Sebastian Gross-Ossa


I moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn when it was still a small and vibrant art community, a special period which only lasted for a few years, but which was very exciting. I still live and work in Williamsburg and show in galleries in NYC, Manhattan, Brooklyn and around the country. I have become involved in street art and done some big graffiti and a lot of murals to keep me busy and opened to the possibility of different creative realities and alternatives. I always look for new and different ideas to influence my art and make it richer. 
Over time, I have developed a special focus on images derived from cartoons and comics, as the perfect language to tell a history or represent an idea.  
As long as I can remember, I have had a fascination with the artificial, inventions, mechanical aids, the search for energy, industrialization, transportation, communication, connectivity and everything that is both human made and technical. I am convinced that technology will solve everything -- but at what cost? 
In my art I seek to ask, how shall we live with our own technological creations, what is this new landscape that is being constructed (not only in physical space but also in our minds)? Are we moving too fast, or not fast enough? 
The narrative of my paintings plays with these questions. My work is based on cartoon representations of my perception, the places that I want to escape from, or to escape to. In those places the elements are familiar but the arrangement is always strangely different, very funny but also uncomfortable. There are ships that can take me there, or save from there. There is always an escape, never a permanent settlement. These are perhaps alternatives to reality, but if they exist in our minds, they exist in an important sense. 
My art is a personal conversation with my fears, a way of finding where I belong, not only in place but in time. Am I in control of my existence, or is everything moving uncontrollably around me? Am I just the consequence of this unstoppable flow? Neither a place, nor space, the paintings are images of self-reflection that I want to share, a vision of constant change from a unique and personal angle. 

I was born in Santiago Chile and was educated in an all-male Catholic school. Among the alumni were important Chilean figures, including presidents, ministers, military leaders, and a lot of rich guys. It was not fun for me. I began my studies in architecture, which made my family happy and got me off the hook, so to speak. In a house where my father was the dean of architecture in an important Chilean university and my mother a philosopher and theological scholar, the only option was to study. After architecture, I studied graphic design but what I really wanted was to draw. 
One day I realized that I would have to go art school. It was a small art school, The Institute of Contemporary Art. The teachers were a mish-mash of famous local artists and old crazy teachers, including famous scholars from even before the dictatorship, with an incredible feel for politics, and a sense of urgency to save old ideas for the pursuit of the common good – you might call them the old communists. 
It was a great place to be when you are in your middle twenties, studying art and living in a firehouse as a fireman, spending your days thinking about the importance of the humankind versus the allure of fame and individualism. And waiting for the fire, not just fires of the imagination, but real fires! Life was exciting and good. Nothing lasts forever and the next move came after a summer trip to the United States, and what was supposed to be the adventure of a single summer, I can tell you that two decades later, I am still here, living and working in NYC. I received my MFA from Columbia University and after that got a teaching job, Learning thru Art, at the Guggenheim Museum, later teaching inner city public schools, and as always, using my free time for endless painting and painting.