HENRY SWANSON email@example.com 214.709.3369
2016 Rhode Island School of Design, BFA Painting
Selected Group Exhibitions / Publications
"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
Cohesion - Zhen Music and Arts Institute, Dallas, TX
Strokes - Expose Gallery, Providence, RI
New Texas Talent - Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX
The College Hill Independent (Brown University) - illustrations featured in multiple issues
Soak It In (solo show) - GoodFriend Beer Garden, Dallas, TX
Unvarnished Magazine Issue 1 - "The Beginning"
CreateGate Magazine - "That Guy Who Draws Alot"
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.