Zanne Brunner is a former art teacher. She runs the I-Square Gallery and she has asked me and the five other artists in the current “Sight & Sounds 2” show to do an artist’s talk tonight. Art educators like that sort of thing and often the back story is more interesting than the work. I couldn’t decide whether to just wing it or prepare for it. Winging it would be easier but I would surely say something stupid so I’ve decided to collect a few notes.
Why? I’ve been painting and drawing these characters for a long time and I’ve noticed most people look at my work and quickly avert their eyes. The faces could be a lot more compelling for one thing but for most it is simply not a pleasant experience. Others, like Pete Monacelli, spend a lot of time trying to figure out why I paint these guys and I would guess he has spent more time thinking about this than I have.
I started this project by trying to capture the expression in the mugshots (reference for the human condition) from the local paper, a lifelong academic exercise, but lately I start with the source material and then leave it behind as I try to mold the figure with a more dynamic presence. I could point to a few examples in the show. Better to have a dialog with them. Where is this all leading? Here is a music analogy since we are all musicians. I have listened to Peggi Fournier create beautiful melodies on the spot for a long time. Pure creation!
I continue to take a Wednesday night painting class with Fred Lipp and he has helped me immeasurably.