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                                             "Most of the young men of talent whom I have met in this country give one the impression of being somewhat demented.          
                                                                                   They roam about in our midst like anonymous messengers from another planet"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Henry Miller

"Dobry is a Renaissance

man of the 21st Century!"

          - Ed Paschke

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    by Gary Dobry

  

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     by Gary Dobry

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          Gary Dobry

 

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    Bumble-Bee Bob Novak

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       Gary Dobry

    Dobry's work on

    brendavenus.com

  __________________

    jaymarvinart.com

    

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    Lorenzo  Meyer    RIP

      Simon 1996

     (Chart Polski)

     Simon 2003

 

    Fleetwood 1996

   (Afghan Hound)  

      Stosh,  7/06

   20 lbs, 3 Mos. old

     (Chart Polski)

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      Stosh,  9/06

  50 lbs, 5 Mos. old

 Stosh, 9 months old

          1/15/07

           70 lbs

   Stosh, 1 yr. old, 90 lbs.

   

    Stosh - 3 yrs. old

 ___________________

                   Click here to go to Ed Paschke's Biography
  edpaschke.com           

       

 

                   Dobry Interview - Gallery

                     Holiday issue, 2000

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Setting up an interview with ex-boxer/trainer/artist/writer Gary Dobry via his website chatroom, he relayed the warning that I may be contacted by certain people looking to slander his reputation. Seems that Dobry had testified against the mob and had given information to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Dobry provided the name of the SEC agent I should contact, if I needed to.
A week later, in the north suburbs of Chicago my cabbie got lost and dropped me off at the wrong strip mall, in a different suburb, about a mile away from Dobrys gym. Lucky to find a pay phone, I left a message for Dobry, saying I was walking down Algonquin Road, the four-lane highway that cuts through Palatine, a suburb notable mainly for the Browns Chicken massacre of several years ago.
Walking, I cursed all of the north suburbs, until an SUV pulls up in front of me with vanity plates: PUGS TKO. "Hey, you Zak?" asks the driver. To say Dobry is barrel-chested would be a gross understatement; his arms look like barrels and his upper body resembles a Volkswagon. "Glad I caught you," he says, offering a meaty hand. If I were a psychotic, murderous hitchhiker, my luck had just run out.
Dobry’s gym is in the corner of a quiet strip mall. None of the typical descriptions of smoky air and sweat stank and the hum of jumping ropes seem appropriate since the gym is closed on for the day. Usually, Dobry oversees the room and paints behind the counter near the front door. When he’s not painting, he’s working on his two novels, Kingdom Come and In Good Faith.
Dobry, who quit fighting this past year, grew up in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, an area notorious for raising kids who needed to be tough. "Me and my buddies would take the Lawrence Avenue bus over to Broadway and go see movies at the Uptown or the Riviera." Between the two theaters was the Northside Gym on a second floor above the Green Mill Tavern, which still proudly brags of it most famous patron, Al Capone.
At the age of nine, Dobry began fighting amateur. "I still always tell my guys don’t go pro," says Dobry, who followed his own advice. "At amateur, you can fight every week and you can always have fun. Pro is only about money. There’s two kinds of fighters when you’re pro, guys like David Diaz who won everything and went to the Olympics. The average guy who doesn’t go that route, he’s going to fight David when David comes to town."
When Dobry was sixteen, his mother moved to the north suburbs of Chicago and her son was quickly labeled as a bad influence on the other kids, being from the city, being a boxer. Off and on throughout his life, no matter what else he was doing, painting, writing, busking in the Paris subways, he’s been boxing. When the Northside Gym was threatening to go out of business in 1994, Dobry put his money up and became a partner. Within a year, his partner backed out and Dobry moved the gym to Palatine, closer to home.
At a young age, it seems that there isn’t much that Dobry hasn’t done. As he offhandedly mentions, "When I was in medicine..." I have to stop the flow of his story to learn he studied at the University of Paris, at the Sorbonne and had worked as a physicians assistant for several years. "I quit medical school," he says, "when I came back from Paris because I didn’t want to be a resident." Instead, he went to finish his art degree at the Art Institute of Chicago. When he says he’s writing two novels, its easy to believe this isn’t a guy who sits in the coffee shop talking of what he’s going to do, someday.
