Filming James Griffith’s Tar Paintings

I just voted for tar, and I know you want to as well, which is why I’m making it easy. Click, click here and it’s done.

Your reward? Should James win the vote, our reward is getting the full story of the genesis of the tar paintings in a short documentary to be made by the Los Angeles public television station KCET. (And maybe we can twist James’ arm for an invite for all of us to their summer concert series held at the Folly Bowl. I forget how many it holds.)

Five years ago artist James Griffith uncovered the answer to a mystery at the La Brea Tar Pits that we’ve all pondered since schoolchildren visits to the site — just how exciting are the social lives of paleontologists working among the saber-toothed tiger bones on Wilshire Boulevard? And the answer turns out to be not very. Lonely and isolated in their workspace beneath the auto-infested environs of Wilshire Boulevard where it intersects the Tar Pits, these hard-working scientists responded to a knock on their lab door and an improbable request for a bucket of tar with surprising alacrity. Aside from being starved for human interaction, that’s also due to the fact that the request was made by James Griffith, who could charm a mastodon out of its tusks. As interested in science as art, James instantly made co-conspirators of the scientists in his new project, his “tar” paintings, which I’ve posted about before here and here.

“”When I thought of tar as a material, I loved it because on one hand it is this primordial goo. At the same time, it’s at the heart of the whole environmental problem. It has a contemporary quality and but also an incredibly ancient timeline quality. I just love that.”

The search for the proper fixatives, the furtive trips back to the scientists’ lair for more tar, the first paintings taking form and clinging to the canvas, I’d love to see this story and work filmed. This tar artist needs your vote now. Voting closes Monday, April 29, 2013.

 photo NaturalSelectionTaronCanvas36x282012-1.jpg

Did I mention you can vote here? Click, click…(vote for tar — pass it on!)

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