He’s Not Scared of Clowns, and that Has Made All the Difference

Logan Guarglia has a message in a spray bottle.
Portrait by Colby Rabon

Logan Guarglia is a painter, printmaker, freelance graphic designer, illustrator, and photographer — “I have a hard time sticking to one medium,” he says. But his current canvases display an undeniable focus, depicting multiple layers of colorfully interactive and often conflicted human emotion. Guarglia’s work is characterized by spontaneous urgency, nonstop movement, and an immediacy that is strange and yet intimately familiar.

Alfred’s Great Goodbye

Have you always been into art?

I’ve always studied the arts since I was a kid. But for the longest time, I thought art was not sufficient. An artist is not always viewed as someone who is successful. I was deterred and had to smash that opinion about myself if I was going to be happy. Now I hope my work will motivate others to express themselves.

What are you working on these days?

I designed a poster for a group show at Push [Skateshop and Gallery]. And I have one more semester to complete at UNCA for my BA in Studio Art, with an emphasis in printmaking. I switched from sociology.

A Bachelor Named Tony

Does your interest in sociology inform your art?

In a way it set the groundwork for my conceptual process. My work consists of ideas of social interaction and the rawness of the social form. … Anxiety and depression are some of the things I see suppressed in modern-day society, and are aspects of my life I have been forced to socially coincide with, and ultimately hide away. [Since studying sociology], I have developed a passion for portraying emotional transparency while depicting these personal vulnerabilities … [and that expression] is an homage to the people I interact with every day. 

How do you arrange your compositions?

When I approach the canvas, I rarely know what I’m going to do. I just talk and negotiate with the painting, and 99 percent of the time that’s how I get the result. But the process isn’t as loose as it may look. … I use a lot of oil sticks and bucket paints. Sometimes I spray Rust-Oleum into the cap of the can and throw that at the canvas. I like action painting … the physicality of it.

Downer Donny Takes A Stroll

You mentioned spray paint, and there is a graffiti-like quality to your work.

Graffiti is the most motivating factor. I can tell you everything about the history of it and its origins in different cities and all the styles. Now I’m transferring that to the canvas. I want to involve my love of illustration, printmaking, and graffiti into graphic designs, too, like T-shirts and books. 

Your childhood inspiration takes a specific form …

My grandfather, who is very supportive, had these interesting things in his beach house, when I was probably six. Freaky-looking clown figurines. Rodeo clowns. Mary Poppins-looking clowns. It was so odd. But I loved those things. I was also inspired by establishing myself in punk culture, which is passionate about what you believe in and voicing that to the best of your ability. That’s one of the best things in the world.

Logan Guarglia, Asheville. The artist will show selected works in a joint exhibit at Push Skateshop and Gallery (25 Patton Ave, downtown Asheville) through Sunday, Nov. 10. He opens another show, “Social Spit,” at Static Age Records (110 North Lexington Ave., 828-254-3232) on Saturday, Nov. 9; it runs through the month with a closing reception from 7-10pm on Saturday, Nov. 30. For more information, see loganguarglia.com and on Instagram: @logan_guarglia.

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