Even if you have never been to Coney Island, it is easy to imagine it; once you are there, it is hard to picture anything else. It captures you. It must have always existed. Like Jazz has always existed. Try painting a mural in Coney Island and listen to the screams. On the periphery are families caged and propelled into the air with bungee rope or a car of arms reaching skyward. They pass; it loops and falls.
Jerry Tartaglia showed Jack Smith super-8 films in Berlin years ago. I saw it and can't get it out of my mind. One flick was of several people parading the sandy beach of Coney Island. It was an Arabian entourage, a rag-tag crew among beach goers, hot-dog eaters, crying babies, garbage. Smith brought you back and forth between Egypt and New York. It was convincing and transcendent: his raggamuffin harem becoming royalty, with the flotsam and jetsam suddenly incidental. I wanted this mural to do the same: to become part of the push-and-pull; to take you to a snake pit in your mind and then spit you back into New York; then again arrest your eyeballs into writhing snakes, violent horizontals and suddenly you are back to the shrieking carnival, to the barking boardwalk, to the beer and lights.
Jim Drain is a multimedia artist based in Los Angeles, California. He graduated with a BFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1998. Drain was a member of Forcefield, a collective that explored the merging of music, performance film and installation into one platform. Forcefield was active from 1996 to 2002 and was part of the Whitney Biennial in 2002. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions including Various Small Fires in Los Angeles, California; University of Florida, Gainesville; Locust Projects in Miami, Florida; Blanton Museum at the University of Texas, Austin; Greene Naftali Gallery in New York; John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin; David Risley Gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark; and The Garage in Moscow, Russia. Drain’s work is in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of Art; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; Museum of Modern Art; The Rhode Island School of Design Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.