Inspired by Jackson Pollock and disturbed by the increase in gun-related violence, the now 13-year- old artist from Los Angeles creates works that throw colour and beauty into harsh contrast with dangerous weapon replicas on canvases.
“My feelings about guns are that they are scary and dangerous. When I make one of my pieces, I create a background and then I camouflage the gun to make it almost invisible. The gun is still there, but it’s hard to see it or you don’t see it for what it really is. Hopefully my art will get people talking about guns, gun safety and gun violence. I wish guns were only in an art gallery.”
We can see artists from all over the world exploring different sides and shades of contemporary art these days. For art, age does not matter. It is something that comes from within. Art is the conscience that nudges an art lover to use his imagination and portray his dreams in material form. Art is often also a form of conversation that the artist can ignite and use to communicate his thoughts and feelings.
Such is the case with the 13-yearold artist Charles Gitnick, whose work includes replica guns. He portrays the dangerous, life threatening weapons in ways that make the viewer think of them as camouflaged and disappearing, or he associates them in surprising and startling ways with images and colours of youth or purity.
In other works, he depicts weapons in a counter-intuitive pairing to spark the poignancy of his message. Although Charles Gitnick fears the consequences that the misuse of weapons has posed on human lives, he is certainly not opposed to self-defence, police and military duty, and sport.
The young artist wants society to realise that guns should not be used except with respect to assure the safety of people. He wants to say that children like him are frightened because of many dreadful events that have shaken them badly. Gitnick also wants to convey that he is affected by mass killing and wants to see an end to it.
Charles’ career started with a sidewalk sale in Venice Beach, where he sold his first creations to curious, yet inspired, bystanders. From this point on, Charles dedicated himself to his art and was determined to find his vengeance and focus. Charles Gitnick was inspired by the work of two renowned artists, Jackson Pollock and Jean-Michel Basquiat. According to Gitnick, after studying their art, he has been able to think deeply about his own work and of the possibilities he can work into it. So far, Charles Gitnick has sold over 82 of his very impressive and inspiring art pieces. Not only does he have fans all over the United States, but also worldwide.
In a personal interview, the young artist lets us take a look into his exciting world:
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE ARTIST/ROLE MODEL?
Warhol, Basquiat and Pollock by far are my favourites. In art and in everything. They were original and courageous.
WHERE DO YOU WORK? DO YOU HAVE A STUDIO IN YOUR PARENTS’ HOUSE, A SPECIAL ROOM, OR DO YOU JUST CREATE YOUR ART WHEREVER YOU FEEL LIKE IT?
have a huge work room where the art is prepared for painting. The guns are mounted. The base coat is sprayed on. The studio I work in is good sized – it is my parents’ old dining room. It is all tarped. I have a sink and music. Drying tables. Lots of paint bottles. I have used the floor tarps as backdrops in my shows.
DO YOU PERSONALLY PREFER TO LET YOURSELF BE LED BY INTUITION OR REASON?
The pieces people like best are the ones that have both intuition in the use of colour and in my feelings, and reason in the techniques, message and titles chosen.
DO YOU HAVE VISIONS ABOUT FUTURE ART PROJECTS? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?
I really just envision the projects we are working on. I do not know about five years, but I will hopefully be working on projects and growing my audience.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?
Original. Unique. I think it looks cool.
HOW AND HOW OFTEN DO YOU CREATE YOUR WORKS?
I am always doing something with my art. If not in the studio, I might be traveling for a show or planning a project or taking an interview. Accidents are part of the process in my art. I have thrown away so much work just to get it right.
WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE MAKE UP YOUR TARGET GROUP? WHO BUYS MOST OF YOUR ARTWORK?
Young people love the look. Everyone loves the message.
WHERE DO THE WEAPONS COME FROM AND ARE THEY MADE ESPECIALLY FOR YOUR ART?
I have a supplier that I am so happy to have found. We really work together because they understand that I only want accurate replicas of real weapons.
WHAT IS ONE MAJOR CHALLENGE THAT YOU HAVE HAD TO OVERCOME IN YOUR CAREER? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?
I have had a few. Learning about hard work. Long hours at hot summer shows. People not being true and other let downs. Learning to live with both admirers and haters.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT SCHOOL AND NOT IN YOUR STUDIO?
Hang out with friends. Swim. Watch Netflix. Play with my dogs.
WHAT DO YOUR CLASSMATES AND FRIENDS THINK ABOUT YOU BEING AN ARTIST? DO THEY ENVY YOU FOR YOUR TALENT AND SUCCESS?
They really treat me the same as everybody. I like it that way. I keep my art activities pretty low key. Many of my classmates have their own thing too.
WHAT ABOUT THE GIRLS? DO THEY ADMIRE YOU?
No comment. (laughs)
WHAT IS YOUR MOST FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WORLD AND WHY?
Paris. Or Bora Bora. They are both so beautiful and amazing. I love walking in Paris and shopping, seeing art and design and architecture. I loved jet ski riding in Bora Bora and swimming with sharks and fish.
OF WHAT CAN YOU NEVER GET ENOUGH?
Sleep. I love swimming. I spend as much time as I can with friends just hanging out.
YOUR LIFE WITHOUT ART WOULD BE....?
That would not have happened, but without art I might have done something in fashion.
WHAT IS THE MOST VISITED WEBSITE ON YOUR INTERNET BROWSER? THE MOST PLAYED SONG ON YOUR PHONE?