Art 101 - Styles: A quick and Dirty Primer so you can look like you know what you're talking about, but you actually will know.
One thing that sometimes saddens me is how often I hear people say they're uncomfortable in galleries, or even talking about art. They look to the floor, and almost apologetically say, "I really don't know anything about art, but..." As far as I'm concerned, if you know what you like, if you know a piece that stirs your soul and makes you feel something deep within yourself, that's really all you need to know about art.
That being said, it can be intimidating to be in a room full of people, listening to them bandy about words like composition, movement, impressionism, conception and commentary, usually with the phrase "vis-à-vis" generously tossed in for good measure. There's nothing worse than being the only one in the room that has no idea, is there? Here's a secret, and maybe it's just my opinion, but I'm pretty sure some of those people have no idea either. Of course some do and are very knowledgeable, but others, well, they're just repeating a bunch of words they heard others say and they sound pretty darn impressive.
Well, today, I thought it would be fun to give you some of those words, so you can sound impressive too, and not only sound it, but because you'll know what they mean, you'll actually know what you're talking about. I'm going to concentrate on artistic styles or movements because that's one of the main things people talk about, especially when discussing my work. Heck, even in my own intro, I talk about how my work incorporates various different styles, such as impressionism, realism, surrealism and abstraction. So let's get started:
The first movement or style is impressionism. Basically, impressionism is just painting the artist's perception of nature or a figure. There is a heavy emphasis on colour and light and shadows. In impressionism, the artist strives to depict the essence of the subject and not an accurate reproduction of it (like a photo). The piece above, Let the Journey Begin, is an example of impressionism. Lots of light and shadows, and you can tell there's a man and a boat, but it's certainly not exactly what a man in a boat looks like. It's looser, I'd say.
Realism, on the other hand, is a style in which the artist strives to create an accurate depiction of the subject. The works produced have a realistic, almost photograph-like look.
Then there's surrealism, a style in which the artist paints in a way that combines images, ideas and objects in an unconventional way. For example, a cat with a fax machine and a fishing pole, sitting on a purple throne. Imagine your strangest dream and trying to paint it, that' surrealism (think Salvador Dali).
This piece, The Surreal Life, has some surrealism in it, see? Why are shadowy figures walking around indoors with umbrellas? Are some of them pretty much just blobs? What's with the staircase and the trap doors? Who knows? It's really cool to look at, so at the end of the day, I guess it doesn't matter.
Finally, there's abstraction, or abstract art. This is the one I find most people have trouble understanding. Here's what it is in a nutshell; the artist isn't attempting to paint an accurate depiction of anything. Instead, he or she uses shapes, colours, forms and brush strokes to produce the desired effect.
This piece, from 2015, called Abstraction and Dreams, which I showed in Paris, is an example of abstraction.
That's all there is to it! Now the next time I post a piece, or you happen to find yourself in the presence of others discussing art, you'll recognize many of these styles and be able to talk about them with the best of 'em!