Tag Archives: painting

What Made Me Focus on Painting

I was preparing for interviews at grad programs around the time that I started my series of color stack paintings, researching other artists that I could say influenced my work, because I knew the question would be asked.  I think I had already had my first interview, and the question had been asked.  The question was asked when I was writing my Statement of Purpose for the applications for grad schools.  It’s been asked before.  It’s the question I dread most —“what contemporary painters do you look at/influence your work?”  I dread it because I have no idea what the intention of the question is for the person asking it so I don’t know what answer to give.  After being asked this question I realized I really don’t focus my attention on painters.  I probably look more at and am more influenced by artists that work in other media and genres such as performance, installation, new media, and other more conceptually driven untraditional work.  But as I began to succumb to researching contemporary artists to try to impress the interviewers I picked up the Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting book and read part of the introduction.  They talked about how often painting is pronounced dead only to be resurrected again and again, and how just when you think that there is nothing new to be done in painting, someone does something new.  Really it’s a problem for painters.  They are sort of burdened with having to learn a genre that has been practiced longer than any other medium thus making it so hard to see the medium and genre itself objectively and not be swayed by its own biases, baggage, mistifications, etc.  Prior to this research I’ve been drawn very much to art that rebells against traditional forms of art.  I like rebellion.  But once I studied a bit of this book I realized that painting too can be rebellious—even more so than new mediums such as video and performance that are inherently rebellious.  And in fact it could be a bigger challenge to be rebellious in painting than in newer mediums.  This renewed my interest in painting, and I decided to seriously focus on painting.  I had an idea for painting that I already started, and one I really to this day believe in, and that’s what I’ve focused on since.

In addition to this I simply like paint and the process of painting.  I like its physicality and other inherent properties.  I like its immediacy and urgency- it allows me to create something quickly and see the effects of my effort quickly.  Translate my thoughts into something in real time.  And I don’t need to depend on venues, or a large audience to create the work the way I used to when it came to performance or interactive pieces.