Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.
John Pomara exhibited artwork before the Internet. With degrees in studio art, and exhibitions on his resume dating back to the 80's, it was more than a decade into his practice before he took an interest in technology. Now, he brings a painterly eye to the digital world, focusing much of work on the intersection of painting and new media. He magnifies images, incorporates computer stenciling, and focuses on the capacity for human error in the technological world. It's savvy abstraction, and it's a visual delight.
If he's not in his studio, manipulating images or shaking up a can of spray paint, he's investing in the future of art, instructing young artists at the University of Texas at Dallas. His most recent work can be seen at Barry Whistler Gallery through November 24.
In much of your recent work you seem interested in the proliferation of digital technology in art making, which in some ways has streamlined artistic practices. You use technology in your work, but as one of many steps to a final product. Are you working against digital technology or with it? I work with and against technology in a funny way. I incorporate the language and vernacular of the digital world but work against it in that I use glitch accidents that disrupt the image and allow chance to alter it from its correct form. The current work at Barry Whistler gallery does this. I scanned organic drips I made on photo paper and digitized them but then uploaded them to a free glitch site on the internet and where you can totally distort the original through an algorithmic breakup so to speak.
Also in the newest paintings I added spray paint from a can onto the surface juxtaposed with stenciled pixilation so it is again having the digital and the analog hand coexisting on the surface of the painting. The mechanical and the personal coexist on the surface.
When did you find yourself interested in technology and how has that changed your practice? I found myself interested in technology at first through the use of copy machines and moving images on them that were drip patterns off my studio floor. That was around 1992. They were my drawings and studies for large black and white paintings. I was trying to make the paintings appear as large scale photocopies made by hand. Two or three years later I got my first apple computer and a scanner and my whole world opened up with a vast new horizon to play with as a painter. Accidental glitched digital prints replaced the photo copies as subject matter.
Are there good/bad habits that you see in young artists that may be explained by technology? I at times see both good and bad habits by younger artists using technology. I mostly see really great things. It's just one more tool to add to your studio practice where you can alter or change the form or color of things in matter of a few moments. You can deconstruct and rebuild an image into something else whether it's a digital photo, video or a study for a painting.
I see its bad use when an artists doesn't take it far enough and it is easily recognizable the type of program or filter they used in Photoshop.
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Why did you choose to spend your career in Dallas? I choose to spend my career in Dallas by accident in a way. I tried to leave back in the early 1980's and moved to NYC for 4 years when I was in grad school. I never wanted to live in Texas but my wife at the time became pregnant and I needed a job and was offered a visiting artists position. So I came back. It was a lot easier economically raising a daughter here then in NYC at the time. I continued to work as an adjunct off and on and eventually started teaching at The University of Texas at Dallas around 1998 in tenure track position.
Can you pinpoint periods of great creativity or breakthrough moments in your career? What or when were they? There have been several great leaps or periods in my work. The first was as I mentioned using the photo copy machine to make a distortion of my work. The second getting a computer in the mid 1990's. But in 2001 I was asked to do a Concentrations Exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art. Then I really pushed the work to a more rigorous and conceptual way. First off I started painting on aluminum surfaces, pulling paint across the surface with squeegee like tools, that created the effect off a smooth glossy photo but large. I also disrupted my printer and created hundreds of glitched prints of paint drip patterns I had scanned into my computer and enlarged them as paintings. I also began using vinyl stencils in the process. Also for that exhibition, I produced 6 foot digital photos of the glitched prints from printer, mounted them on aluminum panels and hung them along side the hand made paintings.
There have been several others but I do think the current show reflects a new change in the work using the same painting process on aluminum sheets but adding spray paint into the mix. With these paintings the loosely spray paint off-kilter stripes are laid down first then I paint the pixilation lines on top like an off set overlay.
100 Creatives: 100. Theater Mastermind Matt Posey 99. Comedy Queen Amanda Austin 98. Deep Ellum Enterpriser Brandon Castillo 97. Humanitarian Artist Willie Baronet 96. Funny Man Paul Varghese 95. Painting Provocateur Art Peña 94. Magic Man Trigg Watson 93. Enigmatic Musician George Quartz 92. Artistic Luminary Joshua King 91. Inventive Director Rene Moreno 90. Color Mavens Marianne Newsom and Sunny Sliger 89. Literary Lion Thea Temple 88. Movie Maestro Eric Steele 87. Storytelling Dynamo Nicole Stewart 86. Collaborative Artist Ryder Richards 85. Party Planning Print maker Raymond Butler 84. Avant-gardist Publisher Javier Valadez 83. Movie Nerd James Wallace 82. Artistic Tastemakers Elissa & Erin Stafford 81. Pioneering Arts Advocates Mark Lowry & Michael Warner 80. Imaginative Director Jeremy Bartel 79. Behind-the-Scenes Teacher Rachel Hull 78. Kaleidoscopic Artist Taylor "Effin" Cleveland 77. Filmmaker & Environmentalist Michael Cain 76. Music Activist Salim Nourallah 75. Underground Entrepreneur Daniel Yanez 74. Original Talent Celia Eberle 73. Comic Artist Aaron Aryanpur 72. Classical Thespian Raphael Parry 71. Dance Captain Valerie Shelton Tabor 70. Underground Culture Mainstay Karen X. Minzer 69. Effervescent Gallerist Brandy Michele Adams 68. Birthday Party Enthusiast Paige Chenault 67. Community Architect Monica Diodati 66. Intrepid Publisher Will Evans 65. Writerly Wit Noa Gavin 64. Maverick Artist Roberto Munguia 63. Fresh Perspective Kelsey Leigh Ervi 62. Virtuosic Violinist Nathan Olson 61. Open Classical's Dynamic Duo Mark Landson & Patricia Yakesch 60. Rising Talent Michelle Rawlings 59. Adventurous Filmmaker Toby Halbrooks 58. Man of Mystery Edward Ruiz 57. Inquisitive Sculptor Val Curry 56. Offbeat Intellect Thomas Riccio 55. Doers and Makers Shannon Driscoll & Kayli House Cusick 54. Performance Pioneer Katherine Owens 53. Experimental Filmmaker and Video Artist Mike Morris 52. Flowering Fashioner Lucy Dang 51. Insightful Artist Stephen Lapthisophon 50. Dallas Arts District 49. Farmer's Market Localvore Sarah Perry