I ask about the mob guys. "I can’t go into great particulars," Dobry shrugs, "because of the deal I made. They keep harassing me with lawsuits. We made an agreement that I wouldn’t talk to anybody, but I can talk in general terms... You know what short-selling is with stocks? There’s a penny stock, a bulletin board company, and the company was going to do a private placement with this guy who also goes under these other names and he was a fugitive from the law... Anyway, I lost money in another investment. I got cocky and wanted to know why I got ripped off. I followed the trail and all these names came up who were connected to this guy..." At this point the story gets complicated with lawsuits, removed stock ledgers, 40-day restrictions, kiting schemes, death threats... While holding back on certain facts, Dobry rattles through the shell game that belongs in a Mamet movie. "What they were doing was a reverse merger scam. A pump and dump. They issue themselves a lot of stock, then they go into the boiler rooms and onto the internet and pump the stocks up." Because of his testimony and evidence given to the SEC, Dobry was facing defamation lawsuits that he has since been quelled. "Its a pissing contest," says Dobry.
We head over to Dobry’s house and its not what you would expect from one whos led the pugilistic bohemian life, who’s been threatened by mobsters, who’s working on two novels while training amateur boxers. The house is bright and cheerful, more appropriate for someone who would be selling Mary Kay cosmetics, except for the fact Dobry’s paintings overwhelm the living room. The figures on canvas are almost luminous, the colors liquid and seeping like the reception on old, dying television sets. The boxers seem stuck in time, where or when they fought is impossible to judge. A portrait of a smiling man tipping his hat wouldn’t be so eerie if it wasn’t Sonny Liston.
Three dogs wait for Dobry as he opens the front door and tells me to wait a second. "Simons a little nuts. If he doesn’t know you... He’s a Chart Polski. Theres only about 300 of them in the world," Dobry takes the dog, which looks like a stout greyhound, by the collar. "These were the ones Stalin tried to kill off because they were too bourgeoisie. They’re loyal. They’d die for their owners." Simon eyes me for a while, then follows me to the kitchen where Dobry and I take seats at a glass-topped table centered with flowers. The Polish guard dog sits behind my shoulder. "He’s watching you," Dobry laughed.
The interview quickly, and gladly, takes an informal tone. Dobry switches subjects, from blues to literature to medicine to art, with the ease of a channel surfer, except the transitions are sensible. "There’s a pathology," he says of artists, boxers, and writers. "A normal person wont sit in front of a canvas for eight hours a day. Its an obsessive-compulsive disorder. There’s not much separating the axe murderer from the artist. Some guys go down into the basement to chop people up, some go to paint..." For Dobry, creating art is an individualistic urge that can’t be taught or learned.
"In school," he says, "they do their best to teach you how to draw and paint like everybody else. In fact, when I was in school you’d walk down the hallways and see these kids, they’re all militant, either militant lesbians, or militant Afrocentric separatists, or they’re carrying Mao’s little red book and they got buttons all over their leather jackets... Everybody in groups looks the same, walks the same, paints the same, but they’re all nonconformists.
"I got kicked out of the Art Institute because I was in this multicultural painting studio. I thought, Wow, this’ll be cool." At the time Dobry was reading Jack Henry Abbott, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., and several books of race and societal ills whose titles he can rattle off. "... I thought I was going to take this studio and apply all these things I been learning. I showed up on the first day and it was like an Islam rally. And all the reading... I didn’t know there were so many guys named Muhammad. Everything was Muhammad this, Muhamad that... So, it wasn’t really multicultural, it was denouncing the white man.
"There was this visiting artist- his name was Joe Louis-- I figured I’m gonna get along with this guy because he’s got a boxers name and were gonna communicate... In The Belly of the Beast, Abbott talks about the word nigger, right? Where he says everything ugly, vulgar, and negative about the word nigger should be attributed to the white man who created the word. Its no reflection on the black man.
"So, I did this painting of Mike Tyson with the word nigger tattooed on his forehead... And Joe Louis gives this big rap before the critique, saying how he no longer has a studio because he no longer has a need for a studio because all his artwork is in his head. Everyone applauds this academic rap..." When the time for Dobry’s work came to be critiqued, the visiting artist protested, "I’m not shocked." Dobry tried to explain the Jack Henry Abbot connection and the teacher chipped in, " Perfect example of white Eurocentric thinking. You even want to steal the word nigger from us... Well, you can have it." And when the time came for Dobry to write his final paper for the class, school security promptly escorted him out of the building.
There is something weirdly dichotomous about this guy. He’s a PA who could clear out an Uptown barroom and quote Picasso and Jack Henry Abbott at length. His paintings evince the most delicate touches of the brush, but his knuckles are callused from years of hitting the heavy bag. The pages of his novel, still in manuscript form, are flooded with blood and sperm poetry, more than any established author would dare to attempt.
Illustrating how cultures retranslate art, Dobry enthusiastically hums two different versions of "Messing with the Kid,"- the white version and the black one- while tracing the melody in the air with his hands. Evidently, he even has perfect pitch and a musician’s ear. He can talk of Picassos Dora Marr and theories of abstract art as well as tell the best of shaggy dog stories.
After our visit Dobry drives me back to the Metra station. We circle construction sites, follow and trace the tracks along the side streets of Palatine. It seems the one thing Gary Dobry can’t do is find the damn train station. And the one accusation that will never stick to him is that he fits any sort of stereotype.

