Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Truths, Scandals and the Fantastcial Art of Bruce Eichelberger

Bruce Eichelberger lives with his family in an ornate 1920s apartment building in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, across from the legendary Dresden Room and a short walk from La Luz de Jesus Gallery where Bruce’s Babel exhibition will be opening on Friday, December 6.

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The apartment walls are filled with art; Bruce’s as well as many others as this is a family that loves, and collects art. Their living space turns into a studio while Bruce works on pieces for his upcoming show. His wife Alma and their three boys, JayJay, Nicholas and Ilan don’t mind that their dining room, kitchen and living room become Bruce’s dedicated workspace. In fact, they give him mounds of inspiration and support.

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Bruce is a master craftsman, and creates detailed and breathtaking multi-media art using  pencil, ink, chalk, wood carving, and pyrography (burning) on board and bone. He also creates his own frames. Bruce likes to do his burning and sanding in the family dining room but paints lying down on the floor of the living room. He works all day, from six in the morning until past dark and enjoys listening to music or baseball when he is working – he might tune in the news though it tends to send him “over the top.”

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Bruce is driven to visually express his feelings about injustice and abuse of authority on many levels, especially in regards to the abuse of children by priests. His works also contain a mixture of personal truths, family “secrets” and things that he sees and hears around him.

The best way I can explain it is, there are lot of things that affect me – scandal in the church, war, any kind of abuse in the government, police abuse, stuff like that just drives me, or I’ll take little truths and embellish them – so there will be a lot of truths but by the time I’m done – only I would be aware of the truth that would apply to the piece.

Bruce’s pieces start with a single idea or thought then will twist, turn and end up in a completely different place than where he began. In process, his pieces flow as if he was improvising on a musical instrument. Though Bruce can tell you exactly what’s going on in each of his pieces, he prefers to let the viewer come to their own conclusions.

One definitive description – the original theme – I’ve given up trying to do one thing – trying to control that part of it.

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The self-taught artist took one course in college, which lasted a half of a semester. During a session where the teacher asked the students to draw an object, Bruce instead decided to take out his own drawings and work on them. The teacher was so impressed by Bruce’s works, he allowed him to continue doing so in a private area of the classroom.

My time in art class was spent either working on my own art, or helping kids in class. I could not grasp, sitting there looking at something and drawing it – there were kids in the class who were really technical but when it came down to them putting out their own idea there was nothing there.

As far as other artists influence on his works, Bruce will reference Bosh, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, da Vinci, “the same artists everyone else likes” states Bruce. However, he has his own style – though if you feel the need to make a comparison, you could point to Bosh due to the many miniature figures and scenarios in his pieces though Bruce claims he never was aware of Bosh until he arrived in LA ten years ago.

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The center-piece of Bruce’s upcoming  Babel, is mixed media creation based on a horse’s head and titled “Ilan”, after his son who was by his side while the piece was being created. You could spend a lot of time just looking at and interpreting any one tiny area of this piece. The outside of the “Ilan” is inked. “I like the challenges of inking using a brush. It was all done freehand – I’d block out a box and start drawing sort of an apocalyptic thing – a plague thing, there are doctors wearing beaks stuffed with herbs which they thought it would fight off the plague – there are plague victims. A lot of authority figures victimizing people” states the artist. The eyes are carved out of bone. You can look inside of “Ilan” through small windows expertly carved into the piece. The interior of the piece is church – with miniature paintings, sculptures, and figures, all hand-carved. The piece is a prime example of Bruce’s free-flow of ideas.

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On top of all the creative work, Bruce is concerned with making his pieces as sturdy as possible – he wants them to last years into the future. His pieces are “structurally sound.”

Babel opens at La Luz de Jesus Gallery on Friday, December 6 with shows by Jennifer Jelinsky, Krystopher Sapp and Juan Muniz, and runs through Sunday, January 29th. View previews of all shows here

Comments
One Response to “Truths, Scandals and the Fantastcial Art of Bruce Eichelberger”
  1. Joii says:

    Very good

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