Friday, March 11, 2011


A common feature on many an artist's blog is the shout-out to other artists, alive or historical.   It's been a pretty great temptation to get on my soap box and share, but I've resisted it so far.  I wanted to keep the focus narrow and about personal process. After a couple of years doing this though, my studio floundering has been tough to keep interesting day to day.   So, after some musing, what could not be more personal than mentioning artists who have influenced my own work, views, and perceptions? 

Some artists like to imagine themselves born from the head of Zeus like Athena, fully formed and ready to roll, but its a bit disingenuous.  A big part of what an educated artist thinks about in the studio is how their own work fits into the wider context of contemporary art and art history. For a figurative artist in particular, thousands of years of humans depicting themselves is never far behind. The canon is quoted, played with, reinvented by every generation.  There are works of art that have affected me deeply.  Some I have learned techniques from, some whose images come to mind as I make my own. 

My latest series, which I have been labeling the "Kracow Cycle," accordingly quotes history, indirectly through influence, and directly through allusion.  I described it flippantly to another artist as "Lady with Ermine" filtered through Picasso's rose period.  I had been painting so many blue-violet paintings in the Nocturnes, that a switch two shifts over on the Newton color wheel, to red-violet, was significant. The style, subject matter, context, has almost nothing to do with Picasso, other than the simple idea of a dominant palette shift.  As far as the Lady... which I do quote directly, I'll have to leave that to the forthcoming artist statement.  A Picasso-Leonardo fusion may be a useful label, but really only scratches the surface of whats going.  Influences are rarely that superficial, or clear in the studio or the mind.  It's like isolating bits in a blender after the cocktail is made.

If this sounds complicated, I have only been speaking in reference to "fine art." Sculpture, photography, theater, dance, film are in the cultured mix.  Not to be snobbish, television, magazines, comic books, and video games have also warped my brain more than juts a little.  How has travel affected me?  Nature, a specific tree? I also have a strong memory for faces.... It would be ridiculous, if not altogether self-obsessed, to sort it all out. So, to keep things simple, I start off with some specific paintings I really love, things I want to share, shout-out.   And for lack of a better word, I'll tag it "influences."

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