Untitled Photoshop document by David O’Reilly. All images are courtesy of The Outsource Show.

In the oil painting village of Dafen, China proclaimed itself “the most concentrated Oil painting production and wholesale base workers are known for their reproductions of original paintings. With this concept in mind, curator Alexander Tarrant invited a group of creators – writers, comedians, filmmakers and musicians to participate in a show in which they would conceptualize rather than paint. The result is a range of oil paintings on canvas, crafted from non-American painters, each varying in size, quality, and style. The idea prompts viewers to rethink the line between concept and final product, or in this case, art and artist.

Disintermediation failed by Brian Christian.

The designers Tarrant hired were asked to come up with an idea for a painting, provide reference images or instructions, and a skilled artist from the village would perform the piece. Tarrant traveled to the village and, along with a local translator, hired painter Mr. Zhang and his team to produce the work for the 17 participants in the show.

“I first heard about Dafen in 2007 when I was looking for where I could order art.” Tarrant tells us, “Last year I set aside a small budget, went through my personal ‘blacklist’ of unfulfilled projects and picked this one. He continues to explain, “I was visiting Hong Kong to film a documentary and collaborate with tailors in Kowloon. When I realized how close Dafen was, I crossed the border to check. I appointed a local businessman as translator / facilitator, spent a few days looking for my favorite painter in the village (Mr. Zhang) and gave them a first test order.

Google Images Mondrian by Alexander Tarrant.

In order to put this concept in motion, Tarrant reached out to a group of creatives including Money Mark, Aesop Rock and Pendelton Ward, the creator of Adventure time. “I invited my non-painting artist friends who I knew would grasp the idea and interact with the painters in an interesting way. Selfishly, I wanted to see what had happened when they had gone through this process. Tarrant explains, “I got everything from an actual image or jpeg to a written text description, each needing to be translated and repainted. These instructions went through a chaotic machine, a filter of language, culture, intentions, assumptions and social norms – six weeks later, the oil paintings arrived, rolled in a tube.

LONELY IN MODESTO by Grant Dekernion.

When working in this type of method, some control must be released. Tarrant tells about The Creators Project. “The chaos in the process is part of the final piece. I send the instructions and the source images, and you grab the paint and it’s usually “Oh shit, you thought I meant that?” – and if you accept that, I think it looks better than if the instructions were followed perfectly.

Walking Desk by Pendleton Ward

In keeping with Tarrant’s idea behind the show, every original work created and exhibited belongs to the non-painters who designed it. Collectors can purchase an additional reproduction of each piece, in an unlimited edition which will be painted again by the third party. Tarrant reveals, “One of the things that excites me the most about the show this month is when people come to the show and buy a painting, they buy another copy of the piece, they buy another iteration. of these instructions. Their piece will therefore be a totally unique image based on the same DNA. Essentially, this mode of reproduction could exist endlessly among each original work commissioned.

Tarrant tells us, “This is the first time I have used a system like this for a public event / show. I think once people see how nice the format is, there will be follow-up shows with more and more artists. I love to visit Dafen and see all of these paintings done, and they love to get the job done. Everybody wins.

Google Streetview Candid by Money Mark

Tremor Skin by Alexander Tarrant

Untitled Maya scene by David O’Reilly.

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