Burton Machen Biography
1970 Born Ashville, Alabama
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA and Brooklyn, NY
THE PASSAGE OF TIME
Permanence does not exist. The only thing that is permanent is evolution. As things evolve, some of the elements remain, some are altered and some disappear, leaving only a hint of what used to be. In urban settings this evolution creates a collage by many artists, unknowingly. Both artists and elements work independently, yet collaboratively they create a work of art. This work of art will never be complete; it is always perfect in its constant state of evolution.
Burton Machen is an American conceptual, mixed media artist with a focus on street art, photography, painting, and collage. He was born in Ashville, Alabama, USA, in 1970 and has lived in Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, New Orleans, Atlanta and Rio de Janeiro.
Burton has been photographing street art and urban decay for more than a decade. He believes that street art is a powerful form of expression that has the ability to influence our thoughts and attitudes, often without our knowledge. Burton is drawn in by the collage-like effect that occurs when artists and elements work together in urban settings, and draws much inspiration for his painting and collage work from what he absorbs on the street.
In 1987, Burton was a 17-year-old New York transplant, the lower east side of Manhattan was his stomping ground, and he spent much of his time getting to know the streets of the city. This was long before the gentrification of lower Manhattan had begun, so the neighborhood was filled with abandoned buildings that were covered with postings and graffiti, which blended together creating a collage that fascinated Machen.
It wasn’t until 10 years later that Burton began to photograph this evolutionary process. The fascination started in New York but the documentation and photography began with a deserted building in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Studying the photographs, it occurred to Machen that many people had created these works of art – all or most of whom were unaware of their participation in this collaborative effort. It is this process of “artists” creating unconsciously that draws Machen in.
Most of his ‘Urban Evolution’ series originated in New York, which remains Burton’s sentimental first love. From this series Burton developed the ‘Portraits Project’. With ‘Portraits Project’ Burton invites the world in by posting portraits in cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, London, and Berlin, and observes the reactions that they incite. He documents the evolution, which includes other street artists, taggers, time, weather, and passersby, until he has a FINAL image. In addition to photographic prints, Burton also creates unique mixed media works and collage both by embellishing elements that were added to his portraits on the street with Diamond Dust, polyester glitter, and acrylic and enamel paints, and by creating unique mixed media photo collage and paintings in his studio.
Machen still draws much of his inspiration for his studio works from images that he has shot on the street and imagery that has made its way permanently into his memory.
Machen’s work has been shown worldwide in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, London, Berlin, and Singapore. These days, Burton lives and works between Los Angeles and Brooklyn, still exploring the streets while admiring the many works of art that the cities and their inhabitants have created. Machen thoughtfully observes it is a reflection on “…the effect we have on the world.”
2014 Untitled Art Fair, Miami Beach Art Basel, Hionas Gallery
Look At Me, Leila Heller Gallery, Chelsea NYC May-August
Heaven and Earth, Impakto Gallery, Lima Peru, May
The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt, NYC, April
2013 Crossing The Lines… Hionas Gallery NYC
Installation and Solo show at Le Baron for the Cannes Film
Installation piece for Berlin Film Festival in support of the motion picture BILLY BATES Berlin, Germany
2012 Hunter S. Thompson PORTRAITS PROECT Vast Art Space ,Las Vegas NV
“Bad For You” curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody, Shizaru Gallery, Mayfair, London
“The Venice Beach Biennial”, Produced in conjunction with “Made in LA”, The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Hionas Gallery, “One Year” July 12-Sept 8, 2012
The Whitney Spring Art Party, June 6th, New York, NY
Hionas Gallery, PORTRAITS PROJECT, April 19th – May 19th New York, NY
In the event of Andy Warhol, Olin Gallery, Roanoke Collage and The Staniar Gallery, Washington and Lee University
Art Stage, Group show with the Gao Brothers, Vue Prive, Singapore
2011 Vue Privée, Portraits Project, Singapore
The Whitney “Groundbreakers” Art Party May 24th, New York, NY
Vue Privée, Portraits Project, Singapore
The Whitney“ Groundbreakers” Art Party May 24th, New York, NY
2010 Royal/T, “The Warholian” Curated byEric Shinner the Director of The Warhol Museum
Steven Kasher Gallery, “Inspired” Curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody The Whitney Art Party, June 9, New York
Tomas Maier, Miami , Fl, ‘Portraits Project’
“Think Pink” Gavlak Gallery, West Palm Beach, FL, curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody
‘The New Old’, Invisible-Exports, New York, NY
‘Urban Evolution’ Artioli Findlay, in association with David Findlay Gallery, New York, NY, curated by Alan Siegel
2009 Third Biennial Photography Auction, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL Curator of Photography: William and Sarah Ross Soter
‘Unframed’ ACRIA Benefit Auction, 15 Union Square, New York, NY Curator: Jane Holzer and Stephen Heighton
‘Surf, Sea and Sun’ Clic Gallery, New York, NY
White Box 10th Anniversary Benefit Auction, 329 Broome Street, New York NY
LAXART, 2640 S. La Cienega, Los Angeles, CA2008
2008 ‘Xrds’ Track 16 Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA2007
2007 “Voyages and Meditations” Soho Myriad, Atlanta, GA
PROJECTS AND COLABORATIONS:
2014 The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt, NYC, April
2013 Davidoff Cigars
Jared Leto Concert Shirt for “30 seconds to Mars” World Tour
2012 Hunter S. Thompson Estate, San Francisco, CA
2011 Collaboration with Skylight Projects, New York, NY
2010/2011 Collaboration with Shepard Fairey’s “Obey” Clothing created 5
Wired Living Home, by Architect Ray Kappe. Images from Machen’s “Urban Evolution”series were chosen to be featured throughout the home.
‘The Great House’ sponsored by Veranda Magazine. ‘The Great House’ opened to the public for viewing. Joe Lucas, owner of Harbinger LA and one of the designers chosenby Veranda Magazine to design a room for ‘The Great House’ chose Burton Machen’s‘Urban Evolution New Orleans’ series for his room.
Beth Rudin DeWoody, Ed Ruscha, Ritz Carlton Corporate Collection, Alan Siegel , Fred and Nancy Poses, Jack Cohen, John G Inch, USC Collection.
Burton Machen has been commissioned by various private collectors to do portraits as part of his series ‘Portraits Project’