Rod Larson-Swenson "Home Again"
I was born in Oakland in 1943. Most of my early life was spend in the Bay Area. My taste and sensibility have been largely formed by the painters of the Bay Area Figurative School. I always loved the way they let the paint be paint. I started trying to paint and draw myself in 1970. Living in the Bay Area meant I was exposed to a great deal of American and European art. The rich variety of approaches to painting is inspiring and sometimes confusing. In 1996, I moved to Taiwan and later to mainland China where I spend 20 years, feeling completely at home engaging with painters at a small college there. Chinese painters have sometimes used a visual code that enabled them to safely speak to a dangerous political situation in ways that were humorous but quite pointed. Humor has always been important to me – as a weapon against ignorance, as therapy, and as a self-protective stance. The process of painting enables me to engage in a way that is spontaneous, creative, and often quite humbling. It’s a process that is both solitary and social and as old as humanity. I’m particularly indebted to Milton 510 Bowens for his example of using art to engage important social issues. I hope to move my own work increasingly in that direction. I’m also indebted to my wife Liz Ann and my two girls Natasha and Naomi for their love and support.