John Bankston

Gallery Affiliations: Rena Bransten Gallery, Walter Maciel Gallery, Beta Pictoris

Region: Pacific Coast

When I begin a painting, my first concern is how to integrate painting and drawing. While my work primarily revolves around the practice of painting—the technical aspects of moving paint around to create an image—in that physical act I allow narrative to enter. The painting is a narrative of its own making. The setting for the drawings is a fantasy land: a place where the inhabitants are free to become characters that represent their most secret desires. At the same time, the characters are rooted in my dayto- day experience of life in San Francisco (perhaps a kind of fantasy land itself). The idea of “fantasy” is often thought of as the province of idle escapists. But I like to think of it as a way of re-imagining our world. Fantasy is a means of stepping outside one’s known territory; a means of breaking boundaries.

My work engages the visual language of coloring books. Formally, this idiom allows for the integration of painting and drawing as well as figuration and abstraction. Line is used to define the boundaries of form. Color may describe the images, but it does not always respect the boundaries established by the line, as it can ooze and seep over the edges. I want the tension of “staying within the lines” to be seen literally and metaphorically.