James Meyer monograph - 2005

Cereal Box

After my younger brother died, I didn't have any interest in working in the studio; I didn't make anything for about a year. Artwork seemed very trivial.

The first things I did start to make were short illustrated stories about my brother. After I made several, I put them together in a comic book strip format. I was looking at them one morning... daydreaming... a cereal box on the table, which led to the idea of making one of my own. I laid the stories out so they could be folded into a cereal box. After constructing several of these, something passed and I was able to make things again. I took the images and turned them into paintings.

The titles of these works reflect the authors and writers who set the tone for suburban life having dark undertones and life struggles: Raymond Carver, Charles Bukowski, Todd Solondz. Before their work, and the work of others, suburban life was hidden from the origins of art. It wasn't "romantic" to come from Levittown. DeKooning coming from the docks of Rotterdam, stowing away on a steamship to America, then riding on a train to New York, was. So a lot of artists hid their common middle-class roots, and that it certainly was appropriate subject matter to paint about. These writers created a foothold exposing human nature in the suburbs.

When I was in high school in Northport, my friends and I discovered that Jack Kerouac had lived there in his mother's house. We found the house, and late at night we would sit outside on the curb and pay homage to him. The problem was, his mother's house looked just like every other house, so we could never remember if we were at the right one. This intrigued me, that anonymity of this house.

- James Meyer

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