Carlo Busceme IV to unveil fruits of artistic compulsion at TASI
Vibrant, complex and subtle.
For an artist who sometimes finds it difficult to talk about his art, Carlo Busceme IV’s show, “Relentless,” is an exhibition that he hopes speaks for itself.
“I don’t talk about my art. It’s hard for me, sometimes, to put into words the visual thoughts I have,” Busceme says. “I make the art because that is how I can express my thoughts. It’s funny because (art) is the silliest, most unimportant thing, but at the same time, it is the most important thing.
“It’s one of the most important things for humanity — the desire to create that which compels you as an artist.”
A challenge for Busceme during the approach to the show’s deadline was finding an appropriate name for his collection of drawings and ceramics. He joked about the title perhaps being, “The Don’t Bleed in Front of the Customers Show.”
He settled on “Relentless,” which refers to the continuous desire and compulsion to create and solve visual puzzles.
“My need to create and work toward a solution is endless, and it’s with me all the time. I’ve set myself up to rely on the ‘Eureka!’ moments within each piece for satisfaction,” he says.
Busceme says he has been compelled to draw since early childhood.
“I like comic books, videos, TV, cartoons,” he says. “I would draw monsters and play out scenes. It was always exciting that you could make up anything and put it on paper to look at later, and come back to it later and re-experience it.”
The “Relentless” exhibition is a continuation of this life-long need to draw and seeks to build upon everything he has done.
“This is about reporting back to where I’m at as an artist. I feel that my work has changed a lot from my previous work and shows, and that I’m growing and developing my art,” Busceme says.
And, he says, change and time of change can be difficult to express to an audience.
People often describe art as in the eyes of beholder, as is the growth of any artist — the ‘regurgitation,’ in his words, of visual imagery of Carlo Busceme IV, the artist. Busceme’s self-deprecation is not about ego, but about a thoughtful, emotional and intimate showing of his work to date.
“I’m eager to please myself. I make work to satisfy myself and my interests. I enjoy making art and I think the work is accessible, and certainly I hope that people see it and it enjoy and that they get something out of it, too,” he says.
This show represents a period of building a “visual vocabulary,” a bank of images that he can visit again and again to build something new.
“I like the concept that I can revisit imagery and then be inspired and present it in a different way that maybe I didn’t see before, and that I present in a different way that interests me,” Busceme says.
The work he had to make, name or not, is meant as part of a massive series, Busceme says. It’s not intended as a single show, but a massive series, a continuous path of personal fulfillment and enjoyment.
The works of “Relentless” are bright and colorful with fewer corners — a sharp new set of imagery he says. It is marked with broad strokes of pen, colored pencil and paint pens on uniform, mid-weight cardstock.
“It’s bright, it’s colorful, less corners, less sharp,” he says. “I’m trying to put myself in a place I’ve never been before. I wanted everything less sharp, less aggressive. I think it is an accessible process.”
Busceme says he often works on multiple pieces at a time, and this show comprises about a year’s worth of physical work.
“It’s like putting together a puzzle without knowing what the shapes are, so you have to make up the shapes as you go along to fill the spaces you create,” he says. “It’s entirely spontaneous. I’ll have 10 pieces laid out and I’ll have a particular color or material. I’ll jump around to six different pieces and find a place to use it — seeing where I can put on different pieces. It’s more about figuring out where each piece goes and doing it quickly, because I feel that if I don’t immediately act the idea it becomes lost.”
Busceme says it is challenging to self-curate his own work, from paring down doodles to finished pieces, sizes and proportion, and then trying to make it work for the gallery space as well.
“The act of making of making those marks and the act of deciding what goes where is hard for me,” he says. “I feel like the work is one big riddle, that I’m still trying to figure out as I create it. It’s spontaneous, tedious and exciting all at the same time. One moment, I’m really into one piece and the next I want to throw everything out and start over.
“It’s different from anything else I’ve ever made. I feel this is exactly as it needs to be. It’s new imagery. I go in polar opposite directions.”
“Cheesy citrus.” “Rorschach test.” These are some of the working titles Busceme gives his pieces as he works on them.
“I don’t see the value in naming them,” he says. “I don’t think it’s necessarily important for people to see my connection in how I identify the works. It’s more about trying to show (that) anyone who views the work and I can have a mutual connection.”
“I don’t know what that means, but that is how I feel about it.”
Busceme says that each piece has about a thousand different names while he works on it for weeks.
“It’s hard to pick out one name to represent a work forever,” he says. “I feel that if I was doing a conceptual piece and had particular idea as I’m going into it, I might, but because these are so spontaneous and composed of thousands of different, little moments of me reacting, they are endless and they’re not supposed to have names.”
Unlike the chaotic structure of Busceme’s ongoing work, his space is as curated, neat and orderly as Carlo Busceme IV the person. The tailored area is stocked with the pencils, ink, markers and paint pens of a thoughtful artist and someone who is seeking to control his space and place in time.
Busceme’s latest work is bold, drawing infusions by way of Japanese and Korean illustrators, with bright colors.
“I’ve been really influenced by that lately — high contrast, aggressive, in-your-face color and contrast, while at the same time being subtle and pleasing,” he says. “Complex and subtle, more and more detail, bright and fervent — what I get out of the work and like is when I see a composition and how it is put together. You could say some of these are chaotic. But what I like is a work composed in such a way that it has what it needs; nothing more, nothing less.”
The drawn ink works in progress are quiet and loud together as one. Busceme says he is also influenced by ceramic sculptures, and the forms and combination give a sense of fluidity, an active form that is calming and surprises viewers.
The influences are evident in a collection of worldly compositions, very modern presentation merges with subtle manga or street art, resembling graffiti. A sense of Japanese ukiyo-e style woodblock prints that use a number of colors to achieve complex and detailed images, and something that seems to synthesize between older and modern styles of drawing and printing.
The abstractions are also reminiscent of Picasso, who said he used color as an expressive element, but relied on drawing rather than subtleties of color to create form and space.
Picasso and Braque have been said to paint objects as facets of an analysis, rather than as unified objects; they wanted to paint as they thought, not as they saw. Similarly, Busceme challenges the traditional concept of pictorial space by presenting what he feels and thinks rather than a standard representation of objects.
In another interpretation, as Wassily Kandinsky wrote in his seminal book, “Du Spirituel dans l’art (Concerning the Spiritual in Art),” published in 1912, Busceme explores the interrelation of a pictorial language that is only loosely related to the outside world, but expressed volumes about the artist’s inner experience — a “visual vocabulary.”
Busceme’s visual vocabulary will alert patrons to this exploration of imagery.
“I’m making them so I can see the thoughts that I have — and others can see them as well.”
The Art Studio, Inc. is located at 720 Franklin in downtown Beaumont.
For more information, visit www.artstudio.org.
Story and photos by Stephan Malick
ISSUE copy editor