James Siena: Interview

James Siena, Battery, 1997, enamel on aluminum, 29-1/8 x 22-3/4 inches (courtesy
James Siena, Battery, 1997, enamel on aluminum, 29-1/8 x 22-3/4 inches (courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery. Photo by Ellen Labenski)

Julia Schwartz interviews painter James Siena about his work and career.

Siena comments: "I want the paint to really shine. I don’t want it to look like, 'Wow. That needs more paint. That’s too thin. I’m not seeing the color because I’m seeing washy brush strokes that don’t look like they should be there.' So, that’s technical. But the technique is only there to serve the production of the work and what’s the work’s purpose? The work’s purpose is to move you.

So there’s technical means by which we fuck with people’s heads. And so I want this thing to be attractive and repulsive in certain ways. I want it to pull you in, and for you to be dazzled by its – by its craft, attention to craft, and but then you’re also, when you look at how it’s puckered and contorted and kind of angry, that’s not so attractive. So yeah, pulled into looking at something really beautiful, and yet it’s not so beautiful."