For brothers Rob and Christian Clayton, collaboration is more than a process: the concept of symbiosis resonates through every aspect of their paintings and installations. In a practice devoid of ego and restraint, the Clayton brothers develop intense compacted narratives on an intuitive basis. Rob and Christian Clayton seldom work on the same canvas at the same time, or discuss their projects during making. Playing off their unspoken synergy, they take turns inventing, adding to, and editing each piece, propelling their “stories” through spontaneous improvisation. Entwining their independent approaches, styles, and palettes, their works operate as co-authored epics, fusing the concept of self with the communal.
Working from their Californian high street studio, the Clayton brothers draw inspiration from their immediate environment, incorporating local businesses, neighborhood regulars, and snippets of overheard conversations as subjects for their paintings. Composing their pieces conjunctively, motifs, gestures, places and figures reoccur within different works, creating inter-linked dramatic scripts. Set on collaged canvases, the physical layering of their surfaces reflects their condensed tableaux. Approaching painting as a visual representation of pure energy, everyday scenes explode in vortexes of blinding colour, animated movement, and product placement, giving the effect of viewing every frame of a film simultaneously. Through presenting a locality, the Clayton brothers relate the personal to the global. Offering a vision of America-as-it-is, they celebrate and share all its diverse, spectacular, and solitary splendor.
Both Rob and Christian serve as faculty at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.