Alex Trainor - High School Art Class
By Alex Trainor
High School Art Class, acrylic on canvas, 18" x 24" by Alex Trainor.
When I Grow Up, I Want To Be a Kid examines the ways in which childhood dreams are often unceremoniously pushed to the side to make way for the mundane obligations of adult life. Alex Trainor’s paintings propose a return to the perspective of a child, with an inquisitive point of view that begs its viewers to reconnect with their youthful self. Trainor integrates his childhood love for doodling into his current work stating: “The artwork in my youth was always a journey towards laughter.”
Trainor uses the term “situational imagination”-- a play on situational awareness– to describe his approach to creating this work. If situational awareness means a comprehension of one’s surroundings, situational imagination is a perspective of innocence and openness in viewing the world around you. It was this meditation on the perspective shift from childhood to adulthood that inspired Trainor’s “Dad” paintings. Having grown up as an Asian-American child in suburban America, Trainor takes the tradition of a Japanese dry garden –outdoor meditation spaces created with rigorous curation and concentration– and applies it to the classic American lawn. Having watched his own father and others like him devote hours to creating the most perfect lines of mown grass with discipline and care, this maintenance of home becomes a meditation in its own right, perhaps as a way to reconnect with one’s inner self.
Trainor employs a visual language characterized by an intentional use of line, accuracy of the figure, and vibrancy of color which is contrasted with darker, muted tones. The interiority of the subjects is captured in the spaces they inhabit; Trainor's compositions feature vibrant figures enclosed in almost claustrophobic plains of color and line that vaguely resemble familiar environments. The distortion of these environments contribute to a sense of anxiety and unknown, which speaks to the experience of “losing” one core self when transitioning out of childhood.
Artists often create their work in an attempt to answer, or at least to question, long-held personal beliefs that are ingrained in each of us by the society we grow up in. Many artists seek a return to the freedom and safety of childhood, to capture once again creativity in its purest form, unburdened by cynicism and self-judgment. For artist Alex Trainor, it is the transition from childhood into the often cold realities of adulthood that informs his newest body of work, When I Grow Up, I Want To Be a Kid.