Sean Flood Painter - New York, USA

Music, impacts on Sean Flood’s art, depending on the rhythm or beat playing as he paints. We are aware of movement and sound in all his urban landscapes.

Zoneone Arts brings Sean Flood to you…

You comment that you use ‘music, the rhythm of the city, and canvas’.  Discuss this in relationship to your current work?

Music is my main source of inspiration.  Music fuels my mark making approach.  I try to visualize rhythms and sounds that I listen to and apply it to my paint.  I enjoy listening to a variety of instrumental beats from jazz-hip-hop-drum and bass.  Depending on what speed I am looking for during painting.  These genres of sound blend well with the urban environment and the physicality of my painting expression.

Expressions in the Street, 61 x 61 inches, Oil on Panel

When did you decide to paint cityscapes?

I was exposed to architecture and building at a young age.  I grew up with it.  My father has always been a carpenter/ builder all his life.  Starting around the age of 11 he would take me to the city to work, that is what first sparked my interest in the urban environment.  Over the years I had different types of construction and roofing jobs which only further involved me into city subject.

LIC, 48 x 48 inches, Oil on Canvas

You use many straight lines in your work, even to the extent of the use of a ruler, discuss this technique.

I enjoy the mechanical quality to straight lines.  But I certainly appreciate a whole spectrum of line work from organic brushwork to jagged ruler guided marks.  I try to incorporate a variety of line work in one piece.

Broadway Junction, 48 x 48 inches, Oil on Canvas

Your paintings are taken from many different aspects, the street level to rooftops.  How do you get access?

A lot of times in the past I would sneak up on rooftops. Sometimes it was somewhere I worked, and I could go back later.  Many times, people I got to know had some sort of connection to certain buildings and they would get me access.  Rooftops were a major focus of mine for years.

 LIC, 29 x 31 inches, Monotype

Your work, is a collection of layers – explain the technique you use?

Working in layers helps me convey the motion and speed I aim to express in my subject.  I paint layers in sessions. I usually work on 2-3 paintings at a time and give them a four-hour session each.  That way they can be drying at different points so that I always have a dry layer to work on top of.  Almost like starting a whole new drawing over the previous layer.  It’s exciting for me to work this way and partly derives from my graffiti days where you literally are going over and over previous drawings.  The goal is to intertwine and edit each layer as one. 

Explain your residency from The Stobart Foundation, and what you hope to gain from this time. 

The Stobart Foundation was a grant I received that came in very helpful during my second studio stay in NYC.  I just completed a studio residency at the School of Visual Arts in NYC.  This was an amazing and intense 4-week program where we had a critique each day with a different faculty while also working amongst 14 other fellow residency artists.  This program was an amazing experience that stirred inspiration and new ideas for my work.

 Broadway Streets, 60 x 60 inches, Oil on Panel

You have very catchy names for your exhibitions – where do they come from?  Discuss two or three names.

I choose titles that are relevant to the body of work I am presenting at an exhibit.  I keep it simple but want to define the main concept in the work like my solo show at Childs Gallery in Boston titled- “Residual Layers”

You have work in many public collections – discuss what has given you a real buzz and expanded your career.

I feel very fortunate that my art career has been a successful journey thus far.  I work hard to continue to develop my work and I think that all my experiences in my artistic life have helped push it along.

Discuss your work on paper and how it assists in your portfolio. 

Over the past 3 years I have revisited printmaking since undergrad in 2004. I have completed a combined 4 print residencies with Contemporary Center for Printmaking in Connecticut US and Lesley University in Boston, US. This has been a huge impact on my current work.  During undergrad I focused on etchings and aquatint printing techniques which I loved.  Since starting these residencies my focus was monotype printing.

 Kings Roof 23 x 15 inches, Monotype

At the first couple residencies I was trying to emulate my painting approach which turned out well.  Now I find that I approach my paintings differently the more l do with plates and stages in the print room.  This has been very exciting!

Explain the importance of drawing the viewers eye into your bustling world.

I am passionate about my environment and my paintings are collections of what I feel while making observations in the world.  I enjoy when I speak to someone looking at my work and they understand the feeling I am trying to convey.

Expressions in the Alley, 61 x 61 inches, Oil on Panel

Your work is so current, explain your thoughts on your ability as an artist to capture the history of your city.

I have an intimate relationship to Boston an in my older work I think that reveals itself in the piece.  After 3 years of painting and working in NYC I feel that same connection/relationship developing.

The size of your work is varied, how do you decide on the size of a canvas? 

Over the years I have increased the scale of my work.  I love to work large and plan to work even larger.  It is important for me to display the physicality of my mark making and working large is appropriate to do so.

Reis Studio, 36 x 36 inches, Oil on Canvas

They say you can’t take the country out of the boy.  How do you relate to this saying, by replacing the word country and replace it with URBAN life.  Discuss.

I have always loved the urban environment.  I will continue to focus on this subject as long as I feel I have continued to develop the work.  I may not paint this subject for ever and do have other subjects in mind but for now I have some new directions I will take the urban environment in.

LIC Studio, 41 x  30 inches, Monotype

Contact details:

Sean Flood

Sean Flood, New York, USA

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, August 2018