August 3, 2009

Sensual Realism – My brand of painting explained.

Website with brand ID and content.

Prior to launching my career as a working artist and painter, I focused mostly on creating and building winning brands for companies. So it’s no coincidence that I have taken great care in building and communicating my own individual brand.

As the sole owner, operator, and painter of Harding Studios, I am the brand. And, the paintings I produce and sell are products of the brand. Having started with the brand called me, I needed to understand several insights that would help differentiate me from all other artists, provide motivation and inspiration for executing paintings, and culminate into something meaningful for the collectors of my work.

The result was Sensual Realism. Let me break it down.

I’ve come to believe that the there are four key ingredients to an artist; Lifestyle, Influences, Technique, and Inspiration. Collectively, these traits produce works of art that appeal to people and organizations with like minds. In our art world they are called Art Collectors, Patrons, Gallery’s, and Clients.

Lifestyle: A single Los Angeles artist who parties all night and has tattoo sleeves leads a different lifestyle than one who is married with children and lives in Tulsa. Their art sensibilities are different too. So when I looked at this factor, I had to peg myself as the Consummate Bachelor type. This doesn’t mean that I won’t get married. In fact, Madonna got married (several times) but she is still kind of the Bad Girl type.

Influences: Which deceased and living artist is the artist most drawn toward? For me, it’s John Singer Sargent, Sorolla, and Anders Zorn among others. I am also drawn to Artist’s, like Jeremy Lipking and Richard Schmid because they also have been influenced by the same genre of deceased artists. These artists chronicle their times but do so in a way that gives viewers an artistic impression versus an ultra realistic portrayal of their subjects. They leave something up to the imagination (or Senses). I once read that a Sargent critic believed that his portraits not only conveyed the sitter’s likeness, but also the emotional state of the population at the time.

Technique: Technique is how the Artist executes his or her work. Is their technique photo-realistic, is it impressionistic conveying light and shade in broken color, or perhaps its colorist, overemphasizing the effects of light on subject matter? My technique is decidedly painterly, both as a result of my influences and innate sensibilities. For the way I’m wired, I have no interests or the patience to re-create a subject or scene the way a camera does. I’ll leave that to professional photographers. However, if you are interested in a representational painting executed in fluid painterly realism, and expressed with light-filled sensibility, I’m your Man.

Inspiration: To an artist, inspiration appears in many forms. Boiled down to its core, inspiration comes from visually stimulating subjects such as the great outdoors, shapely nude figures, pretty faces, cute pets, or interesting objects. Inspiration can also come from seeing the way another artist painted a certain subject, or from the sudden flash of an idea conceived in the mind. This is probably one of the most important aspects of an artist works because what inspires the artist, must be ultimately conveyed on the canvas to inspire the viewer. Inspiration, informs and influences an artist’s product and provides the needed motivation to cover blank canvases with paint. A Sargent biographer noted that some critics found several of his portraits cold and impersonal while other were full of dramatic poses and interesting accoutrements. This difference was attributed to the level of inspiration he had with each sitter. Personally, exotic and interesting people, places and objects inspire me. For instance, one of my inspirations came from a beautiful young Model in London and a painting of one of my favorite artists. I am working on a book that will reveal some of my inspirations in action. If you’d like advanced notice of the books publishing date, you can sign up for my email newsletter.

Wrapping up, if you look closely at my art, and promotional materials including my website, blog, facebook pages, Artist Statement, Biography, and Resume, you will see a thread of Sensual Realism that weaves throughout each piece. This is my brand at work.

PS: If I had to write a definition of Sensual Realism, this is how (a lofty) one might sound: Sensual Realism: A sub-category of Realism and brand of JT Harding art that represents real-life imagery in a fluid, and painterly fashion. His works of art are derived from and inspired by sensual subjects including exotic places, interesting people and rare or unique objects. Viewers of sensually realistic paintings are immersed in a visually stimulating, and pleasurable experience that ignites their hearts and minds and transcend both time and place.

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