One thing I enjoy when buying a piece from a gallery show is meeting the artist. I love to be able to ask questions about interesting art and finding out the artist’s inspiration. I’ve gotten excellent advice on display locations, lighting tips, and other ideas on how to highlight pieces from talking to their creators.
There was a piece that caught my eye. It had lots of swirls and dots in a myriad of colors. It didn’t look like it had been thrown onto the canvas but it did not have any kind of brush strokes that I could see, either. It was very intriguing, colorful, and evoked a sense of creativity and energy in a way that I haven’t seen before. I was fascinated and asked if I could speak to the artist before purchasing the painting. It turned out that the artist was there, she was only a few feet away. As a matter of fact, she was happy to chat with me.
I asked her about the painting that caught my eye and she told me that it was a “manifestation of a heated discussion” between herself and a friend about politics. She represented the swirls, and he represented the dots. On the things that they agreed on, the colors were the same. For the ideas that they clashed on, however, she used contrasting colors. Her face lit up and she animatedly used her arms to gesture at the different aspects of the painting.
Then I just had to ask her about how she was creating these fabulous techniques and she started to laugh. She tried to say it was privileged information but then relented and told me her secret: she had the best air compressor for paint sprayers, a really old model – they just don’t make them like they used to, she tells me. She works in a large warehouse slash studio and runs an electric air compressor to operate a pneumatic air gun. THAT’S how she’s able to make the swirls and dots without any brushstrokes! There were no brushes! I couldn’t believe it when she told me. It was such an interesting concept to me. I would never have thought to use something that I consider to be so industrial and labor associated with fine art, but somehow she can do it.
We chatted some more about her workspace, her motivations, and her recommendations on where to hang it–she was disappointed that my kitchen walls weren’t wide enough, but I assured her that it will fit in the dining room. She was incredibly pleased with this idea once I told her about my frequent dinner parties with friends where we have fairly intense discussions of our own. She told me that she wouldn’t have allowed them to sell it to me if I didn’t have somewhere to display it that was in the spirit of the painting. Interesting, huh?
She even offered to let me come see her create another painting, and of course, I took her up on it. She assured me that her workspace is large enough that I won’t get covered in paint (although she did admit that I will have to wear protective gear as that there is something of a “blast radius” for the paint) and that the air compressor isn’t actually all that loud when it is running. This is very exciting; I love seeing the process one goes through to create fine art!