Apart from whatever I can bring with me to conventions (and those seem fewer and fewer each year for me), it is a rare moment for me to have a showing of my illustration work. For that reason, I’m very proud and excited about my exhibition just installed at the Richard C. von Hess Gallery at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. This has been in the works for awhile now and the result is a collection of many of my favorite paintings and preliminary roughs from recent years.
I’ve written in the past about finding one’s vision as an artist and, for me, this show is something of a marker in the progress that I feel I’ve personally made. My biggest step to date came just over three years ago when I made a commitment to embrace the physical nature of my medium and to direct my emphasis towards the emotional and atmospheric side of my images whenever possible. I wanted to loosen my grip on what I had imagined was expected of a fantasy illustrator (both in content and in technique) and instead place my focus on what I personally found most engaging. My success in doing that has varied of course, but I gradually am able to see the path a bit clearer with every new piece.
Assembling this exhibit was an interesting review along those lines. I always feel the most difficult artist to classify is one’s self. We know more or less what to expect from our heroes, idols, and peers. Whether through things like genre, palette, technique, and even style of story telling, the identities of other artists always seem so apparent while our own can feel so elusive. My theory has long been that this is because we assess other artists on the work they have done, which is finite, but we assess ourselves on the work we aim to do and the many potential places which that may lead. It is a bit strange to fill a room with the places I‘ve been in order to say something about where I am trying to go, but I all in all I feel pretty good about it.
|Photo by Ralph Giguere|
For anyone in the Philadelphia area who wants to see the show, it runs from now until May 17th with a presentation this coming Thursday on some of the above themes of progression and voice followed by the opening reception. I hope anyone interested is able to stop in!
Public Presentation: Thursday, April 2, 2015, 1- 2:30 p.m., CBS Auditorium
Reception: Thursday, April 2, 2015, 3 – 4 p.m., von Hess Illustration Gallery
333 S Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107