Casper Brindle and the Expressive Power of Color


Casper Brindle, Molecular Brilliance, 2015, acrylic, automotive paint and resin on panel, 38 x 58 

Casper Brindle: CHROMA
William Turner Gallery
Santa Monica, CA
February 28th-April 11th. 


Casper Brindle's modus operandi lies in a ceaseless, exploratory pursuit for the expressive power of color and to harness – what Hans Hofmann called– the 'mystic realm' of color. Heavily influenced by Southern California's surf and car culture and those SoCal artists of the 1960's and 70's that formed the nexus of the Light and Space/Finish Fetish movement such as John McCracken, Craig Kauffman Ron Davis and Eric Orr - whom Casper worked for in the late 1980's. CHROMA is Casper Brindle's third solo exhibit at William Turner Gallery and we're pleased to report that the show, attended by Hollywood executives, producers and West Coast collectors, sold-out the night before his public reception. Whitehot Magazine sat down with the artist to talk shop, surf and automotive paint. If you're in LA, visit William Turner's grand space and take note these spectral sensations by Casper Brindle, an LA artist on the rise.

Whitehot Magazine: Congratulations on an epic show Casper, elated to hear it sold-out. Bravo! Well deserved.

Casper Brindle: Thanks, de la Haba.

WM: Let me ask: Are you a synesthete? When you paint with your many colors, do you experience certain smells with each color or do you correlate certain color with a particular number? Is there music in your head when you paint?

CB: What are you, the Dean of The Lee Strasberg School of Art? Good question. This has never occurred to me regarding my own work, but now that you bring it up, I smell oranges when I think about Diarylide yellow. I can’t say I smell the colors, but I do feel them if that makes sense? 

WM: Yes, of course it makes sense. But do me a favor, tell me which sense? In a tactile, tangible way? Or, are you getting all emotional on me and feel these colors with your heart?

CB: I would be more inclined to draw a parallel to a musician as he or she is writing a song. The colors are like notes, the elemental building blocks of a final piece, and I’m orchestrating all of these elements simultaneously and intuitively. I’m not sure if it’s the heart, but it is something within that just happens- instinct perhaps? Ok, DLH I’ll take heart for $600. 

WM: And music? What's playing when painting?

CB: I usually listen to this Zen-like trance music when I paint which, I believe, affects the painting's outcome. It helps jettison the rational world for the subconscious one, allowing the color itself to facilitate the painting. 

Casper Brindle, California Lightness, 2015, acrylic, automotive paint and resin on panel, 58 x 38 inches

WM: Very cool. There's a similarity between your work and Rothko's, except your work conveys, in my opinion, more optimism. Was Rothko an influence early on? I ask because there's a mystical quality to your work and where Rothko wished his viewers pray before his mystic work, I feel people today can practice Bikram Yoga in front yours. Do you do yoga?

CB: Yes, Rothko was an influence, especially in my youth and I am humbled you see a mystic similarity. But, I’m careful to leave the interpretation of the work to those who view it, rather than asking them to feel a certain way. It is an individual experience for everyone and every brain is different - there is no right or wrong to their interpretations. For me, personally, there is a mystical quality to the work: time stops and I’m transported into a meditative state. It’s that same part of your brain that opens when you drive, which is also a spatial experience. I’d also correlate it to those drives you take when you’re so deep in your subconscious that you don't remember how you got there, but somehow you’ve arrived.

WM: Wait a second, when are we going on one of those drives?

CB: You see, you don't even remember, you were driving the last time.

WM: Ok, I'll take your word for it. Back to yoga. You practice?

CB: No, I don't do yoga, but maybe I should.

WM: Nah, you're in demand now. Not enough time 'to be present' and paint. (laughter)

These new works seem to echo color, echo out from a central (and centrally located on the painted surface) place. Tell us about this place, your compositional thinking and the things that center your life.

CB: Well, from an almost outsider sense, the works occupy the space where Color Field painting, Light and Space conceptualism and Finish Fetish sensibilities intersect. The paintings usually originate from a horizon and a sense of depth is created with stratums of shimmering colors that radiate across the surface in atmospheric gradations. I have spent most of my free time in the ocean, staring into infinite horizons, and this has affected my work profoundly. I’m fascinated by the myriad colors of refracted molecules that are endless, as the sun appears to move across the sky.

WM: Right on. Any extremes exist in your life?

CB: Yes, an extreme fear of dying. 

WM: You see, I would not have expected you to say that. Rothko, yes. You, no. 

CB: Should I change my answer?

WM: No. But that is a fascinating extreme. Tell me what Eric Orr was like?

CB: Eric was a very generous, kind man. A brilliant artist. An amazing colorist and a person who lived life to the fullest. I can still hear those fingers snapping- if you knew Eric you’d know what I’m talking about.

WM: Unfortunately, I did not know Eric. But I could imagine his snapping fingers were like my father's whistle, I heard it a mile away and came home running. Was Eric a big guy like John Chamberlain? A commanding presence?

CB: When I worked for Eric I was in my early twenties and was very impressionable. He had a presence, that’s for sure. He was very spirited, a lot of action and movement- a motivating force I would say.

WM: Surfing is a huge part of your life. Do you make it a point to get out each day before hitting the studio?

CB: I wish I could. I surf as much as I can and when it’s necessary to clear my head. Lately I’ve been pretty busy. Although I did sneak two sessions in this week.

Casper Brindle, Distant Transition, 2015, acrylic, automotive paint and resin on panel, 48 x 94

WM: If you could buy any car, which would it be? And what color would you paint it?

CB: Right now, at this moment, (keep in mind that this changes daily) I would go with a 1964 SS convertible Chevy Malibu painted silvery baby blue.

WM: Has anyone requested a Casper Brindle custom?

CB: Funny you should ask. I had someone ask me to paint their dune buggy at my opening.

WM: And how much paint did you use on that "endless table" in NYC?

CB: Ah, the superdesk. That was the brainchild of architect Clive Wilkinson and was fabricated in Los Angeles by Andreas Froech. I was commissioned to paint and finish the massive table. The project was for the Barbarian Group’s new offices in NYC and is a functional sculpture – it serves as a communal, collaborative workspace.  This is a massive, seamless table that snakes through a 20,000 square foot office space. It looks like an undulating skatepark. At times, the structure arches over 10 feet high with little library nooks underneath. The table itself is 4,400 sq ft and it took 75 gallons of white primer, 75 gallons of white paint, 16 gallons of pearl white, 3 gallons of silver flake to cover the surface. Then, 250 gallons of resin had to be continuously poured to give it the final finish. I believe it’s gone on to win several design awards.

WM: Casper, thank you so much for chatting with Whitehot and we look forward to seeing more from you in the future. Cheers!

CB: Thank you, de la Haba. Hope to see you out in the line-up one morning.  WM 

Casper Brindle, Green Flash Two, 2015, acrylic, automotive paint and resin on panel, 48 x 94

 Casper  Brindle, Reversed Clarity, 2015, acrylic and automotive paint on panel

Ned Evans, Alex Couwenberg, Eric Johnson, Casper Brindle, David Lloyd, Steve Fuchs, photo by Eric Minh Swenson



Gregory de la Haba

Gregory de la Haba is an artist and writer from New York City.

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