Around the turn of the century I worked on a painting. After it was finished I felt quite dissatisfied. There was nothing about it that did not look like something that had already been done and I was disturbed by that on a psychic level. I wanted to be original. From then on, I decided I would strive to create unique art and I soon learned the complexity of originality.
As a formally-trained graphic designer and art director I spent most of my adult life in the service of corporate art departments and marketing agencies. During that time it was my job to “come up with something.” Ideally, to grab a blank sheet and begin conceptualizing ideas. Of course, in the career of any creative director there are times when originality is simply not possible, and when it does happen it seems accidental. Regardless, this kind of daily practice prepared me to come up with something when faced with the desire to make a painting, even though I found the blank canvas daunting.
As I continued painting I began to make distinctions as to what I felt was unique in various techniques and subjects I explored. I formed tenets of what I would do and would not do in my paintings and ended up with a very short list of things I would do. So short, in fact I first decided to paint Nothing. Even there I was at odds since the concept of nothingness did not seem especially original. Philosophically, I realized there was no Nothing and became interested in the origination of thought itself. Thought is a given – constant. I wondered what thought looked like on an sub-atomic level and if I could paint that and whether or not it would look like – Nothing.
I refer to these imaginings as stream-of-consciousness paintings. I paint in a certain manner and avoid any kind of proscribed painting techniques. All energy is focused on the point of contact where the brush meets the canvas. This represents a direct mind-to-art process. Over time I attempted to apply this style to representational subjects but found the stream of consciousness interrupted. It was not possible to see this as a spontaneous, nearly sub-conscious occurrence, as I had once felt it to be. This was painting by design. A tenet formed in my mind, at that point, that I should not paint from photographed subjects, but allow my paintings to be unique things in and of themselves.
If I am influenced at all, it is by things that occur and appear in nature and the universe. This influence is not limited to things we can see. It comes from microscopic beauty as well as sounds only perceived in the mind. When I paint it is more like meditation than baking a cake.
The more art I observe, the more important I feel it is to be unique. My intention as a painter has always been to not paint like anyone else. I recall professor and lecturer, Jack Goldstein in 1982. This was at the end of my second year at the Hartford Art School and Jack had just handed out grades (somehow I made an impression). Jack knew I had a unique perspective. His parting words were, “Gary, just be yourself.”
Learn about Jack Goldstein: http://www.jackgoldstein-artist.com
Recently I have been inspired by the work of Luigi Pericle Giovanetti. A treasure of paintings, studies and manuscripts by Pericle were discovered in his home studio in Ascona, Switzerland, fifteen years after his death in 2001. A skilled illustrator, he broke free of tradition, and in 1958 destroyed his entire body of figurative work to pursue new directions in abstraction and pure expression. To this purpose Pericle devoted the rest of his life to art and a quest for deeper spirituality, creating original works that emanate from a place of higher consciousness.
Read more about Luigi Pericle Giovanetti: https://luigipericle.com