LA, M+B, and Rocky Schenck
I’ve been spending some delightful Cousin visiting days in LA; it looks like my unintentional moratorium on all things Californian has now come to an end. In celebration of this I shall now post a some pictures by Rocky Schenck, who is represented by the excellent M+B Gallery.
I also think his bio on the Gallery site is a work of art in itself, so I shall include it in it’s entirety. Also, these pictures seem very David Lynchy to me, so in honor of That, here is David and his Daily Weather Report (click on the bottom right thingy).
Rocky Schenck was born in Austin, Texas during the last century, then moved to a ranch outside of Dripping Springs, Texas at age five. His dad was a part time cowboy and a full time postman. His mother occasionally worked for the Internal Revenue Service. Both were imaginative and creative artists, who enjoyed life, parties, and the occasional drink or two. They delighted in creating a fantasy world for their two children, making each and every holiday, birthday, and lost tooth a “really big deal”. Rocky and his sister Becky innocently believed in tooth fairies, Easter bunnies, and Santa Claus a little bit longer than other kids. He was nicknamed “Rocky” when he was three days old by his sister, who was confused by the other names his parents chose for his birth certificate: Richard Davis Botho Arthur Schenck.
At age twelve, Rocky began studying oil painting, having been greatly influenced by the romantic landscape paintings and portraiture work of his great-great grandfather Hermann Lungkwitz (1813-1891) and great-great uncle Richard Petri (1824-1857), both German immigrants and artists who moved to the Texas Hill Country in 1851. Rocky began selling his paintings professionally at age 13.
Around this same time, Rocky began a lifelong interest in motion pictures and photography. He began writing, directing and photographing low budget experimental films. A self taught photographer, he honed his photographic skills while taking production stills on the sets of his movies.
After 12 years at Dripping Springs School (300 students 1st grade through 12th grade) and a year and a half at North Texas State University (where he was an art major), he quit college and moved to Los Angeles. He continued making short films and taking personal photographs while working at a variety of odd jobs.
In 1987, a gallery owner in New York discovered Rocky’s work and gave him his first one man exhibition, followed by a second exhibition in 1990. Both shows were well received and reviewed by several publications, including Art in America, Artforum and Aperture. Since then, Rocky has continued to show in galleries around the world, and his work is now included in many prestigious collections.
Rocky is a firm believer in the therapeutic value of road trips, and travels often (usually with a friend). His body of work has been created during numerous trips throughout the South, and various parts of North America, Europe, England and Norway. His images range from landscapes to interior spaces…..from hotel rooms, store windows, lobbies, living rooms, information booths and conference rooms to oceans, lakes, forests, fields and trees. These environments are occasionally inhabited by silhouettes or isolated figures.
When asked how he goes about creating his photographs, Rocky Schenck replied “my approach is rather simple: I record on film what I see and what I feel as I travel through life. Although my photographs have been taken all over the world, there is a consistency to the imagery due to the manipulation of both the film’s negative and of the print’s surface. I consider my images to be illustrations of my conscious (and perhaps subconscious) dreams, emotions, and longings. Many of the images explore positive and negative realities that inhabit dreamlike settings. When I shoot these images, they are usually not premeditated or contrived . . . I simply take my camera with me wherever I go and try to remain open to whatever life shoves . . . or gently places . . .in front of me. When I’m shooting, I look for images which tell a story, or provide some element of a dramatic narrative. Of course, sometimes it’s a matter of being swept away by the haunting beauty of nature, which provides constant inspiration and solace. If I am sad or depressed or melancholy, I can wander somewhere with my camera and usually turn my mood around by stumbling upon something unexpected and wonderful.”