Making Art from Itches

By John O'Connor / July 3, 2018

I was really close to my grandfather on my mother’s side and spent much of my youth with him and my grandmother, as my mother worked the late shift at the local hospital and they watched me and my brother every night. We also had dinner with them every weekend until I left for graduate…

Matt Kleberg’s Drawings

By John O'Connor / June 21, 2018

Matt makes intensely engaging paintings that grapple with the relationship between architectural spatiality and painterly flatness. Their color, gradations, and undulating, isometric patterns reveal shallow spaces that appear to both open and close simultaneously. Subtle shifts in the color and direction of his oil stick stripes and marks can make a wall seem to be…

Part 2: Interview with Chris Arabadjis

By John O'Connor / May 23, 2018

When I was writing my last essay on Chris’s works, we talked at length over email and his answers to my questions were really insightful. Chris also visited my Experimental Drawing class and the students loved him. Below is an edited version of our interview.   John – What was your work like at Pratt…

Win the Lottery by Making a Drawing

By John O'Connor / May 18, 2018

As a follow up to my previous post, I thought it would be interesting to discuss a few more drawings that deal with the lottery, in more detail – how I thought through them in terms of process, and how I translated the ideas I have about the lottery into works that both reflect these…

Math Art for Kids

By John O'Connor / April 24, 2018

For this post I thought I’d talk about a drawing I’m currently working on and discuss how it has evolved over time. My son is 8 years old and one part of his math homework is completing word problems. These are math problems where the main information is presented in narrative form. A fairly simple…

On the Works of Chris Arabadjis

By John O'Connor / April 17, 2018

The Butterfly Effect was named in the 1960’s by Edward Lorenz. He used to describe how a very simple system could yield immensely greater effects in varyingly unpredictable ways. Lorenz described the details of a tornado: its form, its velocity, path, etc., as being influenced by exceedingly minor disturbances in the weather. As the story…

Chris Taylor: Trying to Draw Billabongs

By John O'Connor / April 3, 2018

Chris and I are both from Westfield, Massachusetts so I know something of what he saw as he grew up. We lived near Northampton, in the midst of the western Massachusetts alternative music scene, and both loved the music of Dinosaur Jr., Steve Westfield, Pangloss, Sebadoh, and others. This music was being made in the…

How-To Make Art From Spam Emails

By John O'Connor / March 28, 2018

Like everyone, I get a ton of spam emails. And I often respond. I’m interested in how these emails, particularly those that attempt to elicit a visceral response, utilize language that appeals to our basic human impulses – they’re like technological fish food attempting to hook us into an emotional response based on our most…

The Work of Raha Raissnia

By John O'Connor / March 23, 2018

I first met Raha when we were in graduate school at Pratt Institute and have followed her work ever since. She works across and within many mediums (film, collage, painting, etc.), each informing the other and crossing into the other, yet her work in drawing has always been central to her practice. Raha’s drawings fuse…

Drawing in the Dark

By John O'Connor / March 7, 2018

Part 1. For this drawing, take 3 large pieces of paper, turn off the lights, and make drawings in your room, at night, in the dark.  Begin by toning your paper with a middle grey by rubbing an even amount of charcoal all over your paper; push it into the surface. Use your eraser to…