by Zak Mucha , Gallery Magazine , Holiday Issue , 2000

The eXTra finGer  (August 2006)

...''He was counting on his fingers.One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven .Eleven? Had he been born with an extra finger?''...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Interview with Gary Dobry

Q) So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?

A) Gary Dobry. I studied painting & drawing of the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Il, USA. I Apprenticed as a painter under the late, great Ed Paschke & a classmate of Ed’s (School of the Art Institute of Chicago, class of ’57), “Bumble-Bee” Bob Novak. I earned a Diplome de Francaise from the Sorbonne, Universite’ de Paris , and did my tattoo apprenticeship under Ernie Gonazales of “Electric Art Tattoo” in the USA. I've been represented by, or/and exhibited at; the Judy A Saslow Gallery in Chicago, Il, eklektikos Gallery in Washington DC, The Henry Boxer Gallery in London, England, Aron Packer Gallery in Chicago, Il as well as exhibiting with Ed Paschke at the World Tattoo Gallery in Chicago, Il, with Andy Warhol at the Franklin Roosevelt Hotel in LA, Ca. and with Leon Golub at the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Art in Chicago, Il. I’ll be showing at L’Art Noir in New Orleans when the new space is completed later this year. The old space was lost to Katrina.


Q) How did you get started making art?

A) Both my mother and father were artists. My father was mainly a cartoonist and did a comic strip for a Naval newspaper. My mother paints mainly landscapes. My father is heavily tattooed and his tattoos probably had the most profound effect on me as an artist. Sailor Jerry kind of stuff. Battleships, geisha girls and the like. I started with drawing stuff like his tattoos; ships, skulls with knives embedded in them and snakes protruding through the eye-sockets, low brow kind of stuff like that. I also drew lots of superheros. I learned comic book anatomy before Gray’s anatomy.

Q) How would you describe your art?

A) Well, to me painting is philosophical, more so than technical. I’ve never overly concerned myself with the “craft” of painting. I could always draw & render well because of my work ethic and Paschke taught me well how to do technical things but I learned young, from both Novak and Paschke, that art is philosophical – art is truth. Paschke and Novak studied under Isabelle MacKinnon at the Art Institute of Chicago in the 50’s. MacKinnon was a student of Hans Hoffman. Hoffman was the guy who taught Jackson Pollack the drip style of painting. Hoffman was the major influence on the NY School of painting. Hoffman brought the modernist’s concepts of creating 3-dimensional space on a flat 2-dimensional surface, without destroying the integrity of that flat surface, to the US. Novak would tell me, “Art is truth”. The analogy I use, to make these philosophical ideas digestible to the layman , is this;

If one were to paint from a model, the TRUTH is, once one finishes painting one’s painting of the model, the model will get up, stretch, burp, take a piss, get dressed, etc., BUT, the painting of the model will never do any of the things REAL models do. That tells us that a painting of a model and ‘a model’ are two different distinct things. If Art is “truth”, then the painting of the model is a “lie”. Picasso said, “one doesn’t copy Nature, one is ‘in-tune’ with Nature."  In other words, if one tries to create 3 dimensional space on a flat 2-dimensional surface by using “tricks” like “perspective”, then one is lying to the viewer. To create Art, one must tell truths. Hoffman’s schtick was doing just that, reproducing the universe in a flat 2-dimensional language using shifting & overlapping planes. In my art, I am always conscious about telling truths. Art dealers have marketed me as an “outsider” artist, a “visionary” artist, a “contemporary” artist, etc., etc. Its all labeling. Art is truth & I’m a truth-teller.


