WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM INSTAGRAM, “PINK MAN” ARRIVES AT RED BANK’S DETOUR GALLERY
BY GILDA ROGERS
Never underestimate the power of social media just about the best free promotion a creative mind like Samual Weinberg could tap into. The Minnesota artist’s upcoming show, entitled “Free Swim,” and at Red Bank’s Detour Gallery from September 8 to October 13, is the direct result of posting his artwork online. Several states away, Detour’s owner and registrar saw it.
“Kenny [Schwartz] and Rune [Egenes] reached out to me on Instagram about a year ago,” said Weinberg. “That media platform has been the biggest ally for me. I frequently posted what I was working on, and people just started reaching out.”
“We look at thousands of pieces of art and get submissions all the time,” said Egenes. “His work hit us in the gut. He’s young, he’s a storyteller, and his characters are very animated. His work spoke from the small picture on Instagram.”
Weinberg’s uniqueness includes a character he created dubbed “Pink Man,” in fact the central figure of his pieces. As explained by the artist, Pink Man is ever evolving as a presence in ongoing installments.
“I was trying to be organic in creating a cartoon character,” said the artist, adding that it can take a year at a time to develop each new thread to the continuing storyline. Ultimately, the goal is to have Pink Man become a ubiquitous brand. “Once something recognizable becomes a brand, then weird things can happen,” said Weinberg, as with other opportunities for the artist.
A 2013 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Stout, Weinberg went to college with the intention of playing baseball. During his sophomore year, he wrestled with where to focus energy on the painter’s canvas or the baseball diamond. He chose studio art.
“As a painter, my overall goal is to become better at what I do and to push myself to do things I’ve never done,” said Weinberg, who credits the artist Philip Guston (1913-1980) as one of his major influences. (An abstract expressionist, Guston was a painter and printmaker in the New York School, a movement that included masters like Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.) The German artist Neo Rauch, credited with fusing figurative imagery with surrealist abstraction, gave Weinberg the impetus to start working with oil paint. And, since Weinberg’s art is also literary, he counts the German writer Franz Kafka (1883-1924), known for “The Metamorphosis” and other works characterized as absurd and bizarre, as another inspiration.
In the words of John Branville of New York Review of Books, Kafka’s work reflects “man’s struggle to maintain his health and sanity in the face of an unrelenting and inhospitable world,” and such sensibilities are very much present in Weinberg’s Pink Man.
In 2016, the artist showed at New York’s Thierry Goldberg Gallery, which serves as a showcase for up and coming painters and photographers. His work was also included in a group showing at San Francisco’s First Amendment Gallery. A solo show last year at the Sadie Halie Projects, a Minnesota artist community, led to an invitation to join a show at the Fogstand Gallery and Studio in Taiwan.
Weinberg is now making a living as an artist, having left his bartending, bike delivery, and other service oriented jobs behind. His works range in size from small cartoonish paintings to seven foot and larger pieces.
“He’s an artist, not just someone who makes pictures to make pictures,” said Egenes. “There’s something really going on with him.”