HENRY SWANSON               henryswanson@icloud.com               214.709.3369

 

Education

2016     Rhode Island School of Design, BFA Painting

Selected Group Exhibitions / Publications

2017

"Mad Festive": Friendship Summit 2017 - 
Residency and Solo Exhibition at The Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas, Tx

L'OhNO Magasine presents: Henry Swanson -
Solo Exhibition at Brake and Clutch Supply, Dallas, Tx

2015

Cohesion - Zhen Music and Arts Institute, Dallas, TX

Strokes - Expose Gallery, Providence, RI

New Texas Talent - Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX

2013

The College Hill Independent (Brown University) - illustrations featured in multiple issues

Soak It In (solo show) - GoodFriend Beer Garden, Dallas, TX

Press

2017

Unvarnished Magazine Issue 1 - "The Beginning"
http://www.unvarnishedmag.com

CreateGate Magazine - "That Guy Who Draws Alot" 
https://www.creategate.com/single-post/2016/11/10/Henry-Swanson

Bio

I wore a clip-on tie to elementary school every Friday, and a small navy blue v-neck sweater.  I had a very ugly haircut in junior high.  Girls still thought I was cute.  I have a bad haircut now.  I wore the same striped polo shirt to my first two school dances.  No one noticed. 

I began my artistic career, if I have an artistic career, through a love of comics and television cartoons.  I drew the characters from direct observation and refused often to attend drawing sessions or camps.  I watched a lot of old television as a boy.  My favorite shows were Tom and Jerry, Peabody and Sherman, The Wacky Racers, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Secret Squirrel, and Looney Tunes.  I read the Sunday funny papers every week and tried to draw every character in every comic.

Through elementary school and high school I spent much of my time drawing as a coping mechanism with boredom or to rein in my running classroom commentary.  I mostly used office supplies (yellow legal pads and black bic writing pens or newsprint) to make all of my favorite drawings.  I was fortunate to have very talented and very patient art teachers who guided me to new areas.  I spray painted graffiti on our garage walls.  By college oil painting had become the majority of my work.

I spent little time in museums. I didn’t have favorite painters. I never worked from and continue to rarely work directly from observation.  Much of the work I made both then and now was from a strong sense of memory or imagination. 

Currently, I do have favorite painters. I have read about painting and its history.  I still don’t spend much time in museums.

Art is changing and that scares me.  I learned recently that art has always been changing and that it has always been scaring people.  I grew up experiencing art instead of learning it, as an exploration of what my hand could do - not what concept could justify the fun my hand was having on the paper. There was never need of a theory or dialogue.  I was not in conversation with anything or anyone but myself and this surface I was slowly manipulating.  The work I make now is made perhaps by an older man trying to maintain his naivety.

I want to paint all of my own paintings for the rest of my life until I am dead and I want to do it all for a living.  I am not here to be a philosopher or to outwit anybody. I am here to make a painting that makes you smile or think about something, or at least provides good comedic material for the person next to you; to be prolific as possible. There are beautiful ideas and beautiful images; I am here to try and have both.  I am here to make mostly paintings, but also some sculptures; mostly to entertain, but occasionally to be serious.

I love art and art making more today than I ever thought I would, way back during any of those afternoons watching television or drawing the funny papers. I love it so much more now.