CPtheartist: The Way I See It
Va Mag is always in search of a good story and by now you probably know that art is what directs us everything else is secondary. So naturally, after reading about CPtheartist’s first solo show titled “Coulrophobia,” on several social media websites, I wanted to locate the New Jersey native, pick his brain and find out what prompted him to create such an original series. I found him one Friday evening in an art studio located in Downtown Atlanta’s Castleberry Hills Art District. I introduced myself to the 6 foot something artist and immediately begin to search for a painting called “Vanity,” my all-time favorite piece in the show.
The painting illustrates a woman wearing a clown face staring into a handheld mirror but the image that glares back at her is one that she doesn’t recognize. She sees a completely different person, one with dark eyes, a skeleton of some sort that resembles a person of no life, she envisions death. For me this painting speaks to the negative effect that popularity can have on you. Often times we, especially women, struggle with trying to fit in with who society wants us to be, we want to be smaller, thicker, have longer hair, lighter or darker skin. But in the end these changes can be harmful and create even more problems than before. Eventually these alterations can transform you into a person that you can’t even identify with. This is why it is important to stay true to yourself and remember its what’s in your heart that really counts.
After taking a look at all of CP’s pieces I noticed that his works share a common theme they all have a story to reveal and a lesson to teach if you look close enough. CP even developed a controversial piece for the show called “Addicted to Mediocre.” He out did himself on this one. Only one artist can take the heads of great painters like Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat put them on a light bulb and call the three-panel painting “Addicted to Mediocre.” Even the title itself can cause viewers to raise their eyebrows because mediocre is one word that people NEVER use when it comes to these two artists.
The painting which contains a $9,000 price tag is apart of the artist’s first solo show called Coulrophobia. Charlton Palmer also known as CPtheartist tells Va Mag what irritates him about the iconic artists.
“I think they are two of the most mediocre artists of all time. They did a show together. Their last show stunk, anyone who can pickup a silkscreen and paint automatically can put together a Basquiat.” This addiction to fame which many people strive for is equivalent to having a monkey on your back according to CPtheartist. This thought process is what helped him to create this 6ft by4ft painting which has garnered a lot of attention.
He explains that “Art is the marriage between craftmanship and imagination.” He included this quote on the “Addicted to Mediocre,” piece and he believes that one of the biggest problems with artists today is the fact that they have imagination but no craftsmanship. A combination of tapping into both areas is exactly what CPtheartist uses to create the “Coulrophobia,” series. The term “Coulrophobia,” means the fear of clowns and the characters play apart in a majority of his paintings.
“The term plays out in my life because I am a transparent person yet people fear what I say…They are being clowns [by] acting like the person [that] they are hiding behind. Coulrophobia is the fear of others being themselves. To me also its about me not being afraid of breaking the rules in the art industry. I am not going to be someone’s gimmick.”