Monday, August 8, 2011

A Conversation With An Artist....

While browsing a museum or gallery, have you ever stopped to admire an ancient writing such as Greek, Chinese or Arabic? While you are unable to read the language, do the style and artistic lines appeal to you? And even though you are unable to read what is written, you understand there is meaning, emotion, and expression behind the artistic symbols and lines. I believe that abstract art is much like this. You may  not always understand the meaning or emotions behind a particular piece or collection, but the lines and style communicate a certain energy that appeal to each individual on a personal level. Each piece is unique and expressive. Like realism, these paintings can inspire intense feelings of peace, anger, sadness and joy, and can often become the inspiration for a story, song or poem. So today, I would like to feature Jared Slack. I hope you all enjoy the interview...

1.     Where do you work? Do you work from life, photographs, or from imagination?
      I work from home. I have a room set aside as my studio. It has large windows, and beautiful views. I also have a cd player in my room so I can listen to music or books on cd. I have a lot of different ways I work when creating paintings. Usually for my landscapes, I work from pictures, but for my abstracts, I work mostly from my mind. I will often start my abstracts thinking about a specific place, at a specific time of day. I will think about the light, the sound, the colors, the smells, and about how it feels. As I paint, I let the painting talk to me and tell me what it needs. I do that by taking breaks, where I just sit and look at my paintings and react to what I see.
2.     Describe your art?
      I mostly do oil paintings in a modernist tradition. That means I am interested in my materials and letting them show, as well as letting my thought process and the way I work show. It is kind of like craftsmen architecture, where the architects wanted to show off the way the house was built by the craftsmen. I love oil paint and the different things that you can do with it. It can be transparent or opaque. It can be flat or build texture. It is a very flexible paint. I also love color. Color is very enriching, and is one of the main tools to create a feeling in the work. Finally, my work is spiritual. I am looking to make my viewers feel something when they look at my art. It is not about a story or a visual subject so much as a feeling. This is much like instrumental music, where the composition and the notes cause one to feel and understand the piece.
3.     What technique do you use?
      I am a direct painter. That means I work quickly, mix colors both on my palette and directly on the painting, and don’t add a lot of layers. I like the freshness of this technique.
4.     What is your favorite thing to paint and why?
      I love working abstractly because it gives me a lot of freedom. I am influenced by water in all of it's forms. I grew up on or in water. I was a competitive swimmer and played water polo in high school and into college. I also spent a lot of time in canoes with my dad. I have always enjoyed clouds, especially in the severe storms I see here in the Southeast and the Midwest. My paintings are formally influenced by water or clouds, because I love their fluidity and beauty.
5.    What do you think is the most important influence in your art?
The two most important influences in my art are spirituality and the landscape. They are very interconnected to me. I feel closer to Deity when I am in nature, more so than at any other time. Since I was a small boy, I have spent time camping and hiking. My Grandpa and Dad taught me to respect nature and showed me the beauty of it. I see God’s handiwork all around me.  I feel the awesome grandeur of the landscape, in all it’s different moods.
        As far as art movements go-- I am most influenced by early and mid 20th century Expressionism, which attempted to express inner ideas, such as personality and spirituality in their portraits, landscapes, and abstract works.
6.       How important is the subject matter to your artwork?
      Some people would say that my abstract work doesn’t have a subject matter, but that is completely untrue. Subject is important in my work, but often the subject is color, design, or a feeling. If artwork doesn’t have some sort of subject to act as a framework or a guide, it ends up meaning nothing. It is just a messy jumble of visual garbage.

Thank you, Jared. I've enjoyed the interview and don't forget to visit Jared's virtual art gallery today. It is a visit that you shouldn't miss. View more paintings and discover the inspiration behind the work @

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