The Forgotten Truth of Cubes According to Gregory Arth

Gregory is taking a historical practice, like Cubism and blending it with iconic personalities that have shaped popular music and film culture. Cubism is unassuming. Look at an image created with Cubism and you can see the cubes. Only straight lines are involved to create the image. This technique dates back to the early 1900's when Picasso and Braque jointly invented Cubism.

Math Creating The Art

Cubism is rooted in the math of geometry. Let us review a little math, shall we. A space figure or three-dimensional figure is a figure that has depth in addition to width and height. A space figure having all flat faces is called a polyhedron. Cubes and pyramids are both space figures and polyhedrons. A cube is a three-dimensional figure having six matching square sides.

Now that the math refresher is over, letís touch on the three broad types of Cubism which are analytical, synthetic and cubist sculpture. Analytical Cubism is a strict form of avant-garde art where an image is separated into various monochromic cube sizes and then reassembled creating an image. Synthetic Cubism uses everyday found objects like magazine clippings, movie tickets, photographs, receipts, etc to create not only cubes but new shapes that make an image. It is similar to a collage. Until this point art was made by using brushes and paint and for first time items like glue and scissors were considered art tools. This was revolutionary. Finally Cubist Sculpture is the marriage of similar shapes, cubes and pyramids, and the material used to create sculpture like bronze.

In the conversation, Gregory Arth explains how his study of Cubism influences his art.

Introduction to Gregory Arth

Renata What is your name?
Gregory Gregory Arth Renata We are at the Cottonwood Arts Festival here in Dallas, TX and tell is a little about your art
Gregory I paint. I typically paint in oil. Renata OK
Gregory I prefer oil over acrylic. Occasionally I do some acrylic under painting. Renata Why do you prefer oil over acrylic?
Gregory They tell yaíll its not Ö itís not true. But it has a richness to it (oil) that I like. And I like the dry time. It gives you more options to extend out and blend better and stuff like that. And the oil glazes that I use give a richness to it that I donít think Ė itís not the same as acrylic.
Renata Ok. How long have you been painting?
Gregory Since, I was a child, very young. I have old pictures from first grade of drawings I did that arenít too bad actually.
Curtiss Right, right
Renata Ok
Gregory Iíve been a freelancer about 30 years now as a freelance artist.

Art Keeps Icons Alive

Renata Well we are with ForgottenGreats and the website generally focuses on iconic moments. You said something very interesting. That it seems like some people never die. They never go away and you were referring to that about Wade Tillman and Ö
Gregory Marilyn Monroe
Renata And
Gregory Elvis, Jimmy Hendricks. Jimmy Hendricks strong
Renata You said you sell a lot of those
Gregory I do. I sell a lot of prints because the originals both sold rather quickly. In fact I sold the first Jimmy Hendricks I ever did wet
Renata Wow
Gregory A lady came in and said Iíll take it. I said really. Ok. So, yeah, Jimmyís been real popular. And the young kids know Jimmy Hendricks amazingly know him well. No music and know of him and some people just have this aura where they seem to transcend time almost. They donít want to seem to go away.
Renata OK
Gregory And you know you hope as an artist you hope that you can create work thatís timeless. I have pieces that I created 20 years [ago] that are just as popular and those are always the most thrilling because you fell like maybe you have bridged that gap of you know, of timeless piece
Renata What? What timeless piece? Whoís the subject matter?
Gregory Well one of the more timeless Ö I have is actually keyboard looking piece.
Curtiss Beautiful.
Gregory I use that. I use paint brushed still on the canvas and its real drippy and wet looking and that I created in the early 80ís and I have demand right now. I have to create a set this summer. Iím going to do 25 more that have different music on them. They are all original pieces but they have different music, a lot of classical music and some modern music. I chose the music for its visual look not its sound.
Gregory Because Iím an artist
Curtiss Right. Right.
Gregory But those pieces have always been in demand. I couldnít do enough of those. Itís the weirdest thing. I tried to limit it.
Gregory's son You actually do the ones. Theyíre empty. Musicians can put their own music on there or ask to put it on there
Gregory Iíve left a few blank at the bottom. They had one lady wrote music and then we out it on the piece.
Renata Ah great, so they are truly custom pieces
Gregory Each one is a custom piece. They have similar look is called the ďPaint It Again SamĒ series.
Renata OK
Curtiss Mmmm
Gregory Which is a kind of a play-on-words from the old Casablanca thing.

Historical Methods Renewed

Renata So what would you say your inspiration for Ö I know music is one. You are inspired by music and you created a music series. But what does your other inspiration come from?
Gregory Well itís hard to say.
Curtiss Itís more of a feeling?
Gregory Iím visual. I get inspired by visual things.
Renata Ok
Gregory When I see things I get excited. I try to work it in a painting or come up with an idea that and somehow deal with that image. And it can be a simple as hay. I know this is a cliche because Monet did Haystacks. [Haystacks is the title of a series of impressionist paintings by Claude Monet from 1890-91.] But now-a-days they make these great round hay bails. And Iíve come over a hill seen then out in the field and said hey that is fabulous. It gets me excited because of the way light plays on it. The tree series is inspired by trees that are in my yard that range from 100 to 150 years-old. Or at least thatís where it started. And now
Renata What type of trees are they?
Gregory Theyíre oak trees all of those. But I have since branched out and I looked for them when I travel and find trees that I like and stuff like that.
Curtiss Is it natural, the cubism, this is cubism right?
Gregory I call it sculptural cubism. It started when I was studying cubist style and then started playing with cubist style. Traditional cubist style and then as almost a joke as tongue and cheek. I decided to use cubes.
Curtiss Wow
Gregory And the cubism, it was like ďha, haĒ and look at this. But you know then I started going oh this is kinda cool. And everybody has already asked me, what it is [then] until I finally decided. And sculptors especially like it. So it led to me calling it sculptor cubism and I would like to try it in 3D. But itís complex.
Curtiss Yeah, yeah.
Gregory I havenít quite figured out how to do that yet.
Curtiss Yeah, you would have Ö
Gregory It would be interesting.
Curtiss To charge quite a bit more.
Gregory Yeah it would be big. It would be a huge deal. We kept toying the idea. Some computer guys keep talking [about] creating it in the computer. Then you can play with it and working it toward reality somehow. But I hadnít had time. Itís going to be a complex project. I need a grant or something (laughter).
Curtiss Right (laughter)
Renata Is there anything you like to add?
Gregory I donít know. Iím on the spot here with a recorder in my face. I never think Ö
Curtiss (Laughter)
Gregory And as soon as you leave Iíll have all these great quotes.
Curtiss Nah, itís really is a good interview.
Gregory I will say I enjoy painting a great deal and I live by art and I tell people its like eating and breathing. I have to do. I just have to do it. Itís just one of those things. You know, I just enjoy it too much not to do it.