With an artist residency in Hollywood and a collaboration with a luxury fashion house, GREGORY SIFF is feeling good and continues to spread happiness through his art that beats with good vibration in every illustration.
Gregory Siff, first and foremost, is an artist and a modern renaissance man. Also a playwright and an actor both on-screen and onstage, Gregory is a creative that dabbles in different mediums and platforms, but the paintbrush remains his weapon of choice. Producing art that traces its roots to the works of Basquiat, Haring, and Warhol, Gregory’s artworks are messy, energetic, and alive. Often characterized as pop and abstract, he brings life to and puts the spotlight on seemingly banal things such as an ice cream cone, a cupcake, or a cocktail drink, “[exhibiting] meaning that is literal yet open for interpretation of nostalgia and childhood.”
While focusing on the ordinary, Gregory’s works remain grounded; his art belonging to museums and galleries as much as the walls of streets and alleys. And while each artwork is personal to the artist—a painting of who he is—collaborations are something that Gregory fully embraces, believing in bringing out the emotions of the soul. Just recently, Gregory brought his street art to high fashion in his collaboration with Saint Laurent’s newly appointed creative director, Anthony Vaccarello, for the brand’s fall 2017 ready-to-wear collection—an experience Gregory describes as exhilarating, for the artist himself appreciates the beautiful contrast in the relationship of fashion and art. Not limited to fashion, his other collaborations include working with Helmut Lang, Mercedes Benz, SoulCycle, and The Standard.
Gregory, currently based in Los Angeles, is an artist-in-residence at the Dream Hotel in Hollywood. Stemming from 4AM Gallery and his own studio, it is an avenue for the artist’s new works and never-before-seen paintings, providing a deeper understanding of Gregory’s artistic career. Another thing he’s looking forward to is Art Basel Miami in December, where he’ll stage a couple of new exhibits. But more importantly, Gregory is looking forward to producing more feel-good art—art that inspires hope, understanding, and unity; for Gregory, first and foremost, is a dealer of happiness.
“By sharing a common bond of humanity in a dark world, we cannot give up on what actually connects us together and will never break us apart.”
How did growing up in New York contribute to you being an artist?
G: My mom used to always bring me to the Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the MoMA, Growing up with New York City as a playground most definitely colored my world. My mom and dad were pretty cool; they were in the nightclub/restaurant scene. They hung out at Mr. Chow and brought me with them so I got to see paintings by Andy Warhol. I was able to understand at a young age what fine art was.
You mentioned in an interview that Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Andy Warhol serve as your biggest influences. What is it about these men that made you want to become an artist?
G: Besides the fact that all these artists were working and creating in studios in New York City, all of these men painted their life stories inside the context of their work. Whether it was the struggle of Jean-Michel’s lovers, Haring’s battle with HIV, or Andy’s Campbell’s soup can that his mom used to make him for dinner. I love that these artists shared their stories, and left their meaning on this earth. I also love the artist Louisxxx out of NYC.
You’re currently based in LA. How does the LA scene affect your art? And what role does environment play in an artist’s work?
G: I fell in love with Los Angeles and never fell out of it. It’s made me the man I am today and allowed me to grow to who I am over the 10 years I have been here. That’s why I have a tremendous amount of respect for this place. Many people are quick to point at the fake smokescreen of a perfect world here, but once you acknowledge that it is a Disneyland, and that as an artist you are here to uncover the truth, the LA world becomes a better place. I would never give up Sunset Boulevard as my number one Muse. She’s beautiful dark and dazzling.
Can you share with us how a regular day for you is like? Do you have routines in relation to making art?
G: A regular day for me is get to the Treehouse, which is my studio by the Chateau Marmont. I light up some chocolate brownie incense, put on some music, and stare at the wall where there are six things going on at once. I look at it like it’s a symphony. When I feel moved to add or subtract to the wall I do it before I know that the day is over. And then, I can’t wait to do it again.
What are the benefits of being a multi-hyphenated artist?
G: An artist is anyone who expresses himself in any form. The paintbrush for me is the way to deliver.
Your work is often very collaborative. What’s the importance of collaborations for a contemporary artist?
G: I usually only collaborate with like-hearted individuals and friends who share the same fervor for getting out what’s in their soul.
You recently collaborated with Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent. How was the experience for you? Does appreciation for fashion come naturally to you?
G: It was very rewarding. To see my paintings come to life in silk and mohair and fabrick was exhilarating. I love fashion because it’s like a faucet of water flowing and you can’t hold onto it. In art we’re trying to catch a moment and freeze it for all time on the canvas. The irony between fashion and art is where these two merge, the forever and the fading. It’s all in one. I love painting on clothes.
You’ve dubbed your art as “feel-good art” and you believe in art that starts important conversations. What task does your work try to accomplish under the present state of political anxiety?
G: Companionship, brotherhood, sisterhood, family, love, and a common bond and appreciation for what is real and what is the energy and life of this generation and others to come. By sharing a common bond of humanity in a dark world, we cannot give up on what actually connects us together and will never break us apart.
With numerous collaborations and exhibits under your belt, do you still have dream projects/collaborations? Perhaps another discipline or medium that you plan to try next?
G: Yes. I have a lot. I know I’ll have just enough time to complete them. Sculpture and functional sculpture. The function is happiness.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
G: Right now, I am very excited about my new residency at the Dream Hollywood with 4AM Gallery. It is here where you can find some of my latest work from paintings to clothing to never before seen paintings from my own collection. It’s a great place to work and hang out and get a taste of where I’ve been as an artist. Also, Art Basel Miami is approaching in December and I have a couple of new shows and dreams coming true there.