Q) Where do you get the inspiration for your art?

A) You breathe in, then you breathe out. Picasso said, walk in the forest all day and you’ll be painting green all night. I say live a full life and take a lot of risks and you’ll always have something to paint. Paschke was big on taking risks. He’d tell me to ALWAYS choose the most risky way of doing things. He’d tell me that every time you create a problem for yourself, a solution is required from you to solve it. The problem solving is like a fighter picking-up experience in the ring, fighting tougher and tougher opponents. My inspiration comes from living a full rich life in which I take a lot of risks. I paint what I live.


Q) What are you working on now?

A )I’m working on 3 different bodies of work. In one I use old school Americana banner style painting, a la’ Snapp Wyatt, Fred Johnson, Johnny Meah, to express my own pop surrealism idea. I’m not doing derivative “side-show” banners. I’m paying homage to the great banner painters by using their style to express my own pop surreal ideas.
I’m also working on a series which incorporates my most commercially successful stuff, boxing imagery, in which I mix it up with the old school tattoo stuff we do in the shop.
The third body of work I’ve been working on since I lived in Paris, “lipstick paintings”. These works can come off sounding artsy-fartsy if I explain, philosophically, what’s up with them. Basically, the model expresses herself on the canvas, which is rolled-out on a bed. She marks the canvas with lipstick. Kisses it. Drags her painted lips across it, etc and poses until she comes, on the canvas. A model is an exhibitionist. The artist is a voyeur. The “posing “ session is no more than a voyeur/exhibitionst experience. After, I stretch the canvas with the models markings on it, I do the “artistic” experience. I paint from memory the imagery over the model’s markings, incorporating them into the painting.

Q) Are there some web sites that you would like to recommend? Artists, art communities, xxx,...!?

A) Yours!

Q) What programs / materials / tools do you use to create your pieces?

A) I’m old school, I paint, I draw & I tattoo.


Q) What advice would you give to younger up and coming artist?

A)  If you choose the path of an artist, you have to understand being an artist is a degrading vocation. The world has very little interest in paintings and books. That’s sad to say, but true. I’m not saying there aren’t those who appreciate art and culture. I’m saying the average guy is below average and the average guy has no use for books and paintings in their life. I’ve been degraded as much as any other artist and I still create. The average guy I can relate to with a tattoo. The average guy may not have the desire to take on the philosophical ideas painting presents to him, but he WILL cough-up $300 for a skull with a knife going through it, temple to temple.

Q) What is your personal definition of life and art and everything else in between?

A) Art is truth. Tell the truth and take risks in life so you have something worth saying in your Art.


Q) Do you think that art is a universal language - transcending all the different languages, cultures and religions etc?

A) Of course. Art speaks to us. It’s blood and sperm. A skull & cross-bones tells you something is poison. Everything can be reduced to a kanji , a symbol, and no matter who you are, or where you are, in the world, you’ll understand completely what is being expressed visually.


Q) What are your artistic influences?

A) Biggest influences in my art have been Ed Paschke and Bumble-Bee Bob Novak who taught me to tackle art in philosophical terms.

Q) How are the reactions on your work in general?

A) Varied. Like I said, the average guy is below average and couldn’t care less. Some love my stuff and keep buying it. If I dig it, I consider the work strong. I hold my own opinion in high regard. ;0)

Q) Do you have many connections in the underground scene?

A) I work in a tattoo shop. I think tattoo artists generally lean towards underground stuff. I curated a low-brow art exhibit at the eklektikos Gallery in Washington DC a few years ago and Judy Saslow marketed me as an “Outsider” for years. In fact my dealer in England, Henry Boxer, is the editor of RAW VISION magazine. I keep to myself really. I hang around tattoo artists more than painters these days and when I paint, I do so in solitude. I don’t concern myself with what’s fashionable. I follow my instincts.

Q) Tell us about a recent dream you had.

