ative output. For decades, the painter, who studied at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, has been amassing a hefty body of work, an oeuvre that’s both strikingly beautiful and flatout strange.
There’s oil portraits of American presidents; abstract depictions of Civil War battles (inspired by the Ken Burns PBS documentary series); an alliterative, animalthemed alphabet series; ink renderings of disembodied legs and ghosts; and so much more.
The influences and inspirations seem vast. A vibrant watercolor painting of a detached foot standing on cut grass — titled, “And There, in the Middle of a Field, He Found Himself” — seems like something right out of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”
Endicott says he tries not to over-think his artwork, doesn’t dwell on the hows or whys of painting a (for instance) large amputated foot in a field. If he does conceptualize or intellectualize his art, that part often comes afterward, when he starts discussing it.
“A year or two ago, I was watching this show on Netflix — I forget what it was called. Each episode focused on a different area of art,” he says. In the show, “This graphic designer was saying, at a certain point in his career, he learned to be a more careless artist and a more thoughtful curator. To think less while he’s making art, and then to make a lot of it.”
That philosophy, Endicott says, “really resonated with me.” It’s how he ended up with nine portraits of early American presidents and a whole Civil War series. “I’d just sit there and sketch at night,” watching the Ken Burns documentary, “not really looking at what I was sketching but just sketching based on the still photographs they were showing. I found that was really helpful, and I made some cool drawings and paintings out of that. I didn’t set out to do a series of paintings on the Civil War. It just happened.”
Eventually, during the artistic process, a theme or “narrative comes around,” he says. “Or I kind of force the narrative onto it, which in a similar way happened with our beer labels.”
He adds, “I’m conceptually lazy, and then I just pick ideas out. I let ideas come out. In art school, I would be like, ‘Alright, I’m going to do a series about how George Bush is an awful president,’ but the work was one note and kind of stale.” It’s about keeping the creative work loose and as carefree as it can be.
With a full plate as a father, business owner, beer brewer, and husband to Erin Mckenna Endicott, who’s been running for Ambler Borough Council this year, painting and sketching can be a means to unwind for Endicott.
“My wife will be the first person to tell you I don’t just sit down and turn the TV on and watch crap for hours,” Endicott says. “I will always be doing something. … This is just something I need to do. And she’s learned over the years that I’m a much better person if I’m given the time to do this, to pursue art. It’s just something that needs to be done.
“I guess people like us can find multiple ways to do it, you know. Playing in a band will also do it. Just some creative outlet that’s not your day-to-day drudgery: get up, take care of the kids, get home. I need something else that gets my mind going.”
Endicott’s work is currently on display at Crime and Punishment Brewing Company in Brewerytown, and a series of portraits he made of local beer brewers was displayed at Indyhall in Old City in 2015.
He credits these recent opportunities to display his work to the exposure he gets through his day job.
“I owe all of it to Forest & Main. Otherwise I’d just be a nobody making art at home,” he says. “Luckily, because of Forest & Main, people know I make art, and they follow me on Instagram or something, approach me. It’s cool. I’m very thankful that this has gotten me kind of alive as an artist again.”
As with all his showings, the upcoming Art in the Storefront gallery has Endicott feeling a vague sense of loss. There’s a sorrow in parting with a painting, he says.
“I used to think I always did art so other people could see it,” he says. “I guess some people do art truly for themselves, but you still want that satisfaction of someone else liking it. But I get sad when I take these paintings down and put them up in public.”
“It’s a real testament to how I feel about the artwork right now,” he adds. “I miss it when it’s gone.”