“… . I remember distinctly at one point realizing that I was actually OK, and I didn’t really need any help and was just fine on my own. ….”
Can you tell us where you were born and a little history about your childhood?
I was born in Fort Worth, Texas in the heat of July in 1985! I grew up with very creative parents and it definitely rubbed off on me. My father is a musician, composer, and speaker engineer, whereas my mother is also a musician, but also an artist and painter. I was never pushed into anything but they definitely let me explore anything I ever wanted to, with their full support. I’m lucky and very thankful to have had an awesome environment to grow up in, always surrounded by music and art.
Is there an event or experience that helped form who you are today?
One of my earliest memories is me falling off of my bed in the middle of the night when I was very very young, probably like four or five. We lived in a very large house at the time, with my room and my parents upstairs room being quite far apart. I cried and cried and cried for what seemed like forever, waiting for someone to come comfort me, but help never came. I remember distinctly at one point realizing that I was actually OK, and I didn’t really need any help and was just fine on my own. I wasn’t sure why I felt it necessary to cry for so long. It was like a light bulb was suddenly turned on and self-realization kicked in. I think that tiny event helped make me a strong-willed and independent person today. That definitely helps tremendously when you are an emerging artist who has to build up everything themselves through patience and strong personal drive.
What was first piece of art that you remember creating?
I can only remember playing around in grade school art class, but one project comes to mind. We were divided into groups of three and we had to make a monster out of cardboard and junk. I say ‘we’ because it was a group project, but I was definitely the commander in the triumvirate of second-grade cardboard monster-craft. It looked kind of like a Chinese dragon, covered in dyed cotton balls, bright pipe cleaners, glitter, some awful quality tempera paint, hot glue, googly eyes, and other truly lowbrow materials. Now that I think about it, it was very similar to the work of artist AJ Fosik. I think he may have seen my second grade art project in 1994 and bitten my style.
What generally inspires you to create a piece?
In my pieces, composition and movement are the central elements that I focus on. I want each piece to be, in a word, stunning. I am very inspired by the composition of renaissance and baroque masters, they always had it down flawlessly. After I labor over the perfect composition, I really focus on the movement and flow of the piece. I start my paintings extremely loosely, using intuition and practice to control the chaos and gradually bring a finely rendered figure out of the whirling torrent of transparent paint.
If there was an artist, dead or alive, that you could spend 24 hours with; who would it be and what would you do?
I’d probably go with da Vinci, he seemed like a pretty crazy guy. We’d make some kind of flying catapult, do some pillaging and conquering, then sit down and talk about oil painting and argue about the color temperature of shadows and chiaroscuro and such.
What materials or specific name brands do you prefer to use? And why?
I’m totally addicted to art supplies, I try pretty much everything available to find what I like and what I think works best. I generally use good old Winsor & Newton oil colors, but for some colors I have to go for the expensive dutch brand, Old Holland. They make the juiciest colors ever that are just delicious. One cool thing I have been using lately is an amber painting medium, made from real amber. It gives paint a really incredible luminosity, and when you drop it into some Old Holland Crimson Lake Extra, it just glows. The mediums are made by Alchemist, Inc.
Is there a technique, procedure or tip that you have discovered, you could pass onto other artists?
A lot of people ask me how I prep the wood I paint on to keep things archival. If unprepared, oil paint will eventually discolor and erode its substrate over time. Traditional gesso, bring opaque and white, would obviously obscure the beautiful wood grain. I have found three methods for priming wood: Shellac, matte medium, and transparent gesso. Liquitex actually makes a transparent gesso these days and it works fine, though it is a little grainy and translucent to me. Matte medium is acrylic based and makes a thin, plastic-y barrier that the paint slides around on nicely. My favorite though is simple shellac from the hardware store. It penetrates the wood fibers and absorbs the oil paint easily, forming a great barrier, while remaining slick and easy to work on. Plus, shellac deepens the color of the wood and really makes it beautiful. I usually paint on very high quality birch plywood, 1/4″ thick, cradled on Pine supports. They’re easy to make with the right tools and relatively cheap. I like the birch plywood due to its light color and interesting wood grain.
What is your favorite word?
I think “diaphanous” is a pretty awesome word. You don’t get to use it very often in day to day life though unfortunately. There aren’t many things that are delicately hazy and translucent that come up in conversation.
What was the last song you chose to listen to?
For songs, I heard some MGMT last night and totally got it stuck in my head, so I’ve been taking care of that and getting back into them today. “The Youth” is my favorite from them.
Do you have some learning experience, good or bad, you could share involving dealing with a gallery or curator?
Don’t answer any calls for artists on Craigslist! Virtually nothing worth your time is ever going to be clamoring for artists on the CL. Other than that, just go to shows and meet people, and then keep going to shows, and after that go to some more shows. You really have to make yourself known in the art community and the best thing is to just meet people and make friends.
If you could pick one piece of art to own, out of the world’s museums, personal collections and galleries, what would it be?
Definitely a piece by William Adolphe Bouguereau. My favorite piece is “Nymphs and Satyr”. His paintings are incredible, the figures are flawless and luminous and everything just glows with an amazing light. I might even say that they are diaphanous.
Of all your works, what is your own personal favorite? What was the thought or vision behind the work?
My favorite piece is called “Consiction”, (above). I actually did it in at school and the whole unplanned painting probably took me three hours from start to finish. It was one of those pieces where it’s simple and all the elements just clicked perfectly into place. It looks un-labored and everything was right the first time. I wish every painting could go as quickly and easily!
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(This entry was originally posted on 3/15/10 )
AJ fosik, art technique, artist interview, drippy art, eclectix interview, gene guynn, gene guynn art, gene guynn interview, portraiture, William Adolphe Bouguereau
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