A) I don’t remember dreams very often. In fact I had this conversation with a girl who models for me. She’s perfect, made in heaven. I can’t even believe this gorgeous woman gets naked for me. She’s married and I have a girlfriend, so there is no hanky-panky between us. But, we both are very attracted to each other and have tried to dream about having sex with each other. I even bought a book about dreams, hoping I could get a hot dream about her going. Finally, one night I had this glorious lucid XXX-rated dream about her. In the dream I had her bent over her desk at work and I was fucking her from behind, a pencil behind her ear, glasses on, blouse open, with her co-workers peeking through the door at us doing it.
After that, no more dreams. I don’t sleep much, maybe 5 hours a night, tops. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Q) What is freedom to you as an artist?

A) If you’ve lost everything, you have no ties to anything. The more you lose, the more free you are. Freedom is youth. As you get older, you nest. You exchange some freedom for roots. Roots are good. You can still reach for the heavens, like the branches of a tree, but your roots dig as deep into the earth as high as your branches reach for the heavens.


Q) Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?

A) The one I’m working on is always my favourite.

Q) Last Books you read?

A) Polidore, Ropes of Sand, Welcome to Terrorland, Barry & the Boys, While America Slept, Cocaine Politics

Q) Last records you bought?

A) The Mavericks, The Gourdes, Lucinda Williams, Willy DeVille live in Berlin

Q) Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?

A) I’m old school. Picasso, especially his later stuff, Peter Saul, of course Ed Paschke, Bob Novak, banner painters like Fred Johnsom, Snapp Wyatt, Johnny Meah, you ;0)

Q) Your contacts….E-mail…Links

A) Gary Dobry
www.onthecanvas.com
pugsgym@aol.com
 

 
         The Hub City Interview -

Gary Dobry - His Mind, The Canvas

Interviewed for Hub City  by Bernardo

Sometimes, you find cool things by accident.  Here?s the story.  Using Google as the main tool, I literally stumbled across art by Gary Dobry after conducting a search for boxing related imagery.  I was trying to find an angle on a follow-up to the boxing article I featured on my old Hub City page.  After some digging, I came upon artwork that instantly caught both my eyes and imagination.  This piece was called ?Where Angels Fear to Tread.?  The colors and details were inspiring and provided me with a starting point to envision an article that would showcase the vivid imagery that boxing has inspired in many visual mediums.  I searched for complimentary pieces by other artists but it soon became apparent to me that Gary's work stood head-and-shoulders above all else that I could find.  The idea of centering an article around his art became obvious to me at that point.

Naturally, I wanted an even deeper visual fix and I refined my search in order to pull together some sense of his other work.  I discovered that Gary's pieces had been featured in several art galleries and garnered acclaim that heralded his unique and powerful style. 

After visiting his web site, www.onthecanvas.com, I found that Gary is a man that posses a "true" creative soul.  Not only are his interests many but his "mind's eye" is complex, engaging and one-of-a-kind.  I've communicated with him several times while putting together this interview and learned that hiss creative endeavors are never-ending.  

Here are some things to know about Gary:

Gary was even featured on PBS? ArtBeat, which documented Gary working on a piece from start to finish.  Part of the footage included Gary working out in his boxing gym and playing blues with Bumble-Bee Novak. 

Gary just completed an exhibition of his works at the Aron Packer Gallery.  The exhibition ran from July 18h through August 23rd, 2003.

Gary is the author of the books In Good Faith and Kingdom Come.  He is also working on a new book, En La Loma.

Gary did the cover for Dan Hopsicker's new book, Welcome to Terrorland, scheduled for release in the September of 2004.

Gary agreed to be interviewed for the inaugural version of this web site.  Through our correspondence, Gary revealed himself to be a passionate and engaging communicator.

B - Gary, in a prior interview, it was mentioned that you moved to the north suburbs of Chicago and were labeled,  "..a bad influence on the other kids, being from the city, being a boxer." Can you tell me how and why you became interested in boxing prior to that?

GD - My buddy, Billy Wilson's, mother's boyfriend was a fighter. He'd give me & Billy boxing lessons in the tiny living room of their apartment. I liked it.

B - What did you like about it?  

GD - I think it was because of Billy's mom's boyfriend, more than boxing itself.  He was everything a little kid looks-up too. He was a tough-ass boxer with all these prison tattoos and his speech was salt and peppered with all kinds of pugilistic verbiage I never heard before:  "get your hands-up, kid", "put your ass into that punch, kid" "don't be a tomato can, kid", that kind of stuff. That's what I fell in love with. Like liking colors in a painting, more so than the subject of the painting.

