Sunday, October 13, 2013

Interview I did with Brett Mason for the Artists in Boston facebook page. He won the summber 2013 competition

1 I noticed the bright colors in your paintings. Who were your influences?

Most of my influences emerged from Abstract Expressionism and Impressionism

when dealing with my color palette, however there are also masters from the past who I

really like. There are countless painters I admire that help me analyze the way color can

be used. To name a few, Rembrandt, Vermeer, El Greco, Francisco Goya, Cezanne,

Monet, Picasso, have been very influential for me. There are more contemporary

painters who have a very unique approach to color which excites me and leaves me

curious as to how they are able to come up with such amazing pieces. Painters such as

Hymann Bloom, James McGarrell, Hans Hofmann and John Grillo inspired me to

explore the possibilities of color and light as if it were alchemy.

2 What subjects did you first paint?

I actually didn’t really start working with paint until junior year in high school. I did

a lot of drawing and sculpture before seriously pursuing art, it was more out of

enjoyment. When I started painting I was interested in artist such as Alex Gray and Chet

Zar so most of my subject matter related to that genre, so to speak. Other than that I

taught myself how to draw and paint until I wanted to expand my knowledge in college.

3 Has your subject selection evolved?

Absolutely, I tend to change things up whether it’d be collage, abstract or

subjective painting as a way to keep my art fresh. There are times where I do

commissions for friends, bands and businesses, most recently was a logo for a

landscaping company, as an example.

4 How has your art evolved?

I think one of the best things I’ve ever done as a painter was buying a copy of

Hans Hofmann’s “Search for the Real.” It’s a collection of essays written by Hofmann

that talks about his analytical and philosophical perspective as an artist. I was really

compelled by his way of thinking and articulating his beliefs about painting and sculpture

in a way that opened up a new approach for my own work. There’s also a presence of

charm and spirituality in his paintings that makes me believe he was a great teacher

and mentor overall.

Aside from that my art has evolved through dedication to making art. It’s like any

other job, you have to work hard, fail, endure criticism while learning from it in order to

achieve even one great painting. Criticism is especially crucial for any working artist as

long as its constructive and you’re able to see what it is that you need to do to make

better art. I had one professor who pushed me to make my art better. His critiques were

brutal for me because he didn’t hold anything back in order to not hurt my feelings. I

would always dread having critiques with him, but in the end it made me think about my

intensions as a painter. It’s also a way to judge whether or not you have the right idea in

mind or being completely arrogant about what people think about your work. If you have

the intension to produce art and show the world you have to accept that not everyone

will like it. Yet you have to be confident in what you do.

5 On what are you currently working?

I am currently focusing on a series of paintings called Life and the Imagination.

It’s a series of paintings that reflect on world travel photographs taken by Richard E. S.

Maxson, who was an artist, world traveler, and museum curator. These paintings show

the everyday life of various people and places in many parts of the world. As a

serendipity of expression and realism with paint emerges a nostalgic presence for

something that I personally will never experience in my life time is stirred within. It is

important to see how, for me, these paintings go beyond the photographic realm to a

more intuitive view of life’s beauty and sacredness.

6 How did you become interested in collage?

One of my professors, Tim Harney, who is also a great painter and influence,

introduced me to the history of collage and artists who mastered the medium of collage.

I began making my own about four years ago just for the sake of trying something

different, though I didn’t keep most of them. Senior year in college was when I really

explored college and made close to a hundred of them by the time I graduated. I was

also painting a lot and collage helped to inform my paintings better when dealing with

color and space. Though it’s somewhat of an underrated art form I highly recommend

any painter to experiment with collage.

7 What is the connection between your painting, drawing, and collage?

I guess the best way for me to explain is that everything I do is to maintain a work

ethic as a painter. Making collages help me to understand spatial quality and contrast

between color and light whereas drawing helps me to understand linear structures and

plane divisions. Nothing I do is more important than the other because in the end I’ve

learned something in everything I do. The only difference between painting and

everything else regarding work ethic is that I spend a lot of time on my paintings. It

takes a great deal of time and patience for me, some are completed in just hours while

most may take months to finish.

8 What are your intentions and goals in the future?

I’m not exactly sure where my artistic journey will bring me in the future. If I’m

able to paint and work on art related projects then I’m happy. The best thing for me is to

take what I can get and work at it even if that means I have to sacrifice things in life

such as hanging out with friends or sleeping for 3 hours a night. There are times when it

is hard to make time to work in my studio. But that’s how life is for me at the moment, I

have to work a day job to support myself while being able to paint.

There are, however, opportunities for me in the near future that I’m looking

forward to. I have drawings and paintings I’m preparing for a showcase in New York and

Washington D.C with an art dealing business based in Wellesley called Kramer Fine Art.

I’m also having a solo show in April at the Gulu Gulu Cafe in Salem, so everyone should

keep posted about that in the future!

9 Anything else you'd like to add about your process and training?

All I can say is that I’m always content when I’m able to make art and my training

will never cease until the day I am unable to pick up a paint brush. I’m committed to

painting and if it truly inspires people than that’s rewarding to me as well.