The Daily Rambling Artist: Jokes in Motion - The Art of Stand-Up Painting

The Daily Rambling Artist: Jokes in Motion - The Art of Stand-Up Painting

Stand-up comedy has captivated my admiration since my childhood. The ability to stand before an audience and effortlessly elicit laughter for an extended period is a remarkable feat. It is a gift for both the stand-up performer and the audience.

If I had the power to infuse humor into all of my work, I would do so gladly. As a moody Pisces, however, I can't predict which version of the artist will show up in the studio on any given day. Thus, humor is spread out. Nevertheless, one humorous element that I incorporate into my artwork is what I call "dancing letters." In this technique, I disperse the letters or numbers of athletes or text-based pieces throughout the mise en scène of the art.

"Why do you do this?" This is a common question I receive regarding this particular aspect of my work. Recently, someone brought it up again, expressing their fondness for the lettering on certain occasions while noting that the pieces may not necessarily "need" it.

As an artist, I am constantly attuned to the responses of my audience. This specific exchange has left me contemplating deeply. The lettering, especially on the jerseys of the players in my paintings, draws inspiration from multiple sources.

One aspect that has consistently irked me is encountering a photograph of a jersey where the positioning of the player obscures the entire name. It has always frustrated me, and thus, I sought a way to address this personal annoyance within my art. Consequently, the inclusion of legible lettering on the jerseys serves to rectify this issue. All is calm!

In addition, there is another dimension to my reasoning behind the whimsical and dancing letters. They make me laugh. Even in instances where the piece may not explicitly require it, there are days when I, as both an artist and a person, need that laughter. It may not be a profound answer, but it is rooted in my deep admiration for stand-up comedy. Laughter, to me, is everything. I would feel utterly lost without it, even if I’m not capable of producing it all of the time.

-Sergio Santos