Eddie Granger is a “sauvage,” meaning “the wild one,” or “one who has no inhibitions.” That’s how he views himself: “I just go at it, with no expectations. It is how I relate back to my French Louisiana background. That’s how I was raised.”
Granger collects things that have a nostalgic or dreamlike feel to them: “I chose crayons and pencils because as a child we begin to use crayons and pencils to create things. As an adult I wanted to make something out of the colored pencils or crayons that would represent an oeuvre of spirited work emphasizing that early nostalgia with painterly qualities and color over direct representation and realistic values. I try to maintain a painterly quality in my work, through the fluidity of line and organic composition.
I started drawing when I was a young boy in grade school attending an arts academy and taking art classes. I would draw cartoons and illustrations which later grew into me drawing more detailed portraits of family members or random people I would see in magazines. I didn’t start painting until high school.”
What is the process of your work?
The subtle, understated conditions in my work are to be understood in a material sense. I cut, melt, burn, or shave each material and adhere them onto canvas or wood utilizing controlled fluid motions. The number 3 holds high significance as it represents the principles of growth, earth elements and the triad (body, soul, and spirit).
I use the number 3 as the basis for construction of my works. Many of the lines that pulsate through them are made of three colors. Those not comprised of three colors are duplicated two more times throughout the piece, making them three of a kind.
My approach to a new project is more intuitive and personal, readings and passages play an important role in my creative methodology. A lot of my pieces are titled after quotes I interpreted in my own way and turned into art. I find power and context from even the most minimal phrases. One of my old favorites, “I tried to find you but I got lost in my imagination.” Like crayons and colored pencils I revert these words back to childhood nostalgia. I ultimately feel that’s how children think. A child has a wild imagination. They don’t take things too seriously. That is how they grow, learn, and become the person they are, those who are scared to start, don’t accomplish anything. For me, getting lost is the only way to find my beginning nuance, just as working is the only way to learn.
Do you leave your art to the viewer's interpretation or is it important to you that they understand the story you wanted to tell?
Edgar Degas once said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” This holds much truth, but at the end of the day, the artistic experience is about finding your own parameters or nuance—as an artist, personal liberation is perhaps the most important factor in my work. Always true to a tranquil existence, the message behind my work is projected. When people see my work, I want them to see freedom–freedom in a lyrical sense, which is why I consider my work to be “Lyrical Abstraction.”
How do you choose the materials you work with, and how does that choice affect your painting?
I often use mixed media as means of layering and adding depth to my unique works. My art refuses to be pinned down, from the titles, to the colors, to the materials (crayons, pencils, paper, etc.) used. I like to choose how the material and its physical presence can rely on another material to do something peculiar and sometimes obscure, to create a language of its own. I never dictate my work, I always allow my work to compliment itself–never contrived.
You create a dreamy feeling in your painting using unique colors that have an impressionistic feel. How do you define yourself as an artist?
Often within these vibrant compositions, one is inclined to draw comparisons between my penchant for a reduced, primary color palette, and that of the Fauves in the early part of the 20th century, especially when considering my personal ties to French Creole art, which often includes large fields of color. At once composed and formless, I owe an obvious debt to the Fauvists’ supremacy of color over form, an aesthetic approach in harmony, or is it tension?
How is your life reflected in your art?
Abstraction is a language that is full of endless possibilities. The most important thing for an artist is to find their identity and use a vivid, open mind to create works that are a direct vision of their life. My works are a vibrant smorgasbord filled with an intent to question all our senses, which is the source of all matter and the space in which we exist. So, experiencing things through our senses is, I believe, why we choose to live this physical existence.
Who are the artists that inspire you most?
George Seurat, Sol LeWitt, Pia Fries and my new favorite James Jean (his sketches are out of this world).
What do you listen to while you paint?
Music plays an essential part in my work. Relating my work to the music I hear creates a melodic, acoustical and sometimes a lyrical sense to it. Which is why I consider it to be “Lyrical Abstraction” in a sense. Deep disco to folk (Jonas Rathsman, Moon Boots, Isaac Tichauer to Tom Odell to Mumford & Sons to name a few).
What other types of art are you passionate about?
Fashion excites me and I hope to soon do a collaboration with a fashion line. Films also excite me, like ones that you can view at the IFC center or the Sunshine Cinema in the Lower East Side.
You can see Eddie’s work numerous places:
New York agent – Shaunna Harry: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sibley Gallery – New Orleans, LA
Galerie Melilli-Mancinetti – Berlin, Germany