Every now and then a force emerges from the depths our collective subconscious; a force that gives voice, color, shape and substance to that which is normally silent, hidden and without form; save for brief appearances during states of revelry. The slow dancing flame of dreams. This force gives life to the perineal burning symbols forever branded on our DNA; a brand still searing and smoking even after millenia.
Norman Maxwell is that force. Brandishing a wide variety of weapons such as the healing balm of humor in his subject matter, the hot poker of sensuality in his use of form and color, the sword of truth to cut through the cruft of nonsense that passes for modern political dialog, and the cannon blast of love for his calling as evidenced by painstaking devotion to detail and craftmanship that he applies to his work. He snares you in his magical webs of color and light tableaus which snare you, spellbound, in their mythical and prophetic tales. Through them the viewer is reconnected to higher realms in a way that makes the labyrinth of their content accessible and downright whimsical yet still visceral and sublime. . . . read more
NORM "NOMZEE" MAXWELL
Norm Maxwell was born in Philadelphia Pennsylvania in 1969. He was introduced to art by his mother. As a youth Maxwell spent hours drawing, trying to imitate his mother's art school assignments. He became fascinated with a book about the history of flight wherein he discovered the various works of Leonardo Divinci. As the era of Hip-Hop dawned on the urban landscape, Maxwell was introduced to street art in 1979, through his older brother who was a graffiti artist. He was immediately taken by the bright colors and the sense of rebellion. Once the pre-teen realized art was a way to gain local fame and recognition, he dedicated himself to his work wholeheartedly. In no time Maxwell was being commissioned by local business owners to paint murals. In 1986 he was referred by his high school art teacher to paint a commissioned mural for Philadelphia's Provident National Bank, Germantown Branch. That same year, at the age of 16, Maxwell was selected to attend classes at the Pennsylvania Academy Fine Art by the Board of Education's Superintendent Fred Bacon.
The following year, Maxwell attended the Hussian School of Art, where he studied graphic design and illustration. He had his first encounter with painting on canvas at the age of 17. His new interest inspired him to become more acquainted with the traditional painting techniques of the great masters. He spent his weekends at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where he became particularly intrigued with the Baroque painting, Prometheus Bound by Peter Paul Rubens. Maxwell was also infatuated with the Surrealist movement and it's profound mystique. He was particularly drawn to their emphasis on liberating the unconscious mind. He began a mentorship under the tutelage of noted Symbolist Painter, Virgil Sova. Sova introduced him to many seminal works such as " Man and his Symbols" by Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell's "The Power of Myth" to name a few. He began a rigorous schedule of painting long hours. The sessions would last all night. Maxwell's perception was transformed. His work began to reflect greater depth and a growing intelligence. A notable result of this transformation was that Maxwell became the first artist to combine graffiti elements with classical aesthetics.
He was selected to exhibit in the Crittenden Memorial Annual Exhibition and the Rittenhouse Annual Juried Art Exhibition in 1988, where he received an award for Outstanding Student Works. Eager to make a name for himself, Maxwell moved to Los Angeles in 1989. He made his first mark when the Social and Public Arts Resource Center commissioned his collaborative work; "The Black Seeds Mural" at Leslie Shaw Park. The mural depicts notable African American figures as fruits of a family tree. In the early 1990˜s Maxwell was one of the first of the area's urban art inspired street-wear entrepreneurs by co-founding the San Francisco based Revolution Clothing. His designs were distributed to many countries including Japan, Germany, London, and Singapore. He was asked to design the sets for TLC's groundbreaking No Scrubs music video. Maxwell went on to establish Norm Maxwell Media, a Los Angeles based multimedia firm, lending creative contributions to many high profile commercials and music videos, including Janet Jackson, The Black Eyed Peas, Revlon and L'Oreal.
Maxwell's most recent work transposes his signature stye from canvas to the big screen with his directorial debut of The Osiris Project. The animated art film is based on the Egyptian myth of Osiris and his jealous brother Seth. The film is a continuation of a series of works called Genesis, which ponder the tale of Adam and Eve.The entire production was filmed on green screen using actors. The Osiris Project is my first attempt bring that mythical love story to life.
The Norm Maxwell Studio Gallery was founded in Los Angeles in 2007. It has grown into a renowned workspace that draws collectors from around the world, while allowing Maxwell to exhibit worldwide.