Color is the heart and soul of Anthony Liggins’ paintings. “I want to take you on a journey,” says the artist, whose past as a fashion designer informs his palette choices. “Color can be very raw, with lots of movement, sort of like the music of Miles Davis. He is unpredictable and sporadic when he plays the trumpet and I paint with this state of mind, pushing boundaries.” As a result, the work has an electrifying effect that makes you want to reach into the canvas. And you can, in a way. Liggins, who splits his time between Miami and Atlanta, uses a Chinese pattern-making process that lends a touch of Venetian glass opulence to his art. After applying five to six layers of acrylic paint, he gives the canvas texture by adding two to three stamped layers, finally sealing the work with a varnish that can withstand sunlight and touch. Taking inspiration from the simplicity of wabi-sabi, a Japanese aesthetic that embraces impermanence and imperfections, Liggins seeks to create a spiritual message. “We need more objects that bring us inner peace at home,” he says.
LX: Describe your work space.
AL: As a fan of Frank Gehry, I wanted to bring the essence of his architecture inside my studio. So I created a slanted 30-foot-high ceiling and an optical illusion wall. I love that this space can tell my story every day.
LX: Greatest influences:
AL: Fashion designers Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto, with whom I’d love to collaborate. Yamamoto’s Y-3 accessories, hats and footwear are making impressions due to their unique trendy styles.
LX: Most people don't know:
AL: I’m a professionally trained percussionist and played with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra for two years.
LX: Current projects:
AL: During Art Basel, I created an exclusive line of giclée prints to complement the neutrals of Tui Pranich’s designs and add color to his Miami showroom. I’m now continuing that collaboration and starting a new series of giclées. I’m also filming a documentary that covers the last three years of my life as an artist called Art is Love, Love is an Art. We’re preparing to present it at Sundance 2014.