“It’s easier to live life without so much self-doubt and constantly judging yourself and being disappointed in failing all the time. That’s what makes doing this stuff exciting. The moments where it doesn’t work or trying to figure out if it’s worth fixing. That’s like the formula, I guess, being satisfied and finding out where it doesn’t work, where you don’t like it just enough that it’s okay.”
Introduction by Howard Fonda
Short-Film by Alex Curro
Photograph by Theo Constantinou
Somewhat paradoxically, individuality and community are central to Austin Eddy’s artistic practice. There is a simultaneous theme of authentic existence and a need for acceptance and connectedness. These themes have proven very important to the shaping of American thought and identity. Eddy is certainly aware of this, however, his intentions are more romantic than political, more Neal Cassidy than Ayn Rand.
A sense of belonging, of connecting, is central to Eddy’s romantic themes: portraits of desire, nostalgic composition, primitive design. Whether materially, or conceptually, Eddy is reaching out and depicting his world with an unabashed honesty and forthrightness. He longs to connect – and not just superficially. He seeks something deeper, something lasting. And Eddy is willing to give as much as he may take. His work is nuanced and difficult. If you are willing to engage with it and work a little, Eddy will open up and offer a world of meaningful colloquy.
Eddy is not afraid to let his freak flag fly. He’s not afraid to share his longing for love, nor is he insecure of his shortcomings. They are what they are. It is this comfortability and genuine need to connect against all odds that makes Eddy’s work so endearing. There is a refreshing honesty untainted by irony or marked by cynicism. There is a demanding aesthetic, as well as, space to be heard. This exchange doesn’t always provide a dialogue that viewers are accustomed to, but maybe one they need. In an era of artifice and mediation, Eddy is willing to display his authenticity and offer a view of the world seldom seen.
Eddy’s work, primarily painting, is marked by its economy of production and apparent disregard for technique. His work, taken at a glance, can appear immature or hurried. This couldn’t be further from he truth. His work is direct, inspired and imperfect – and therein lies the perfection. Upon closer inspection, we experience thoughtful decision making, careful crafting and intentional handling of material. His hurried, unsteady hand and mid-century handling of form speaks in a poetic frequency dialed in to today’s obstacles. Stylistically, his approach could not be more apt. The work echoes the vulnerability, fragility and isolation we often experience in the world. This is where hope is contained. Eddy’s work acknowledges the difficulties of existence, but refuses to submit, or worse, ignore, this fact. He is striving. He is searching. He is trying.
This effort takes great skill and technical prowess. Eddy exhaustingly reworks, remakes, and reinvents. He constantly reframes his conceptual parameters in order to reinvent his environment and see the world anew. And, thankfully, he never gets it quite right. Perhaps this is the crux of the matter?
It never is quite right, is it? Life, that is. I don’t see this as pessimistic, nor is it too tied to Existentialism (though Absurdism and Camus may be a close link). On the contrary, Eddy embraces imperfection, accepts his station and earnestly asks you to join him. Eddy’s melioristic practice is invested in continually trying to make things better without the crutches of artifice, pandering and commercialism. Better ideas. Better paintings. Better relationships. Better community. Better world.