If Color Was Language

If Color Was Language

If Color Was Language

A story of color and the relationship between street art and abstract expressionism. Artwork by Drew Ochwat.


Exibition Dates: September 23, 2019 - October 17, 2019

Artist Statement

If Color Was Language is a display of artwork by Drew Ochwat. This body of work is a representation of my journey through life and rebirth through my art. Painting helped me overcome my struggles as an addict and drug dealer. Creating art allows me to be introspective and reflective about my life experiences. I enjoy talking to myself through my use of color in my work. The combination of solitude, color, and emotional exploration nourishes my creative spirit.

Art and color has become a powerful way for me to articulate and express myself. When I’m painting I feel absolute freedom in expressing myself. I choose certain colors and color combinations to represent an experience I’ve been through while keeping in mind the various color stereotypes within our culture. For instance, red is symbolic for attraction or passion blue can be symbolic for sadness, and green represents life. I put colors together much like words in a sentence. Independently, colors have meaning, yet when put together they create the bigger picture. Balance, contrast, and complexities are common themes in my life, therefore, they are represented within all of my work. 

Early in my artistic exploration I discovered my love for graffiti art. Graffiti art drew me in through its bold color, design, and poetic aspects. Graffiti words aren’t always designed to be legible to the average person, and so they become abstract color and form. I began to see connection points between graffiti and abstract art and decided it would be a beautiful thing to try and merge the two styles together. After a while these connections became my artistic language.

My uncle was a renowned painter and designer and growing up, his artwork was very influential to me. He painted on clothes and canvases of all sizes using multiple mediums. His body of work introduced me to abstract art and the idea that art doesn’t have to be confined to a traditional canvas. Now I work in mixed media on glass, canvas, archival paper, and vintage furniture. I use a variety of supplies, technique, and layers to create depth and texture.

With each piece, I begin by writing words in a graffiti style font that is also fairly legible. These symbolic words, or poems, are typically the first layer which eventually become partially obscured by layers of paint. The next layer is the foundation of the piece which dictates the creative direction it takes regarding color and space. I associate certain colors with specific emotions, and continuously make visual decisions based on previous markings. I want each mark to compliment the previous stroke and the painting as a whole. 

Many of my glass paintings are created by layering two paintings together to form one image. The glass painting and archival paper painting are both created separately using watercolor, acrylic, spray paint, and oil paint markers. The glass painting is put into the frame backwards with the painted archival paper behind it, creating a kaleidoscope effect. My goal is to create a unique depth that draws you in, revealing the small details and movement of the piece. I want the viewers to explore my art and discover the messages and details within the artwork. My art is a story of color, and also the story of me.

Image Gallery

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