Why I Paint Abstract Art
There are a multitude of styles and genres one could choose to paint. Some would argue that the style in which they paint actually chooses them. For others, it is a well thought out decision. Abstract art has always held a special place for me. I’m not sure if I chose it or it chose me. Although I genuinely appreciate other forms of painting, abstract is what does it for me. Below are a handful of reasons why I paint abstracts.
Creating Something From Nothing (Philosophy)
I have a background in photography, and I truly appreciate photography as an art form. For me personally, if I wanted to create a painting of something real, I would simply take a photo of that thing. Painting something verbatim from a photograph or reference line by line, color by color, and creating an exact replica does not utilize my inner creativity the way in which I prefer when painting. It doesn’t do it for me. That’s not to say that realism or hyper realism are not insanely impressive works of art - they are. They are just not for me. I can appreciate the patience and dedication and skill, but to me they feel very sterile and I find it hard connecting with them as deeply as I do abstracts.
For me, painting abstracts is insanely challenging both intellectually and emotionally. It pushes me far beyond what I am capable or comfortable with and I have an absolute blast while doing it. It’s like being able to understand a foreign language, but not fully speak it or articulate it the way in which a native tongue would. It’s the ability to create something from nothing that can make people feel a certain way that draws me to abstract art.
It’s amazing how certain colors, brush strokes, shapes, textures and compositions can make someone feel right at home, or question aspects of themselves. If a painting “works” for you, why? Do you know? Are you willing to ask yourself? What about those paintings that don’t do it for you? Maybe they make you uncomfortable but you can’t put your finger on why. Sometimes it’s fascinating just to witness another's work and question or speculate what they were trying to say or not say that makes it a fun puzzle or riddle to solve.
It Is Therapy
Painting for me is essential to my well being. It’s like soul food for me. Every single day I create something new. I may not share the end result, or the process, but I show up and I create, even if I f*cking hate what I make.
I run a demanding business with 40 plus people, who’s livelihoods reside in my ability to manage, operate, and lead behind the lines or in the shadows day in and day out. Painting is my little oasis from all of the cold calls, the sales pitches, the 3rd party vendors, the staff and logistical issues, all of it. I disappear into the process. I fall in and out of love with various color combinations, brush strokes, empty spaces, mistakes, you name it. I get to be completely me - for better or worse, and the only demand is to really allow whatever painting that will be, to be by simply showing up and putting paint to canvas.
It’s the most complex and rewarding thing I have done. I genuinely believe that we are meant to be creative, we just somehow lose track of that. We get rigid and cold and distance ourselves from our inner child like joy of simple things like painting and creating as we get older. Tapping back into my inner artist has been something I am immensely proud of and grateful for.
It is Insanely Fun and Challenging
Abstracts are challenging as you are birthing an idea, concept, theory, that has never yet existed into the world, for people to judge and accept based on appearances alone. As an artist, you really have to fully commit to the process and disregard the end result to make honest, genuine art that speaks to people. This is challenging, but equally rewarding. Painting just feels natural to me. The more and more I show up and create, I feel the better I will be at articulating exactly what is inside my head, and the stronger my creative voice becomes and I love that challenge.
Everyone Will See Something Different
You may paint something with the intention of expressing X, Y or Z theory, and someone sees something completely different. I love when people interact with my work in new and different ways. It helps me expand my understanding of what specific colors, textures, brush strokes mean and represent for different people. For a particular painting, some people may see or feel common themes or images in my work, while others will debate the complete opposite. Much like life, everyone has their own opinions, visions, and perspectives on your work. I find it fascinating hearing what people see or feel in my work.
Logic vs Emotion
There are definitely rules when it comes to art, and what makes a piece technically sound or “good”. There is a constant balance for me when I am painting. The balance between masculine and feminine energy, logic of “Am I incorporating the rules here” vs the emotion of going with the flow and allowing the painting to be - regardless if it is technically proper or correct.
It’s such a beautiful and challenging dance that may seem effortless, but so much thought and consideration and pure emotion that goes into every single painting. Sometimes you have to force yourself to put the brush down, and not kill or overwork the painting, while other times you have to push it to the limits even if that means you’re going to send it overboard and work the hell out of it.
Everyone has their own reason or “why” for almost everything they do in life. For me, abstraction feels like the most honest style of painting for me. This may evolve over the years, but for now I think I will stay very busy trying to articulate the images, compositions, feelings that live in my head, my heart, and the space between.
Thanks for reading!
What is your why?