simple but requiring work on the part of the viewer to decipher.
- Typography uses a clean typeface to mimic advertising but is overlaid and reversed in a second layer to slow down the reading and enhance the recognition of the referenced image – poverty and homelessness.
- Neon overlay is used to further disguise the message until the viewer is engaged
- Scale, these are prototypes and exist as virtual images only

No Interaction: A 16-minute excerpt from an early version of a written work of mine, illustrated with sounds and images sampled from cable television all-news channels.
- Format explores the tension of meaning that occurs when placing the disparate elements of our ubiquitous media against the poetry of these words.

See full biography and other referenced art work at:


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