I’ve never been able to say I’ve been influenced by a list of artists I like because I like thousands and thousands and I’ve been influenced in some way by all of them. ~Jack Nicholson
A number of recent conversations about musical tastes and artistic influences sparked the subject of this blog series. Jack Nicholson’s quote describes the enormity of the topic and the difficulty of where to begin, but I decided it would be possible to be aware of who or what is currently inspiring my artwork. Looking at my past work is like a diary of influence with each image sparking the memory of what motivated the piece.
Some of the artists have been longtime favorites discovered in museums, gallery exhibits, books or lectures I’ve attended. Others were comparisons made by mentors, teachers or fans of my paintings that led to research of an artists’ work. Number 5 on my current list of influential artists is one of the latter.
In a critique of a painting in progress, an instructor compared my style to Edward Hopper. This was the first comparison I had ever received and not recognizing the name I asked, “Is that good?” He snapped, “Go look it up and see!” I did and remembered seeing Tables for Ladies (1930) during family trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I had always enjoyed the row of grapefruit displayed in the window.
Hopper’s art definitely influenced my style of scenic paintings for theater, there are similarities in both the palettes and the sparseness of the settings. The emptiness of his paintings makes me feel as if something is about to happen- much like the function of stage scenery. Also, especially at the start of my career, I would think of light and shadows of his work when creating depth in the large-scale backdrops.
Edward Hopper’s oil paintings are full of beautiful jewel tones that continue to motivate my use of color in creating murals. His work has a decorative quality perfect for blending architectural landscapes to a variety of interiors. The owner of The Foundry (a special events venue) wanted to bring the feel of his French Quarter restaurant into this industrial space. The gold of the plastered walls, the maroons of the bricks and the emeralds of the foliage complements the natural finishes of the furnishings.
Although we each have a unique style, it is interesting to see how what we admire shapes us. I also like to know how these influences were introduced into my life. I invite you to follow this series and join the discussion. Who or what influences your work? How have you been compared to others in your field?