Like a story book, I became totally engrossed and intrigued by the scenes on each page. It is such a rare and wonderful experience to be able to sit with an artist and look at their daily life through sketches. Since then, I have watched Sean’s work change and grow. His style over the years has remained the same, but the work has developed, becoming more layered and complex. His characters are still recognizable, but have become more refined. What remains the same is that you can see Sean in his work so clearly. He is a very warm and playful person to be around, with an imagination that spans beyond my peripheral vision. He pushes your imagination one step further.
Sean grew up in San Jose, California, a city that has a large artist community and many galleries. He has been showing in galleries all over San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco. Sean has also been a teacher for many years, teaching little kids, medium kids and college students over the years. Learning and teaching at the same time. He studied at California College of Arts and went on to study under Hung Liu at Mills College after seeing one of her paintings he decided he wanted to study with her. Sean also draws, does printmaking, photography and video. His technique is very layered and textured. There is a sense of awkwardness to it.
“... two parts Goya, one part comics, three parts animation, two parts graffiti, half a part Hopper, 2 Parts Ralph Steadmann, with a dash of Pollock, topped with a Carlin/ Public Enemy Sauce.” (An Excerpt from Sean Boyles’ biography).
Sean has shown and worked on pieces with a ton of talented artists, who are also some of my closest friends. Some notable ones are Joe To, Dave Choe, Rob Sato, Ako Castuera, Ryohei Tanaka, and Mitsy Avila Ovalles. “We are the Strange”, a collaboration with Mdot Strange (production illustrator and lead contributing artist), was quite a success, making it to the Sundance Film Festival in 2007. More recently Sean has been involved with Empire 7 Studios, an art space for artists and creative thinkers. Empire 7 focuses on the top artists from the San Jose area. Sean has shown in the gallery twice and also participates in “art-nights” where the public can watch art being created and also buy affordable art. He sells a lot of prints, buttons, shirts, and books.
Sean’s creative process is both controlled and loose; he appreciates working spontaneously and also meticulously. This allows his work to look fresh and loose, letting both aspects play back and forth. The first place I saw his work turns out also to be a place where most of Sean’s creativity takes place… in the sketchbook. He then takes it to the canvas or walls. The best description I have seen for his work comes from Rowan Morrison:
“His style is bumpy and clunky, an art beast that attacks with drips, slashes, puddles, lines, and splashes. Soft like stretched-out kneaded erasers and hard like gigantic jawbreakers; fluffy like downy pillows and juicy like melted otter pops; deeper than the deep end and flatter than super flat.”