To find out more about tattooer Cris Cleen’s latest exhibition of paintings ‘Poison Paradise’ opening this evening in Brooklyn we’ve asked him a little about his new work.
How would you explain this exhibition of your new work?
This exhibition was about the nature of eroticism and behavior of all creatures. It can be hard to show carnal desire in images that are graphic without being vulgar to the average watcher. I think people are attracted to that art because eveyone has a sexual identity and can relate to lust and want. The insects and animals remind us of this behavior of all things.
Why is painting important to you?
Painting is just the language I use to speak with for art. As with tattoos. I like the practicality of a two dimensional image that reads what you want it to read. Its not conceptual. It tells you the story clearly with little interpretation.
Where have you taken inspiration from for these new paintings?
I dont need much inspiration for erotic work since we all have that in ourselves . The narrative of longing and want and unrequited love have always been the biggest part of the art ive done. I used some ideas of japanese erotic work to show the necessary nature and beauty of what I’m trying to say with sophistication, also to show it as decoration.
Will the paintings that you exhibit translate into tattoos?
I’m always interested in making these subjects as tattoos. Often times, what people will wear is different than what they will hang. The idea of the art being hidden is as appealing as a piece on paper and the skin. Someone once called my work, “under the shirt tattoos”
What is it about the romanticism of the turn of the century that you are so drawn to?
I dont think of any era with any of the work. I think a lot of what was advertised in that time was seeking pleasure and not getting it and lusting for the most trivial interaction. That might be the real common thread. I dress the characters just in the way that I think is erotic to me personally. Dressing more isn’t a time period thing but universally sexy and without trends or varying individual statements. This way also makes the characters be anybody and everybody. However what I like to see is what you’ll see.
Where do you see your work progress after this exhibition? What do you want to do next?
After painting so much for this, it has sparked other ideas and different looks for painting but I would like to show something at the Museum of Sex here in New York . That would be the pinnacle for me.
Cris’s exhibition will be open for the private view this evening from 7-10pm and will run until the 20th of January 2014 at 177 North 10th Street Rm G Brooklyn NY 11211.
Both paintings are previews of what will be on show for the exhibition.
Follow Cris on Instagram here and read an interview with Cris on www.sangbleu.com from last year here