 

 

Above: Sacred Hearts

B - By being labeled as a bad influence by these parents of the neighborhood, did you find yourself rebelling against the perception or were you even aware of the power you had to provoke people based on your perceived background? How did this shape you?

GD - Actually I was a geek & only labeled as a "bad influence" because I was a city kid. I dressed differently than the kids at school, etc.. I not only boxed, I competed in numerous bodybuilding contests as well. I guess, being an outsider I gravitated towards endeavors that were solo ventures, like art, music, bodybuilding, and boxing. All of this, I guess, was by default. It?s not unusual. Guys with few friends throw themselves into things for self-esteem. Usually the pay off comes in later years.

B - Can you pinpoint the formative moment when you realized it "paid off" for you?  Was this revelatory moment a result of being proud of your art or just a personal experience outside of your creative works?  

GD - I remember my ex ragging me out one night after we were at one of Paschke's openings at the Maya Polsky gallery. We ran into a dealer who asked if I was a painter and I said, "No."  We get home and she's like, "Why did you tell him 'no'?" She's like, "What good are all those paintings if no one ever sees them?" Like most artists, y'know, you think your chances of getting hit by lightning are better than your chances at getting representation, but I tell her I'll start submitting. I know nothing bout submitting to galleries, right? I stuff some 5" X 7" photos in an envelope and send them to Judy Saslow. She calls me a week later and a month after that I'm showing and represented by a big deal dealer. It got my ex off my back too. 

B - When did you first become interested in art and did boxing and art compete with each other in terms of time spent on each?

GD - Both my mother, and father, are artists. My father served in Vietnam. He did a cartoon strip for a Navy newspaper. There was always art around my house & I evolved into it via my folks.

B - Did your father's artwork, outside of the comic strip, reflect any of the harsh realities of the war or did he use art as an escape from that?   

GD - My old man drew very macho stuff for men at war. You could imagine the imagery he drew, can't you? I think these days it would never see the light of day in these times of oppressive political correctness. My old man is a story all his own.

B - I've recounted the story of how I came across Where Angels Fear to Tread and then found out about your other works. The detail and fantastic colors totally captivated me. Though the color choices are so vibrant, so many people perceive boxing as just being "gritty."  Do you agree with this perception? Did you plan this dichotomy or do you not see it as being as such?

GD - Pro Boxing, like Art, is a 'commercial' venture. I didn't box for years. I went to school, I lived in France. I actually had two stints boxing, one as a child and one as an adult. My "comeback" wasn't a very impressive record, but I fought mainly because I wanted to live the imagery I was painting at the time, boxing. Most of the guys I fought at the time were young and hungry, as I was, and am, as an artist. I hope that hunger shows in my art. My canvas is stretched. Though I own a boxing gym and train fighters, like John Venesanakos, who just won the Lt. Heavyweight Division title at the Chicago Golden Gloves for me and goes to Nationals in Vegas in May, my sweat & blood is in my work. Though, the blood I spilled in the ring, I hope, tinges my art. Boxing, to me, is the greatest metaphor. We're all fighting something, aren't we? Me? No one ever beat me, but me. My fight, like I said, is on stretched canvas. I see the world as an artist. I duke it out with whatever demons that are haunting me every time I sit down before the canvas. I hope my work evokes that. Like the painting, Where Angels Fear to Tread!

B - Sacred Hearts, Vers Le Ciel, Angelique, Heaven Above and Where Angels Fear to Tread are images of the boxer in the middle of the conflict. Can you give details on each and how they came to be?

GD - I believe we are all fighting something. Some folks just fight to get out of bed every morning. These paintings you cite are all indicative of that. - our own demons, our own hells. Yet, we all, hopefully, rise above it all. For every 'no', there is a 'yes', for every "down", an "up."  So, for every demon, there is an angel, like I said in my first novel, ?Kingdom Come.?

B - You mentioned that you own a gym.  Do you still find inspiration for new pieces when you encounter someone who exhibits a "fire" when training?  

