Do you know all the words to “West End Girls” by the Pet Shop Boys? Sean Randall does.
“My work attempts to a create narrative. The goal is that you will look at one of my paintings and imagine walking down that street, hearing the music coming from that bar, smelling the car fumes and restaurant grease, and looking in the faces of those characters. You will fill in blanks. You will tell the story of what happened just before this moment and what happens next.” – Sean Randall
Sean Randall started his artistic journey with doodles, comics and illustrations. He took up screen-printing and is an erstwhile designer, but that wasn’t enough. When he reached his 30s, he traded his paint brush for a pallet knife and began paint to canvas.
We asked Sean ten questions about his creative process and creating art in New Orleans.
Check out his answers below:
Describe your art in three words. Personal. Curious. Evolving.
Describe yourself in one word. Nonplussed
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work? Before moving here, my work focused on urban landscapes and city scenes. I had no plans to change direction. In fact I looked forward to the stunning visuals on display in New Orleans. But within days of settling in the Marigny, my attention shifted when I met an older gent in Washington Square Park and asked if I could paint his picture. That set me in a whole new direction. I never run out of inspiration. All I have to do is walk out the door and say hello to a stranger.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece? My only ritual when I start is to drink a cup of coffee and will myself to not fuck up. When I finish, assuming I didn’t fuck up, I drink a martini and plot my next move.
Where do you draw inspiration? Every face I see.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus? So many. Jean Michel Basquiat comes to mind first. But as far as portraiture, no one did it better than Lucian Freud. I teared up a bit the first time I saw a real life Pollack.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work? I could listen to Tom Waits’s entire catalog on repeat from now until the day I die. I wouldn’t turn my nose up if you sprinkled in some Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Waylon Jennings. I think my favorite lyric, and the most inspirational, is a bit of spoken blues from Dylan’s “Brownsville Girl”: “How far you all goin’? Ruby asked us with a sigh. We’re goin’ all the way, ’til the wheels fall of and burn. ‘Til the sun heals the pain and the seat covers fade and the water moccasin dies. Ruby just smiled and said, aw you know, some babies never learn.” It’s not really art related, but damn, it’s so good.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art? Walking the dog, sipping whiskey at the bar or begging my wife to let me hit the record shop.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year? Happy hour.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact. I know all the words to “West End Girls” by the Pet Shop Boys.
Sean Randall is one of the twelve Where Y’Artists selected for “300 for 300”, a collaboration with Nola Media Group for the New Orleans Tricentennial celebration.
Where Y’Art is the proud partner of Nola Media Group, the producers of Nola.com / The Times-Picayune for its 300 for 300 project, marking the tricentennial of New Orleans, running through 2018 and highlighting 300 people who have made New Orleans, New Orleans.