I don’t know why this is but there is this persistent assumption that artists of all stripes are happily willing to provide their artistic services for close to nothing, for exposure or just flat out free. So I’m not sure if people are aware of this but artists don’t have special abilities that allow us to make art supplies, food, housing and clothing magically appear. We have to obtain them through the same means that everyone else does; by acquiring money. Now I’m not going to sit here and go into a long spiel about the abuses many artists encounter while trying to make a living from their craft, all I really want to say is if you wouldn’t expect a painter to paint your house for free then please don’t expect an artist to paint the family dog for free or a designer to design your family reunion t-shirts for free. Artistry is a service. It may not be on par with caregivers, lawn maintenance or auto repair but it’s still a service and a quietly but often overlooked or taken for granted valuable service.
I’ve lost count of how many times someone has asked me if I could draw or design something for them only to have the conversation end once I mention that I charge.
As I’ve been tapping away, laying down small dabs of colored ink on my current drawing “Succulent”, I found myself feeling a bit lonely. Now when I say lonely, I’m not referring to an absence of social interaction or some sort of lack of being understood. Rather what I’m referring to is this loneliness I felt in artistic style. The way in which I create my work is by using a drawing and painting technique generally known as stippling or pointillism. The terms are often used interchangeably but I like to think of stippling as when I use nothing other than black ink and pointillism when I use mostly colored ink. It’s my personal way of keeping the two terms straight in my head. But you see, pointillism isn’t as widely used as a technique in the art world, which I’m sure is probably due to how time intensive it can be. So if I where to go to my local bookstore and pick up a drawing magazine, looking for inspiration, it is very rare that I will flip through the pages and see scores of images of contemporary artistic works done using pointillism. It is in that I felt this bit of loneliness. So for inspiration, instead of turning to contemporary artists, I am led back to the works of Paul Signac.
I first became aware of Signac while taking an Art History course in college. I had already been introduced to the technique of pointillism in high school but I knew nothing of it’s origin and history. (I’m glad that I took Art History instead of some other elective.)
Signac was a close friend and influenced by George Seurat, who also created pointillistic paintings. And although Seurat is more well known for his ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Île de la Grande Jatte’ painting, I’ve always taken a liking to the work of Signac more. Maybe it was how he seemed to focus more on landscapes and natural elements in his work rather than the human world. Being someone who is more oriented towards the world of Nature than man, it’s natural that his work would appeal to me more. But I also find Signac pointillistic paintings more defined, taking on a more realism feel where Seurat’s pointillism feels more diffused and a bit abstract. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Seurat’s work is bad or wrong, I do admire his work especially in regards to pointillism, so I’m not dismissing him. It’s only that if I had to choose between Signac and Seurat as a source of inspiration for my own work, it would be Signac hands down. It’s to Signac I turn when I might need an idea on how certain colors may mix or when I need a reminder of what can and can not be achieved with a pointillism. But it’s also to Signac I turn to quell that tinge of loneliness I feel travelling down the pointillist path.
…the key word here is “few”, because there really are many.
Andrea Joseph – Her work is filled with the simplicity of everyday things. Cars, keys, stamps, laundry, you name it. I’m fascinated with the fact that she takes things that can be found in our everyday lives and make beautiful drawings out of them with nothing but ballpoint pens and moleskines.
Kurt Halsey – His work is sweet, tender, emotive and touches the romantic in me.
Audrey Kawasaki – There is such a delicate softness and femininity in her work that I often wish I could capture in my own. Her style has a unique elegance to it that can’t be duplicated yet I’ve seen others try.
Paul Davey – I love all the earth tones and details in his work. I can look at the same piece over and over again and always find something new about it.
Gris Grimly – He is my Tim Burton of visual arts. (I’m a Tim Burton fan.) Having to explain why I like Grimly’s work often leaves me speechless. I just like it, that’s all I can say.