Painter John Waguespack is the consummate outsider artist. A former ad agency creative director, he hasn’t looked back since opting out of his day job to pursue a full-time painting career.
Waguespack’s second solo show, “Deconstructing Hollywood,” is on view through Jan. 21 at McLoughlin Gallery.
As a testament to his ability, Waguespack scored an uncharacteristic early break. Through a twist of fate, he landed his first solo show a year ago when he caught the eye of gallerist Joan McLoughlin of her namesake gallery in the heart of San Francisco. She was so impressed that she offered him a solo show despite his thin resume.
Embodying a vibrant color palette and using a linear form of deconstruction, with oil on canvas as his dominant medium, Waguespack’s new series is “Deconstructing Hollywood.” Created in Los Angeles in summer 2011, it examines L.A., its people and iconography. It reflects on the stark contrasts between California’s north and south both in terms of personality and geography.
“In this series I deconstructed and reconstructed people and images,” he says. “I deconstructed them to understand what they looked like on an atomic level and I reconstructed them to understand what parts made up of a whole. Essentially, it’s about my time in Hollywood. Not just the ethos of celebrity but the geography and its personality. The series also serves as a commentary on the people of L.A.”
He adds, “On a personal level, it’s harder to connect with people in Los Angeles. San Francisco is smaller, the people are more indoor-based, and Los Angeles has such great weather, promoting people to get outside yet oddly those in Los Angeles connect less. I found it bizarre how little Angelenos interact and meet new people , I think the weather makes it easier to work in L.A. and the climate is its key appeal.”
On a technical level, Waguespack says, the works are created using a mathematical base: “The process sees me reinterpret a digital image and sequester it into a new environment.”
Deconstructing Hollywood embodies a color palette that stirs the emotions — with 24 pieces in the series. Before his current series, Waguespack says, he was more entrenched in political work inspired by the chaos and controversy of Sept. 11.
“It was an odd time and I felt a strange sense of alienation witnessing it all from the comfort of a TV in San Francisco,” he says.
IF YOU GO
John Waguespack: Deconstructing Hollywood
Where: McLoughlin Gallery, 49 Geary St., San Francisco
When: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; closes Jan. 21
Contact: (415) 986-4799, www.mgart.com