GTP- An Interview With George Frizzell
There are artists who paint pictures of motorcycles, and there are a few bikers that happen to be artists. George Frizzell fits into that latter category. The man’s roots lie in an outlaw culture that doesn’t have much place in wine tasting parties at fine art galleries, and his art has a very raw edge that’s not far at all from those roots. This is the underbelly baby, and no apologies are made for it.
It’s been said that real art is driven by hunger. It’s also been said that hunger makes you mean, and I’ve long suspected that there’s some kind of unholy trinity in there that separates the shit I like from the shit that the “art world” tells me I should like. The real world has little to do with the ivory towers of Art History and the real world is what contemporary art should be about.
Tell us a little about yourself, where you hang your hat and where you work?
Right now I live in a 20’ 1973 Winnebago on the edge of the Rim in Payson Arizona. It’s a small house with a great view.
You’ve written a column for The Horse/ Back Street Choppers for a while, and now you’ve compiled that into a book. How did that get started?
The writing is a fluke; I have no idea what happened to make that come about. I think it was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. People seemed to be following my shit pretty regularly so I rewrote all the articles, put the swears back in and published it. Folks seem to be really like them in book form so I guess it was a good idea. Who’d have thunk it?
How did you get into painting, and how does that process relate to your writing? Or was it the other way around?
Neither affects the other, they are two completely different animals. I paint because I love it and always have , it was a pivotal moment when I was in art school and realized I loved creating art no matter how much people turned their nose up to it. Before that I was just there for the pussy.
“Kickin’ stones around in the moonlight I build small temples to insignificant Gods for no other’s pleasure but my own. Fuckin’ tweeker…but no Meth involved.
The high desert, although I am not completely off the grid yet, is an environment that will either make or break you. You’re goin’ to lose your mother fuckin’ mind or you won’t if you just do things that make you look like you have. I have gone the latter…I hope.” -GTP, 2010
Your brother’s an artist as well, is this something that runs in the family?
In these days of digital everything it sometimes feels like traditional arts- i.e., paint on canvas- is way under-appreciated. Coming from an old school background, what kind of effect do you think the “digital revolution” has had on artists in general ?
“People look at paintings and shit and just see it as a picture, they ain’t, not to the fuckers that paint ’em and the stoners that stare at ’em. To me they ain’t a picture, the overall image is cool but it’s the work in different little areas that you can really just lose yourself in. Man it’s a gas, faces become choppy little blotches of high chroma larva and the hands in the shadows become supernovas.” -GTP, 2013
Bikes and women are central themes in your work, unarguably great subject matter. What was your first motorcycle and what are you riding today?
What is your creative process like?
How would you describe your painting style, is there a particular “school” of art (i.e. surrealism) that fits your stuff or is it just off on its own trip?
“The stories and excitement of your rebellious youth become the things you share with your friends around the campfire and make you cringe when you think of doin’ them again. I have a lot of great stories that I am really glad I’ve been able to collect. If I hadn’t done them would I want to do any of them now, some yes, but the really interesting ones I probably wouldn’t want to even toy with the idea now that I have gained even a limited amount of wisdom.” -GTP
It’s not just about the art either; you’re living the “biker lifestyle” in a pretty definitive way. How do you think that’s changed in the USA over the last few decades?
What are you working on now and what are your upcoming plans?
Copies of George the Painter – A Bathroom Reader along with original paintings, prints and more are available at George Frizzell’s website, americanmotherfucker.com
Read more at:
americanmotherfucker.com – GTP Official Website
Great article – George and his work are AMAZING!
Was my best friend in high school always an awesome artist
I’m reading his book for the fifth time. I regonise his sense of life in my own lifestyle.
I love his way of thinking. Cheers from France