No, never... like I said, it's more the atmosphere - or the environment - in a boxing gym, the characters in a boxing gym; that's what inspires me. I train Olin Kreutz, the center from the Chicago Bears. He's a professional football player. You'd think boxing would be ?slumming? it to guy training most of the
time in a multi-million dollar sports complex in Lake Forest, right? You think my little boxing gym and weight room - in a strip mall in Palatine - can compete with the all that hi-tech exercise machinations and technological wizardry they got up there in the Bears Lake Forest complex? There is something about
boxing that transcends all that stuff. My feelings are that once you strip things down to bare essentials, the closer you get to God. In a ring, with just your fists, you find answers to questions most guys simply pose rhetorically. In a boxing gym, you know your comrades on a deeper level than you would if you
were simply working your quads on a $50k apparatus next to another guy working another body part on another $50k machine in a multi-million dollar sports complex.

B - Are you influenced by boxing images from the 1960's? For some reason, the fighters in some of the artwork remind me of throwbacks to that era? If so, can you explain why?

GD - Well, more so the 70's. But my favorite fighters are the George Chuvalos, and the Mexican fighters with 4 aliases, 4 records and 4 social security numbers - guys who come into the states illegally with Mexican handlers from the toughest gyms south of the border to pad records for rising American stars.  They may earn car fare before making their way back south of the border via the mountains of Juarez. My cut-man was Lorenzo Meyer. He worked the corner of some greats like Joe Frazier, even James 'Lights Out' Toney. Emmanuel Stuart bestowed upon him a red & gold KRONK GYM jacket, which he gave to me as a gift right before he died, along with a photo of him working Frazier's corner in his last fight against Jumbo Cummings. I dedicated ?Kingdom Come? to Lorenzo. Miss the old guy.

B - Do you feel that the era of integrity or truth in boxing that Lorenzo represented is gone?  

GD - There never was any truth in the boxing business. As long as there are guys putting money down on someone, it's all business. 

B - I've always had an interest in boxing because of the idea of a man taking his knowledge into the ring and matching skills with a singular opponent physically and mentally. The idea of standing alone, when you are in the center of the conflict, appealed to me.  What metaphors are you hoping to convey with your boxing paintings?

GD - Like I said, we're all fighting something aren't we. I guess if you read ?Kingdom Come,? you'll learn the answer to that question. ;0)

B - Since it has been brought up a few times, can you share what Kingdom Come is about?  Where can it be purchased?   

GD - It can be ordered in any bookstore or the easiest way is Amazon.com. You gotta read it. Like doin' rounds. You gotta read it. I have another novel out there too, In Good Faith and my third, En La Loma, is being prepared for publication as we speak.

B - Your interests and the subject material for your creative works are wide-ranging. Outside of the boxing paintings, what are some of your favorite works - if you can pick from amongst your 'children' - and why?

GD - My favorite work is ALWAYS the one I'm working on. My relationship with the Judy Saslow Gallery ended a few months ago & Aron Packer invited me to exhibit at the Aron Packer Gallery in July. THAT is my "favorite" work at the moment.

B - What are the titles and subjects of your most recent paintings? 

GD - I just finished a series of works on paper. You know, recently, Joe Strummer passed away. He meant a lot to me. I think the world of politics would never have opened up to me if I hadn't heard Joe's songs and wanted to figure out what he was singing about. What a loss. He was a very special person and I owe a lot to the guy.  DC Bullets is dedicated to Joe and Days of 39 is dedicated to him too. The rest of these works are all topical and political in subject. Like I said, Judy Saslow & I parted ways and Aron Packer asked me to exhibit some of these works, and paintings, in a show he was curating this summer at his gallery. I love Aron Packer's gallery so I was very flattered. Henry Boxer is my dealer in England . How's that? Me and a dealer named "Boxer" hooking up? Is that fate?

B - Gary, is your work available for purchase in poster, cards or any other formats?

GD - They're making T-Shirts with Kingdom Come on them. They'll be for sale on my website and at the gym.

B ? In our last few e-mail exchanges, you mentioned that you are working on a book called En La Loma.  Can you tell me what it is about?

GD - En La Loma is a story about a guy fighting to make something of himself. He creates all these scary monsters in his head and can't seem to get a grip on who, or what, he's really fighting or who/what his battles are with. He learns the deal, like we all do, in the later rounds. That's why you don't fuck with guys with ring experience. An "experienced" fighter is a worthy opponent. If you "know thy enemy,? you can lick him. You can't defeat someone, or something, you can't define.

 

Pug's Boxing Club

824 S Main St.

Crystal Lake, Il.

Phone: 815 356 6572

 

 

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Gary's Books:

  

 

 

Available at Amazon.com!

 

 


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Last updated: 04/06/17