Greg Mocilnikar

Studio Location: Perfectly deteriorated, stucco storefront on a busy Long Beach street.

You know his paintings from: Several, well received shows at Walter Maciel Gallery in Culver City where he also has a solo show opening in January 2016.

Fun Fact: Phonetic pronunciation of Mocilnikar – (Mo-sil-nih-car)

The following is an excerpted conversation from 10/23/15

G.M.: I walk around every day with these (small sketchbooks). I document all these random things. They stem from movies or a design I liked, or an object I look at all the time and after that it develops in the studio. I don’t consider this preliminary work. They are part of the work.


S.L.: Walking around with sketchbooks is a pretty analog move.

G.M.: The way I use technology is as a source of input and information and not creation. Instagram is one of my favorite things on earth. It’s a great way to look at what other people are doing and getting input.

S.L.: Your paintings don’t look computer driven or projected or anything. You didn’t trace these into existence.


G.M.: In graduate school, I worked with the figure and representation. Is a painting successful because the subject is interesting looking? Is it the subject matter or how I depict it? Process became the most important thing to me. The subject could be anything; a drink, a table saw, a sexual fantasy, a bridge in Big Sur. Anything could be important.


G.M.: It wasn’t the end product that got me to paint it to begin with.


S.L.: Is making art hard or easy?

G.M.: It’s easy to make good and bad decisions in art. It’s often the most frustrating part of my day. The moment with the most amount of conflict, the moment with the widest spectrum of emotions. But when I leave I have a great sense of relief that I went through it.


G.M.: What’s the reason for covering things up? I wanted to explore an image in a 360 sense on a 2 d surface, micro macro, shortening the space. Just traditional abstract painter concerns. But I realized I was embarrassed about some of the images I was working from; a self appointed censorship. I wanted to work with images but then I felt bad that I was making a painting about something like Rocky Horror. What was it about the original thing? How I can I make it into something that I care more deeply about.

S.L.:  That ‘s interesting. Why does there have to be a hierarchy of images? Why can’t you make a painting about Rocky Horror? Why isn’t that is legit as making a painting about war? Does everything big have to have a big idea in it?


G.M.: When you determine what kind of artist you are you have to ask do I execute ideas or do I work them out in the studio. Studio artists don’t have the clearest concept and it develops as they create the work.

S.L.: It’s sort of like being a scientist without the rationality.


GM –When I was 14 I moved from Southern California to the Dallas area. It was a tough move. It was before the internet. It might take 5 years for a band to reach there. The county we lived in didn’t allow MTV. The land was so flat that if you could find a high point you could see the curvature of the earth.

Afterwards, I went to college in Florida. Florida was dense. Everything had a shadow to it. It’s a jungle. I remember feeling encroached upon. The light may never hit you, depending on where you were. It was oppressive. The water gave you a breath. The energy of the natural world was turned up.

Living in those areas made me appreciate being here more.


G.M.:My process has some relationship to jazz where spontaneity is the main focus but it requires a lot of preliminary skill to perform it. It’s not about the recording but it’s about the experience. I care most about that as a maker and a viewer. To me, as a maker, spontaneity is the most important thing. I enjoy taking those risks.


S.L.: –You couldn’t make this work anywhere but here.

G.M.: – When my kid gets older, I’d love to do residencies. To be in a place with not much information, how does that translate into the studio?

But, since all these things we are talking about are steeped in regionalism, how would that change if I went to Montana or Mexico? There’s a part of me that wants to spend time in various geographic locations knowing I could come back to here and pick this up again.

S.L.: Yes. You know the world you’ve made so well.



You can see more of Greg’s work here. His solo show titled “Redaction” opens in January at Walter Macial Gallery.