Thursday, March 11, 2010

New York

HI, Everyone! I just got back from a whirlwind weekend in New York City! The reason for my trip was that recently I was asked to be one of the artists of Portraits Inc. This was great news, since they only accepted three artists this year. I am predominantly painting small 8"x10" oil sketches through them. For those of you not familiar with Portraits Inc, they are a portrait brokerage house that finds clients and artists and joins them up accordingly.
They had their annual seminar in New York, and it was loads of fun. I got to see some of the painters I met last year at the Portrait Society of America's conference , like Rich Nelson, Chris Saper, Tom Donahue, and a whole lot of others. I met Everett Raymond Kinstler and John Howard Sanden as well, which were really nice and interesting men.
My weekend was, however, a little bit cut in two. After having a wonderful tour of the Player's Club, I decided to take a complete leap in another direction and go to the MOMA. There is a tim Burton show there right now, but it was sold out, so I didn't get to see it. I did, however, got to spend a fair amount of time in the permanent collection. I went through the photography collection especially..... so fascinating. There were some gorgeous compositions, and breathtaking Avedon photographs. I also really enjoyed the second half of the paintings and drawings collection. There was a huge Mark Rothko, and a Robert Motherwell that I was really amazed with.
The MOMA did, however, stir up a lot of stuff in me. Here I am, one of the youngest new members of a fairly prestigious portrait brokerage, looking and gawking at Rothkos. It feels a little weird. Whereas some of the artists in Portraits Inc ( and a lot of the figurative art community, if I may say) seem to have a vast distaste for Modern Art, I find myself in a bit of a crush with it.
And I guess the past year sums up a lot of these feelings. What is someone in my age group to do? I'm not quite part of the generation after me which is using technology as an ends to really get a lot done. I still learned my craft from my elders. But I'm not like them either, I am finding. Whether talking with an older friend of mine about the New York art scene in the 60's and 70's, to talking with older skilled figurative painters, I never really feel like I have given my allegiance to any one camp.
Oh, wait.... THAT'S A GOOD THING!!!!!
It did, and has been dawning on me that I'm in a really great place. I have been trained quite well, but was brought up in a city that wants anything but normal. Quality, quantity, you name it... it's in new York.
So on the flight back on monday, I wrote down all the visual elements I really can't live without. Next to each, I wrote down an artist that did just that element really well. What on earth does this mean? Well, here's part of my list:

1. Strong design (Hokusai, Motherwell, Sargent, Diebenkorn)
2. Bold/subtle lines (Issey Miyake, John White Alexander, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Frankenthaler, Burton Silverman)
3. Exquisite painting (Lipking, Bastien-Lepage, Hokusai, Velasquez, Pat Steir)
4. Use of patterns and prints (most Ukiyo-e printmakers, Cambodian textiles, Sarah Moon)
5. Subtle/bold colors (Richard Schmid, Lipking, Alex kanevsky, Issey Miyake)

ok... there's a lot more, but I could go on and on. Looking at my list, I realized that all of these artists give something really wonderful to art, regardless of their time period.
I'm excited to continue working on the thing which I love, and finding what rings true to people in my generation, somewhat stuck in between to very different time periods.