Running Down A Dream
The introductory essay to Lips and Drips
Brandon Sines has a poetic ability to share intimate moments laced with popular imagery. He creates paintings dripping in personal narrative and puddled with external references. They are immediate both in subject and use of material, yet there is an intangible aspect that beckons the active imagination. He mixes Pop Art’s mass culture, Surrealism’s private associations, and the intuitive paint handling of Expressionism to create dreamlike environments.
Shortly after moving to New York City in 2010, Sines combined his use of mythological creatures, pop icons, and made up characters into a new character called Frank. Frank is an ´´ape´´ that often takes the form of a cartoon, but is no doubt a reference to Sines himself. Frank explores human issues without human restrictions. Sines began installing Frank around the city, and Frank became an instant street art fixture most likely due to Sines' special gift of empathy.
First Man | 89 x 72 inches | acrylic, marker and spray paint on unstretched canvas
The birth of Frank and the move to New York City was a pivotal time for Sines. His inspiration soared from the constant stimulus of the city. With Frank, he had found a way to bring the autobiographical undertones in his work to the surface with a playful character who was instantly accessible to everyone. Much like New York enables both anonymity and stardom, Frank gave Sines the ability to be invisible yet fully present in his work. This added a deeper sincerity to his paintings.
The new scope of his studio practice dramatically elevated his paint-handling. Sines never received a formal art education, and one of his strengths is that his use of paint developed from pure necessity. His mark-making ranges from expressive brush strokes to illustrative precision. This juxtaposition gives his paintings the feeling of being recalled from memory. Some parts are crystal clear, other parts are barely tangible.
Self Portrait | 18 x 24 inches | acrylic and ink on canvas
The illusion of space in his paintings intensifies the dreamlike feeling. His worlds are expansive, without definitive spatial references, and at the same time read as intimate landscapes of the mind. His 2015 ´´Self Portrait´´ (above) is one of the purest examples of this duality. In this painting, Sines presents us with an ambiguous situation exploring mental and literal space. There is a fleeing figure, personal possessions in tow, peering through a periscope into the void of a stark black-and-white, minimalist environment reminiscent of a filmstrip. It just so happens that Sines is a voracious movie watcher. The viewer is presented with a playfully ominous image exploring themes of spectatorship, introspective reflection, escapism, restriction, and freedom. The narrative is implied, but the story is completely up to the viewer's personal perspective.
Brandon Sines is from a generation that believes in hope, feeds on love, but is surrounded by constant reminders of despair. A generation raised on cartoons, hip-hop, cable news, the internet, and standardized tests. Whether he is telling the story of a specific person or tapping into the zeitgeist, Sines speaks a universal language in a distinct voice. A voice that is raw, mysterious, and playful.
by Ari Lankin
Traffic | 26 x 20 inches | watercolor, acrylic, decoupage and ink on paper