August 23, 1976 – October 26, 2006
“If I was a shoemaker, would I go to a town where everybody had shoes or to a town where nobody was wearing them?” – Bryten Goss on being an artist in Los Angeles instead of Paris or New York.
Bryten Goss’ ability to paint first emerged when he was five and the significance of that early developmental period was not lost on those who would later recognize his true potential. Under such burgeoning talent, Goss understandably began searching for his lifetime vocation in his early teens, ultimately deciding to follow his first true love—painting. When asked during an interview what led him into painting he said, “Well, I almost always drew and painted. My mother was a big influence on me. She went to art school in Chicago as a teenager and painted. I would sit on her lap when she was painting; she would also always buy me paints and brushes when I was completely broke. But I do remember something that really made me serious about it: I think I was 14 or 15, I was at the Norton Simon museum and saw this small rough portrait by Cezanne, I think of his uncle. I didn’t particularly love the painting but for some reason I was completely overwhelmed emotionally. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days; that’s when I really realized the importance of fine art, how such a simple image could make such an effect on someone.”
A self-taught painter, Goss traveled the world in search of the impressionistic material in which he became first recognized by his many patrons. Pastels. Oils. And more. He was a figurist painter with a keen eye for finding the correct communication to deliver in each and every piece; but he was not content with just painting the nude female form. He went on to paint the dynamic “Triumph of Death” series, which led to yet another turn in his expanding career; cityscapes and burning building, such as “Tribeca,” and “Warming Hands by Fire.” He found inspiration from his own life in his self-portraits, “Guilt,” and “Big Me & Little Me.” Pigs and Popes soon caught his attention and he painted his most powerful works yet, “Alex on Pig,” “Women on Pigs,” “The Little Pope,” and “The Blind Leading the Blind.”
A Prolific artist, some of his collectors include: Nicolas Cage, Kevin Smith, Jason Lee, Nick Nolte, Joey Pantoliano, Winona Ryder, Juliette Lewis, Ethan Suplee, Giovanni Ribisi, Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon, Chris Masterson, Ruth Vitale, Jenna Elfman, Stark Sands, Ben Foster, Alexandra Breckenridge and many others. Goss’ career began with privately funded shows in 1993. He started taking commissions after Jason Lee, along with InStyle Magazine, hosted a gala event at Quixote Studios in Hollywood in 2001. With 34 pieces on display that night, he sold out and garnered some well-deserved publicity. Cutting his own path, Goss was an integral part of a group show held in October 2002 at the “Downtown Independent Gallery” at 811 Traction. The show featured Goss; world-renowned artist, Gottfried Helnwein, and two other seasoned painters, Patrick Morrison and the late Miguel Arguello. In the summer of 2003, Goss was part of the ever-popular annual artist’s festival, “Scope-Art Los Angeles” which was held in the Standard Hotel Downtown L.A.
Later that year, he began walking on yet another journey, which only the old masters of the past have taken—etching. He researched the etching techniques favored by the old masters; thus creating another medium in which to produce better crafted works. He left behind a bevy of interesting and provocative etchings and dry points, yet to be seen by the public. Some of which will be displayed for the very first time in the coming exhibition at the James Gray Gallery, this April.
Goss took on his first large commission at an astounding 25 feet x 6 feet, “Women Riding Pigs” for art collector Roberto Santos of Mexico. It took a couple of years to finish this extraordinary piece. The work was delivered to the Santos Estate in Mexico. Goss flew there to hang it and complete any finishing touches, when he fell ill. Despite his waning health, he returned home to prepare for his next exhibition at the MILK Gallery in New York City, a show that was to be hosted by longtime friend and patron, Danny Masterson. His health worsened. Complicated by pneumonia, Goss died of heart failure on October 26, 2006.
Danny Masterson wrote on his myspace site: “My best friend Bryten Goss passed away on Thursday the twenty sixth of October, he was thirty years old. He was my brother since 1982. He is the best contemporary realist painter of the 21st century.” Bryten Goss touched the lives of many people, not just through his art, but through his constant support and inspirational advice given free to his fellow artists. He left behind a legacy of strength and beauty in his work that is rarely seen by an artist of his years.
“Art is about the work, I’d prefer you view my work
instead of asking my views about it.”
- Bryten Goss