The three paintings I've posted display samples of work from 1984, 2000 and 2009. I am often drawn to a setting that includes signage. I like using the signage as a foil for the figurative element to play against. Including signage also anchors the image in a time and place.
I've revisited the settings depicted in many of my paintings to find them changed.
Lenny's Pizza is in Brooklyn, New York has retained it's original signage but the owners have changed the reflective aluminum and the classic red, white and green awning as well, to me they are significant changes and are less interesting visually.
The painting of the Atlantis bar in Brooklyn's Coney Island is in a sense a history painting. Like the lost city of Atlantis, the classic sign is gone and the bar has been divided into two storefronts and the space underneath the boardwalk has been backfilled with sand.
The Psychic in Seaside Heights New Jersey has pretty much remained the same, I'll have to visit again this season to see if there are any changes.
I think it's important to paint what captures our attention and for me there is a nostalgia attached to these cityscapes. People who view our paintings are transported to places from their memories and for me that is an important interaction. I don't approach these places as sentimental subjects, I depict them as they are in the moment I am painting them, or at least how I see them, I still compose and edit, make color choices to create repetition and unity. The Lenny's Pizza painting is populated by friends and family in specific poses, some posed in front of Lenny's and others under similar lighting elsewhere to suit the concept I had for the composition.
I find I often choose a straight on vantage point to flatten the pictorial space.