Tanner Goldbeck lives in a fairly intense part of downtown, but his temperament as an artist is well suited to the visceral energy of the neighborhood’s everything all the time rhythm of chaos and control. Like DTLA’s hurly-burly juxtapositions of historic architecture, street art, music, neon, wholesalers, colorful characters, danger and real pain, Goldbeck’s mixed media paintings and sculptures build and erase themselves using harmony and dissonance, dark humor and intuition, layers of material and the energy of movement. An exhibition including a brand new feisty and rather operatic monumental painting is currently on view in Glendale.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
TANNER GOLDBECK: I’ve had thoughts about being an artist all my life. Actually knowing I was an artist? … Maybe 15 years ago. I realized I could love conceptual art. A fairly major shift in my perspective. I spent the majority of my life learning how to make art without ever asking why. I think I broke my brain on Twombly one day.
What is your work about?
Visual chatter. Initially it feels like standing in a room full of people all talking at once. Gradually you can trace out a composition. Long running, thoughtful foundations buried within momentary explosions of emotional bliss.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
If I weren’t an artist, I’d most likely be a total mess.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
Yes, I graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and then went back for a few years to the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in New Jersey. I was fortunate enough to have a great fine art foundation, but was too young to fully appreciate it. I came from a place where I was the only art kid I knew. If you could see a tree and draw the tree, you were a great artist. Looking back now, I am grateful I learned things the hard way. I can use all of that battlefield experience to go off in many directions.
Why do you live in Los Angeles?
Love it or leave it, this town is nuts. The energy and the volume. The stereotypes, the drama, the history… this town holds a unique place in space and time. I do believe it is the quintessential mecca of the American art universe.
When was your first show?
My first California group show was a Film Roman Level 13 exhibition at the Rico Gallery in Santa Monica in 1999. I had just moved to Santa Barbara from New Jersey to work for Powell Peralta and entered a juried contest from an ad that I found in the back of a Juxtapoz magazine. It has been a wild ride ever since.
What is your current/most recent show or project?
I currently have a solo show with the awesome people at Tufenkian Fine Arts in Glendale. The show runs until March 26th and has a huge range of just about everything that I do.
What artists living or dead would you most like to show with?
Ahhh yeah, that list of artists can change minute to minute. I love so many different aspects and time periods. I guess John Sargent was my first art superhero. Turner slapped me in the face, Egon Schiele drives me nuts. I am thinking of this guy J.C. Leyendecker right now and I’m on a blue fix so Yves Klein has been hanging around… that could work. Add Rosenquist, David Choe and Twombly for kicks. Always wanted to watch Jenny Saville work…
Do you listen to music while you work?
No… I don’t really listen to music when I work. For whatever reason, I have a tendency to listen to old TV shows. I can stream whole series and listen to them over and over. Columbo is my guy. I can’t explain it, but I feel at ease that way. I’d have an art show with Columbo for sure. I hear Peter Falk was a pretty good artist.
Web and socials, please!