Here is a posting from Laybourne's blog describing his influences for the 20x20 show. When I was 20 years old I was able to backpack and skateboard around Europe, going as far east as the middle of Turkey and as far north at Gdansk in Poland. During the trip I tried to get to every gallery and museum I could afford to see. Being able to see a lot of the masterpieces of art was amazing but there were particular artists that had a big impact.
Bosch was one of them. Being able to see ‚ÄúThe Garden of Earthly Delights‚Äù in Madrid was mindblowing. I stood there for what seemed hours. Trying to take in all the detail. Most other artwork in any museum I‚Äôd count to 10 and move on. Picasso 10, 9, 8‚Ä¶ David 10, 9, and so on and on and on. Not with Bosch though.
I mainly was and am interested in his way of creating different visions of heaven, earth and hell. All his little demons and monsters are fascinating and there is so much to look for and read into.
Pieter Brugel was equally impressive to me. The influence of Bosch on Brugel is clear but Brugel goes a different route and along with vision of hell, he shows what life was like in a village. Full of entertaining details and stories.
The Netherlandish Proverbs illustrated sayings of his day visually and every little thing had a meaning. Wikipedia shows them all. So am still so amazed with all of it.
The amount of little things that have to do with a story or meaning is what drew me in then and what still makes me go over the work of both artists.
With the 20X20 work, they didn‚Äôt start off with tons of detail but as I kept going and finishing one after another, some similar, quiet narratives were coming to life. There are a few things from my life directly in the work, but I‚Äôd much rather have the viewer find little meanings on their own. As I kept going with the series, they were getting more and more complicated and taking a bit longer to do. I kept going back to review the works of Bosch and Bruegel as the series was being done. I‚Äôm glad I was able to see their actual work (way back in the 90s) and have it make its mark on my own in some simple way.