“Color pencils, graphite pencils and a fat stack of monogramed butter off white hotel stationary. Ermal stealthy sources me an electric pencil sharper which relieves the single kitchen knife of shaving crude points. It’s in my room, plugged in when I return.”
The sound is excruciatingly esoteric, ancient and primal. I wake up like a shot pre-dawn in Hollywood, California to the sound of wild dogs, a pack of coyotes tearing prey apart. Delighted execution. They sort of cackle and scream. Chateau Marmont is discerning. Somehow the staff and the ether know whom to allow intimately in, and whom to deny. I share the hallway with a glamorous democrat and her small dog Snoop. She drives a Porsche boasting Idaho plates, wears kelly green cashmere and has lived at the hotel for two years. We exchange hand written cards with an understanding of east coast old manner dignity under doors and otherwise honor the cardinal rule, privacy. Suite 58 is elegant, sweeping old world Andre Balazs chic busted tile cool. Sometimes the shower tiles burst from steam. I pick up sharp fragments and call for Mario. I sleep with the windows thrown wide open. Whatever the coyotes killed succumbs to being gone and the haunting earth-bound spirit dogs dissolve into the dry hills. I am up it’s 5 am. Wile E. Coyote is blown apart exactly seventy three times. Jones based the coyote on Mark Twain\\\’s book Roughing It, in which Twain described the coyote as \\\”a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton\\\” that is \\\”a living, breathing allegory of want. He is always hungry.\\\” Nailing the cartoons is surprisingly difficult. The simplicity of shape and necessity of proportional exactness forces my very left handed self into a more linear creative practice. The Director of Gagosian, whom I adore personally and professionally types in her trademark enviable cadence, “ ……..how is the practice going? “. My practice is honing Deb. Getting better and better. The realistic bones of these characters take hours. As the easiest shapes have historically been the hardest for me to master. I force myself to get these iconic American animals exactly right first. A self imposed finish line, render the duck draw the mouse before being freed from nice gates to explode. Each drawing snaps seamlessly via puzzle pieces. In the end our tireless scrawny coyote holds a stick of red dynamite, stands on a long winding road flecked by a few stands of grass. The word ‘ FIRE !! ‘ recklessly spells itself across the refined hotel page. The words just come. A clenched fist duck speaks of ‘ POLITICS !! ‘ , isn’t that how we all feel? Fuck! Looney Tunes and Disney are iconic American chocolate chip cookies and cold milk. I am reaching for dark levity and unanimous recognition, deranged comfort. There is a dark side to all things Warner Bros. of course, complex psychological interpretations and sinister undertones. What gender is Tweety? Male technically but Mel Brooks bends his her their line with high pitched vocals and the bright yellow bird’s mannerisms do sway in fem tandem with long curled batting lashes. Nevertheless we all escape here or somehow are imprinted with the memory of these charming hapless hopeless heroes, crooked forlorn outsiders and blow you up villains. Can I draw daffy duck solely using one graphic pencil , no eraser – and make it sing beyond just a straight copy? What is the play with Mickey? I come back to that famous mouse over and over. On Chateau letterhead he multiplies and even dies. The upside down angle winged Mickey is technically dead. Our daily news cycle does not escape me. I am in a robe with my friend Delmy vacuuming when I learn of the massacre in Buffalo, New York. Tops Grocery. Delmy leaves and I craft a Klansman on hooded horse back. A lynching of innocents in a market. I don’t leave the room for days after that. The KKK rider is awkwardly mounted, collaged and wielding a flaming cross – bigger than the exacting letter paper dimensions . Archangel Michael defeats the devil. A protester in Ukraine clutches an abstract Molotov cocktail. A policeman threatens baton cracks and dog teeth as he chases down a bank robber in what becomes a diptych. Roadrunner speed twirls skinny legs under the word ‘ SIMILAC’. News of formula shortages loop in my brain. How is that even possible. How are we so systemically broken and corrupt. The poor take it on the chin again. The pictures come alive , spread across a huge suite and exist somehow together as one team in my pristine orchid filled hideout. I stay for six months making art. Did three bespoke leather jackets too. At my best work pours from the most hidden part of my innards, the part no one will ever know. I work for hours semi disassociated. A waterfall. Authentic. Raw. They did not all survive. I do not always hit the mark of course, tearing up at least a dozen. Chateau Marmont has benevolent marrow, and lives by the law of karma in Chanel couture. You get what you give. The ether hums for artists, wants us, keeps us. Federica oks a stay for the year. But I miss New York so I fly. What an honor to call that stately controversy home, and my privilege entirely to be supported patiently , generously and discreetly by formidable, gorgeous, talented loyal staff. They are my friends by now. The spirits in those halls too. Dana Louise Kirkpatrick, born Cambridge, Massachusetts 1976, raised in Washington, D.C. is contemporary artist whose emotive line quality echos of German expressionism. Based in New York City, her work succinctly examines societal, cultural, political, individual and collective plights casting light on the disenfranchised. Dana Louise’s current body of work stems from an eight month stay at Hollywood’s iconic Chateau Marmont. Kirkpatrick has created nearly 50 drawings on hotel letterhead with graphite and colored pencils, utilizing collage technique. Sourcing inspiration from the deranged comfort found in adored American cartoon characters wholly aware of their \\\”complex psychological interpretations and sinister undertones\\\” Kirkpatrick creates profound visual statements on societal turmoil. Highlighting the escapism found in these \\\”charming, hapless, hopeless heroes, crooked forlorn outsiders and blow-you-up villains\\\” by pairing them with timely text, headlines and visual cues sourced from our daily news cycle. Corruption, injustice and social upheaval inform the subject of many works in this collection. Archangel Michael , a Klansman on horseback, a Ukrainian protester, police brutality, and the devil itself fill the buttery off white hotel stationary page as relentless realities pulling Kirkpatrick back to earth from her all-encompassing art making process rooted in the \\\”benevolent marrow\\\” of the Chateau Marmont. Kirkpatrick received a BA (graduating with honours including the esteemed DaVinci Medal of Excellence) from Georgetown University and studied at the Art Student’s League of New York. The artist has a formidable humanitarian dossier spanning two decades, most recently spearheading a partnership between Supreme New York and Help USA which raised 1.3 m for the charity. Kirkpatrick is thrilled to partner in December 2022 with Tony Hawk’s \\\”The Skatepark Project\\\” on a holiday deck release. Total proceeds benefitting the nonprofit organization.
all images © the gallery and the artist(s)