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Take a deep breath, I thought. You can say it; you can do it, and avoid following bandwagons. They are not what you are after. The cutting edge, to speak about people, about relationships, and to comment on all we witness—fears, shame, joys, and suspicions—this is your motive. Follow social and emotional commentary, but not too directly. Avoid the pitfall of too political a stance. Generalize messages, make their meaning universal, and modify personal specifics, so that the overview triggers a wealth of possibilities and varied interpretations. Leave the photojournalist to capture the historical moment. Save one-dimensional appeal for magazine cover girls, fashion models, and moneymakers. Transcend the times as you live them. And do not fear your audience is too small. Your goal is not to humor the passive tastes of the casual masses. Remember, too, that where the art world is cold, rejection is guaranteed, but just for the moment.
So the evolutionary cell in my thought process was planted at an early age: rooted in deep ties to the classic rock music stars of the age and then carrying on to the modern artists who focused on art for “people’s” sake. A seriousness of presence is the energy—a credo hungry for the narrative, the thematic, and the real within the real. Executed through paintings (oil on canvas) and charcoal-pastel-pencil drawings, the mediums of choice, sometimes the real is twisted, turned inside out or upside down, but is never dismissed, and I have never created a fully non-objective abstract work.
Colors may vary in intensity and application, ranging in value or schemes. Broad passages of open color, applied much like a primer, are the first backdrop, the foundation on which images emerge, off which a scene unfolds. Paint is often applied thickly, slashed-about with thick brush or knife, or manipulated with fingers. Then, too, thinned paint is applied through more fluid arrangements, or is allowed to drip spontaneously, creating rainbow or rain-washed effects. As colors move, merge and overlap, the finished product is often one of chance, but controlled by the artist’s wielding hand. Drawings, too, assume a similar development, as pencil and pastel smears, washes, and line-incisions are applied with layers and overlays, modeled on a paper surface.
Be true to your experiences, true to yourself, I plead, and don’t flinch. Paint it like you meant it.
B.A. Degree, Art History, Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J.
M.A. Degree, Fine Arts, Montclair State College, Upper Montclair, N.J.