Before meeting Ed Wilcox, the artist whose work is featured in One Hundred Small Paintings and a few Big Ones, I was expecting to see a child emerge from behind the door to introduce himself as the creator of the 100-plus works on display at
Salon Mijangos. I was pleasantly surprised when
Wilcox, a full-fledged adult, strolled in.
Wilcox juggles the title of artist and musician with ease and grace. “I used to really pride myself that people knew me as a musician and didn’t know me as an artist, and vice-versa,” says Wilcox. But those days seem to have ended for Wilcox — his music blends into his artwork, and vice-versa (check out the cover art for his and Charles Cohen’s latest album Those Are Pearls That Were His Eyes). Little creatures can be found within his works carrying banjos, creating an absolute ruckus, and Wilcox smiles at the thought of it all. Life as a musician is pretty hard — he describes it as “tedious” — and he finds comfort in “creating little characters, little friends” for himself when life on the road gets lonely.
Wilcox is a follower of the CoBrA’s, a European avant-garde movement, that “embraced informality” as he describes it. He never intends to dumb down his work, he says, he simply always wanted to make art for everyone to enjoy. And it’s hard not to enjoy it, or crack a smile, at the very least. His childlike designs at times delve into a celestial theme with his creatures dancing underneath stars and moons.
Wilcox’s works are presented in three sizes — 100 small (roughly 8.5” x 11”) pieces, six 18” x 24” pieces, and three 36” x 48” pieces. The three larger paintings share a tropical theme, inspired by Wilcox’s Florida home and his obsession with Caribbean mythology. The smaller pieces each tell a story and Wilcox shared a few with me; inspiration hits while he’s on the road, from at a circus in Chinatown to a ghetto in Chile. In keeping with his childlike theme, Wilcox’s small paintings are mounted somewhat messily, but it gives the
pieces character. It seems as if mounting the artwork is somewhat of an afterthought for him; once he finishes a creation he most likely tucks it away until an opportunity to present it arises.
Although each work stands on its own, one reoccurring theme that Wilcox acknowledged is travel. As a musician who has been at home for less than a dozen days this year, Wilcox’s self-made creatures not only keep him company on his journeys, but are his temporary escape from reality. •
One Hundred Small Paintings and a Few Big Ones:
New work by Ed Wilcox
7-10pm Nov 10 through Dec 7
1906 S. Flores