Some nights the streets are splashed with headlights and shards of glass. Broken 40’s sparkle like spilled diamonds and the sound of trains thrash your ears like a basement punk show. You are not alone in these moments. You are kept warm by possibility, by the chance of music floating from unseen warehouses, of the perfect bourbon glass being turned upside-down on a beer-soaked bar, by the whizzing of skate wheels as they pass, disappearing into traffic, free and anonymous. On these nights your heart can blossom in your chest like a dark rose. This is what Oscar Lett paints.
And who wouldn’t want to sit and chat with someone who paints like that? PotatoMike took the opportunity. So we jumped in a cab in Chelsea and just drove around, taking in the sights and chatting.
PotatoMike–What can you tell me about the work you hung at our recent PotatoMike pop-up?
Oscar Lett- What I was trying to do was what I normally do but to add some of NY to it. And because I have lived in different cities in the world in Tokyo, Paris, London–to merge all those cultures at once.
PM–In these troubled times, what do you think is the role of art and artists in the world today?
OL- You know, I really hate when people just put something in the middle of a room and call it art. I’m very judgmental like that. It has to work. It has to have heart and sweat. You have to walk into that room and go wow. I think that is the role of the artist. We need more of that now.
PM– How do you know if your art is good?
PM- Oof. I was really hoping you would know.
OL- Well, actually, it depends on what you have in mind. Like with the painting I have hanging at the pop-up show (New York Sakura), I had a very specific idea in mind. Something I had never seen before. Almost like a dream. For me, getting what is on the canvass to be as close to the blurry image I had in my head– that’s how I know it's good. But often I will ask my friends. Painting can be a lonely endeavor. I need that perspective sometimes.
PM-Does that work?
OL- Well, sometimes, it’s like when you go out to eat and you ask the waiter what’s good. He may say the fish but you order the steak. Sometimes someone else’s opinion can help to remind you what you really want.
Oscar Lett’s painting is what you really want. Check out as much as you like at PotatoMike.