“I was much older then…” he explains, referring to a solemn photo of himself from a few years back. “I’m growing younger and younger with every year that goes by” he laughs. And such was the nature of our entire studio visit with artist Noah Becker: generously candid and subtly dynamic.
Becker operates on a multidisciplinary level: he is a painter, a jazz musician, and the founding editor of Whitehot Magazine. Our time together was spent immersed in Becker’s work as an artist, and ultimately, his discussion of painting acted as a conduit for explaining his other diversified pursuits. With an abundance of paintings on-hand and the even greater number on-file, he took us on a tour of his ever-evolving trajectory as an image maker.
Becker’s work might be looked at in phases. Most current (in fact, still in progress) is a moody model-based portraiture project. Go back to the 2016 election, and Becker has a number of hybrid collage/paintings that deal with media over-saturation. These pseudo pop political works simultaneously reference art history while interacting with the present cultural moment. Displayed on the wall is yet another chapter of work, a group of populated surreal landscapes. They are built up with collected images— from eBay tchotchkes to the Unabomber shack. Becker shows us archives of playful portraits painted of British hair models. There are also a number textual paintings, words spelled out in balloon font. Self-portraiture too, reoccurs in the artist’s repertoire. A pattern of diversification again begins to emerge: Becker explores an idea, works through it, and then switches gears. Until, within the broader context of Becker’s career, the trends of his idiosyncratic image selection begin to reveal themselves.
Written by Janna Alfred