Picking Brains

by Matthew Bedard

Alexander Yulish finds beauty where most don't
In the ooey-gooey spirit of “living for the moment”: Should a hypothetical, pickup truck have hopped the curb and bulldozed into this sun-blanketed Sunset Blvd bistro, the spattered brains of your narrator, so vibrant, would have our subject, painter Alexander Yulish, exclaim in a moment of humanistic freaked-concern and meta-removed, artistic fisheye, “Oh my god, this is horrible!!! … and holy shit, look at those colors!”

Yulish after all is a native of New York City, where aestheticizing the ugly is something of a habit (see Snow, Dash). But after nearly a decade in the Big Orange, his character bears out a papery and generous sensitivity for those in and of his community, however tempered by an internal crisis of intent to rigorously produce aesthetic work.

But it is working. Yulish’s paintings and sketches—imaginative, unruly workings of color and moody charcoal—have scooped the attention of numerous collectors; here today for Chablis and a bit of Flaunt fanfare, yesterday a show in Sun Valley; last week debuting “Interior Stories” at Weho’s Gallery Brown, all while trying to keep his day to day as humorous as his work, and similarly as open to variation.


Here’s what Alexander Yulish has to say about the theme of “Interior Stories” and the bulky layers of our robo-pomo-bobo-agogo (that’s robotic postmodern bohemian/bourgeois a go-go) existence.

I have a lot of these interior stories that I have to get out—like it’s perhaps not my choice and it’s just something I’m supposed to do. And maybe it melts away, all the excess. And the work maybe makes clear what’s inside me and people hopefully respond and then see parts of themselves in it too.

Here’s what Alexander Yulish has to say about the possibility of brains being splattered and that being, well, beautiful, and that that just means you’re keeping an eye out.

Everyone sources material, you know? I’m going to be looking at you and you’re going to be imprinted in my head. This experience is going to be there, if only subconsciously. I’ll remember the colors of your skin. When I go to a painting, whether it’s now or five years from now, it’s going to be registered. We’re literally sponges.


Here’s what Alexander Yulish has to say about the aforementioned layers and how they slough themselves out over his canvas.

I feel like I have no skin half the time. Occasionally, you have to brush up against things, and it hurts, but inevitably that is what I think art is. It’s almost like removing your skin and letting people see it. Heart to hand. I don’t know… all my favorite work has an edge—like if you touch it the wrong way you’re going to get cut, and other times you’re not.


Here’s what Alexander Yulish has to say about romance, which is enough for you, for him, for us, for everyone.

Romance to me is, I don’t know, just taking responsibility for what you’re doing. And I think it’s important for people to just kind of dictate that. I suppose painting’s always going to be romanticized. I always think it will be romanticized because it’s a very personal, very scary thing if you commit to it. Right now, I’m trying to commit.


So crack your brain open and see how pretty you can be.