Buff Monster is prepping for the opening of his forth solo showing at Corey Helford Gallery (8522 Washington BLVD, Culver City, CA), entitled Beyond the Pink. The exhibition opens on September 4 and runs to September 22, 2010. The new work caps off an exciting year for the LA-based artist, which has included participation in the “Art from the New World” group exhibition and having a painting acquired by the Bristol City Museum for its permanent collection.

We chatted to Buff Monster briefly ahead of the exhibition to get a better sense of what he’s learned in recent travels and how he goes about producing a new body of work.

Our Q&A and a preview of Beyond the Pink follow. Above photo by Kristin Burns.

CM: Your new work, which makes up Beyond Pink, is influenced by a sort of crash course in art history. What did you learn visiting museums in Europe that had a direct impact on your composition?

BM: It wasn’t so much that I learned anything about composition, but it made me think about this thing called Art. I really like Renaissance paintings. I don’t paint in a style that resembles it in any way, but I really appreciate the old masters’ knowledge and technical ability. And the context in which the work was made and viewed was so different back then, compared to today. And I thought about what it was to be an artist back then and what it is to be an artist today. Seeing pop art from the 60’s in the Tate Modern was such a shock after seeing so many amazing Renaissance paintings in the Louvre and the National Gallery. But when I got over the original shock, I fell in love, once again, with Warhol and some of the others. And then I got thinking about the art I would make for the show.

CM: I’m also interested in knowing about any street art that caught your eye… or even outdoor installations… that may have changed your thinking while traveling?

BM: There wasn’t any street art that really stood out. The architecture, of course, was amazing. And seeing Stonehenge in person was fun.

CM: Do you have goals when you start a new set of paintings? Are you attempting to create cohesive narratives over several canvases? What’s your basic process?

BM: I don’t really work with any narratives. For this show, for instance, I had tons and tons of ideas for new paintings. I spent a while buying reference material on ebay and really getting to work. Now that all the paintings are almost done, I don’t know why some ideas where made into paintings, and some just remained sketches in my book. I guess I just feel that its important to make it a Buff Monster show; new experimental pieces that may challenge the viewer, and more familiar pieces that make the viewer feel at home.

CM: Do you like exhibiting at home in LA?

BM: Yeah, Corey Helford Gallery is great. This is my fourth solo show with them.

CM: Finally, describe how ice cream influences you?

BM: Well, it is actually photos of ice cream that really influence me; so called food porn. Porn is great. Unabashed visual stimulus. Its just like Heavy Metal music, but for your eyes. And food porn is the next level. Really amazing photos of ice cream are more enjoyable to look at than eating ice cream is.

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