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Flat, Deep, but Never Plain. Sources of Early Influences.

Throughout this blog I will share art that I've done currently and through the years. I find it helpful to share my influences as well. Many times in the context of a paint party when you are excelling more at socializing and cocktails than you are at painting, I'll drop references and names of artists to give you perspective and encouragement. Artists draw on many influences before they create and interpret their work. Just like musicians have listened to tons of music before they compose or write music.

As I began to forge my artwork as a formal student some 25 odd years ago, I gravitated towards a few artists that my fledgling work seem to emulate. I tried to identify certain artists that had (for lack of a better word) style that I was mimicking. At the time, I was designing compositions that were "flat" but narrative.

"Lovers in the Morning" I did in 1995.

Using allegory (a story in which characters and events are symbols that stand for ideals about human life) and personal experience to tell a story. Working on many different drawings then cutting and collaging different materials and drawn elements to build up a surface quality or Relief surface. A Relief surface is sculpted elements that remain attached to a solid background. It's from the Latin word "relevo" (to raise).

Early on, one of the first comparisons I got from my professors was that my work reminded them of Pop Artist, Red Grooms. Loose and animated line quality but highly detailed. He also integrated a sense of humor, which was something I felt justified when composing a particular piece. Not every subject in your artwork has to be so deep and profound.

This piece from Grooms is entitled "Matisse in Nice", 1992.

Hollis Sigler's colorful set design like images were technicolor journal entries. Beautifully illustrated moments of her life shared in an intimate space.

This piece is by Hollis Sigler, entitled "Stepping Outside Her Life", 1996.

I've as always identified with surrealist symbolism since I began my artistic path, from Dali to Kahlo. Lenora Carrington was particularly interesting to me. Creating symbols and constructing visual languages that captivated me and gave me pause.

This piece is "The Lovers" by Lenora Carrington,1987.

Carrington's work forced me to articulate any and all symbols and shapes and form and pattern. That nothing was by coincidence. Again, it was placing actors on a stage and giving them careful thoughtful lines to be delivered in an artistic brevity.

In the end, there's nothing that we do that can't be compared to artists past or present. It's nice to see your creative choices stacked up amongst the artist through history.

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