I have been reluctant to work on large canvases with Metro, even though his painting style is more suited to a large format, he doesn’t always know his own strength. Besides breaking a lot of brushes, he has also been known to tear a canvas or two with his powerful brushstroke. This can be really frustrating when we’ve been working on one for 3 days, and Metro decides to tear a hole in it. And I was not really keen on investing $70 into a large canvas just to have Metro rip it to shreds.
So I decided to make the switch to cradled hardboard. It still looks like gallery wrapped canvas when painted, but instead of a tearable surface, the surface is made of 1/8″ hardboard. This means Metro is free to attack the painting in any way he chooses.
With CCTV America scheduled to come out and film Metro for a segment that will air on CCTV and PBS, I thought it was the perfect time to introduce him to the large painting. It would look better on camera. Metro could make more brush strokes on a bigger surface without going off the edge. Horses have a blind spot directly in front of their face, so I don’t know how much of the canvas Metro can actually see while he is painting. I really think he just paints by feel. When I call him to the canvas, he knows exactly where to stand and the correct position to be in. As long as his paintbrush is of proper length, he is fine. If I give him a paint brush that is a little longer than he is used to, it really throws him off. So I really think he is painting blind.
Working small also means he will eventually fall off the edge of the painting, and not find his way back on. The large format allows him to make more brush strokes with out finding the edge. Not always great for the painting, because after the first couple of strokes, all the paint on the brush has been applied. Any stroke after two, means he is just smearing paint around. But it is great for TV, because he is just making lots of strokes and just going to town. We can always finish up the painting with better strokes later.
The filming with CCTV went great, even though they were here for 5 hours. Usually with the news stories we have been filming, they are in and out in an hour. But this filming was different. This wasn’t going to be a 2 minute piece on the local news. This was going to be a 10 minute mini documentary that is going to air on a new show called Full Frame. It will air sometime in May on CCTV and PBS.
You can’t spend 5 hours with Metro, without getting a little of that “Metro Attitude”. And Metro showed the cameras every side he had to offer. He was great painting, but some of the other shots, he was quite nippy, restless, and just downright cranky. This will probably be the first segment that will show the temperamental side of Metro.
Here is the finished painting that Metro worked on for the filming. He was basically just smearing paint around and making a mess of it while he was getting filmed, but in subsequent sessions, we were able to make a nice painting out of it. We decided to call it “Wild Horses” because everybody was seeing figures of horses in the painting. It is amazing what kind of images you can find in one of Metro’s paintings, if you stare at it long enough.
“Wild Horses” by Metro $1100
36″x24″ Acrylic on 2″ deep cradled hardboard.
Available at Gallery 30. Will ship. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org