In an attempt to be more creative with my painting, I am doing a fair amount of research and web browsing to discover something that will spark new ideas and concepts. Over the next few months I will be exploring and experimenting with new concepts as well as keep up my normal painting schedule. I will post the things I find interesting along the way.
When first stumbling on this concept of creative representationalism, one artist in particular came immediately to mind. Geoffrey Johnson, born in 1965, is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy, the first and oldest art school in the US, and has been selling out his shows for years now.
Born in North Carolina and now I believe living in Georgia, Geoffery has an extremely compelling style that fuses still urban landscapes with the movement of figures and crowds. He began his career by painting landscapes much like the one below and eventually began incorporating figures which were soon coupled with monochromatic urban scenes, creating a style and concept that is all his own. Geoffrey's work does border the fine line between aesthetic and representational art, but I doubt there is a collector or gallery that wouldn't love to have one of his works in their collection.
Check out more of Geoffrey's work through his galleries: Principal Gallery, Shain Gallery, & Hubert Gallery
More thoughts on creative art:
I believe the art community, and myself, should limit ourselves to a strict criteria when it comes to creativity. It's easy to see that modern art has opened the doors to just about any material and technique. While this might make it easy to develop something unique, it might not be creative. Anyone can strap some neon lights and paint on a canvas, or drip paint from a pendulum suspended over a canvas, but that doesn't say anything about our past as painters, our skill and technique, or the exact feeling and message that we are trying to convey (unless it's chaos). If we limit ourselves to classical techniques and materials, we can insure that our work will stand upon the shoulders of the old masters, as well as the test of time.
Brad Kunkle's work (as described in the post below) uses gold leaf, a technique that was used in the Egyptian pyramids and ancient Rome. The use of gold and oil paint together has been used for centuries, and Brad isn't the only contemporary artist doing it, but he was able to add his own creativity and a high level of skill to create something entirely new.
Graphic designers and agencies do this every day, and in some cases the best advertisements take a unique spin on something common or classical (I saw the below Billboard for McDonalds in my town the other day . . . It's a good example). Imagine if the marketing world took hold of the concepts of modern art, we would probably see car salesmen trying to sell cosmetics by screaming at women and slapping colorful starbursts all over. But yet we see in every makeup ad the idea of "natural" beauty and clean, soft light, as if every model is a Greek goddess (and you too is you buy the stuff).
This narrowing down of materials and techniques (which is still very broad) will produce a potential for higher creativity than would otherwise be possible, and could also gauge what is "acceptable" representational creative art. From an investment point of view, collectors are concerned with the whole gamut of art history and how an artists work fits into it. We have all seen artists fade in and out of popularity, catching the latest trend or it's resurgence. If an artists work could be in sync with the foundations of classical art, while still bringing the current world and his personal thoughts into it, then he has a much better shot of becoming a "new master".
As in my past post, I don't think a painting needs to be more than paint on canvas or board, the use of other materials like gold, silver or who knows what else may be a rough road to travel. As we have seen by Geoffrey Johnson and countless other artists, creativity and sound technique is all you need to create something worth while.