I remember when the air turned last year. The trees were changing color and I was knee deep in my final semester at ISU. A recent conversation between a friend and I was dominating my thoughts. He reveled in the romantic notions of the farm, of growing up in the rural countryside. It was a darling, a precious thought. A thought which formed from little direct experience.
I loved my childhood. Many pieces of my identity were carved out on my parents farm in Idaho. However, the easily beautiful and romantic takes a back seat to the raw rough constant reminders of death which are inseparable from farm life.
To fully enjoy life, one must accept the inevitability of death. A goal of mine is to tell the truth of my childhood and rural upbringing through artwork. The rough and refined, the beautiful and ugly, the living and the dead compliment each other. They all walk together.
The set of thirteen cards began with the call from wunderkid.co A website which provides print services for a select group of emerging artists. Denise, the founder, asked us to submit holiday card designs to sell on the site and at physical retailers. "-I Miss You." and "-Love You." were accepted and are currently on Wunder Kid.
This was the beginning of another endeavor. I looked at the cards initially painted and saw a story forming. A brief affirmation, a reminder of love and support. I needed to paint more pieces to fill in the blanks, in total, seven more, with three connector cards. Each one drew upon personal imagery, past work, and/or artist statements.
I painted the cards and physically wrote the words, but I feel as if the prose are not my own. It became my sister speaking the words, as if she stepped outside, looked to a storm brewing in the west, and whispered them to the wind. The experience was greatly rewarding. Writing from the perspective of someone else is like walking away from everything you are, then looking back to see what you left.
I'm reminded of when I was a child. I would recall my own memories from a physically elavated third person point of view, as if I was given the memories of the non-physical forces watching me. Maybe one could say this set of cards is a contemporary reminiscence of memory and whether or not events need to physically happen in order to be true.
"I just paint for myself," or other variations are commonly used in an attempt to deflect critique. I don't believe most artists who use this line truly subscribe to only creating for one's self.
If they do, then it's an even bigger problem than just not wanting to deal with scrutiny. No matter how original, we owe our peers and the generations before us an immeasurable amount in the formation of our skills and Ideas. It would be incredibly selfish to take what we've gleaned from others and hoard it, no matter the level of deftness.
I want to pay what I know forward; I see the dissemination of my paintings as a way to give back and reiterate the knowledge collected. Many people stand as examples and inspiration to my career. I wish to honor them by adding upon and growing the branches of the art family tree.
I am not saying people must share every sketch or doodle, or that they must try to achieve worldwide recognition. An artist's most frustrating and seemingly unsuccessful work informs and helps strengthen the more pleasing accomplished ones. If you're still worried about mean spirited comments, begin sharing with close friends and family who want to help you grow, then consider more public avenues.
Like my manifesto says; "I use my own observations as a foundation and depict what I am familiar with." Growing up in Idaho this means intense, raw landscape. In school I never felt akin to the other landscape painters. I didn't like it when we were grouped together or compared.
I find many landscape artists do not listen to the land, they only use it to fulfill there own pre-informed goals.
I firmly believe I do much more than just mirror onto paper what I collect with my eyes. I collaborate with the wild. I share my soul with the landscape. I am an extension of the sublime mementos of mortality.
We were camped five miles down the trail from Corn Creek. Zephan headed back to the car the night before, the rest of the family was taking their sweet time packing up and my eight year old patience was thin.
At the time I saw no problems heading off by myself down the trail, which is exactly what I did.
About midway my mind was fully immersed into my imagination. Everything was bright and optimistic, until one sound poisoned the well.
A crunch of dead branches in the thicket of creek brush just ahead sent my mind into a red and black whirlwind.
One sound in the creek bottom was enough to conjure up the re occurring nightmare I had on the river. The dream of baboon-like animals flooding out of the mountains and descending upon the campers down below, ripping open tents and devouring the people inside.
Eight years old, all alone on the trail, I was certain of the realness of these creatures. Still petrified I stood there, my eyes fixed on the thicket.
Soon sounds of movement came from higher up the creek, and then I finally saw the culprits.
A small band of elk grazing around the creek bottom. My presence was of no importance to them and I couldn't be happier as a wave of relief washed away the memory of my nightmare.
I silently thanked them and moved forward.
waiting to be inspired? stop waiting and work regardless.
you don't feel like it? do it anyway.
My best ideas come to me while I'm working, and the skills needed to bring those ideas into reality are gained through practice.
Regular sketchbook practice refines and strengthens technical skill and, with out a doubt, it does the same for conceptual fortitude.
This entry focuses on traditional mediums and art which can be purchased.
One thing I'd like to stress is when you buy a work, you are investing in an artist's career. Art is not a loaf of bread, or a pair of pants; you're not going to eat it all up or wear it out (although the hunger for a new piece might come along).
Yes, not all art can be, or should be a commodity. However buying work at a fair price, especially from an emerging artist, increases the artists ability to further their career, which, in turn, will raise the value of the work you buy.
If you love an artist's work, if you see magic in their pieces, if you see a watershed moment just on the verge of inception. Buy. Their. Art.
Good art isn't cheap - cheap art isn't good, And if you procured good art for cheap then you probably took advantage of an artist.
Plein air, while not a main aesthetic focus of my art, has played a vital role in the collection of ideas and education in landscape and light.
Under regular conditions I have only a couple hours to complete a painting while working "en plein air." soon the light has completely changed, rendering any more effort relatively ineffective.
Plein air forces me to a strict time schedule. It challenges me to work faster, with more effectiveness per brush stroke.
I use photography and a studio space, but the lessons learned while painting on location have been essential in the formation of my most successful pieces.
Emrynt started as a reinterpretation of my sister's name. A synesthetic attempt to cultivate the feeling and emotion I associated with her. As time passed I realized Emrynt was metamorphic. Emrynt's vessel for definition took on my entire oeuvre of artwork. Now Emrynt is me, and I am Emrynt. My parents gave me the name, Seth Thomas Spencer at birth. Through the years I did not shuck Seth Thomas Spencer, I added on to him and to what my parents started. ". . .identity given and identity constructed."