Bryan Snyder’s “Cardiff Kook Van Gogh,” the art on the cover of CityBeat this week, was a temporary installation on the famous surfing sculpture that stands about 16 feet tall just off Highway 101 in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Locals jokingly call the “Magic Carpet Ride” sculpture the “Cardiff Kook,” and the goofy guy is often the target of other people’s adornments.
Snyder’s Van Gogh tribute, though, was particularly thoughtful. It took the Carlsbad artist about three weeks to assemble and build all the clever details.
“I began with the wardrobe,” writes Snyder in an email. “Then I constructed an easel out of wood with welded rings that slid perfectly over the nose of the surfboard. I painted a canvas of the Kook’s view of the nearby intersection in thick impasto brushstrokes and signed it Kook. The painting was attached to the easel…. A palette was attached to one hand by wire and a paintbrush in the other. I sculpted a life-size ear out of Chavant clay and painted it the color of the sculpture with a trail of blood, and it was set at the base of the Kook along with a birthday card, a bottle of Absinthe with a personalized Van Gogh / Snyder Art label and a bouquet of sunflowers.”
Snyder also placed seven life-size papier maché crows around the sculpture. He says the installation started at 3:30 a.m. and took just 15 minutes to complete. A video of the March 30 installation shows passersby stopping to take quick cell-phone photos and admire the work.
Snyder is first and foremost a conceptual artist. His creativity takes many forms, and whether you’re looking at one of his paintings—which currently combine the loose-drip techniques of abstract painter Jackson Pollock with the tight graphic imagery of street artist Banksy—enjoying one of his illustrative drawings of a little guy he calls Doodle, passing by one of his ephemeral street pieces or reading his writing on Carlsbadcrawl.com, the purpose behind his work is always the same.
“My true meaning of making art is the act of expressing and transferring an idea in a creative way,” Snyder writes.
In July, Snyder will show his work at E Street Café (128 West E St. in Encinitas). On July 10, he’ll spread some of his paintings of Doodle around Encinitas and, in something akin to a game of hide-and-seek, he’ll invite the public to search for his art in local shops, on street corners and other unexpected places.
“The goal of this ‘Doodle’ art hunt [is] to encourage urban exploration motivated by art while indirectly promoting local business, friendship and the development of a more artistic culture,” Snyder writes.
To read the full Q&A with Bryan Snyder, click here.