Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Artist Interview: Greg Hargreaves.

Today's interview introduces us to Greg Hargreaves.  He's an abstract landscape painter who lives in Iowa.  I was drawn to his work on Etsy for the colors he uses as well as the theme.  I'm always drawn to landscapes that involve a lot of "space."  He agreed to let me ask him a few questions, here are his answers:

After the Rain.

 1. Were you always an art kid, or did you stumble upon it later in life?

Yes...I've always been an"art" kid. I was always that kid in class who could draw better than anyone else. It was my one and only talent growing up and I've tried to exploit it to the best of my abilities.

Riverside Study.

2. What style of art is your favorite and why?

That one is very tough to nail down. I appreciate a wide variety of artistic expression. Enjoying not only the old masters...but the work of primitives, expressionists, minimalists, to name a few. I especially delight in the work of children as their vision is untutored, exuberant, and fearless. Many of my children's pieces hang on my walls.
Wide Spot on the Wapsi.
3. What do you use for inspiration, or how do you generate ideas?

I have of late concentrated more and more on landscapes. It seems that whenever I have free time...and the muse is upon me...I relax by indulging in what can best be described as regional abstract landscape painting. There is a much more in depth explanation about this on my website.

Cattails and Killdeer.

4. Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished project.

I ordinarily start with a conceptual sketch with emphasis on form, composition, and texture above all else. Sometimes however I let myself go where the "muse" leads me. Allowing the paint to take me in directions not predetermined. So that my work ranges from tightly orchestrated more representational scenes to the very abstract. More about this on my site as well.  

Fields and Phone Poles.

 5. What is a typical day in your life?

I have no set work schedule. I work when the muse strikes...sometimes into the wee hours of night...stopping when I run out of inspiration. Many times I revisit a painting after weeks or months of contemplation to add finishing touches. I have resurrected many pieces this way. I know this habit is unconventional...and many of my artist friends chastise me about this...but it works for me.

North of East Dubuque.

6. What do you think draws you to other people's work?

I am especially drawn to other landscape painters. And enjoy most the work of artists that delight audiences with their technical facility in creating a transforming experience with paint. 
I love work that never lets the viewer forget that it is after all just paint. 

Portage Path.
7. What are your interests/hobbies?

The outdoors is my second home. Canoeing, camping, hunting and fishing mainly. I am especially attracted to water. There is magic in water...ponds, lakes, creeks, rivers, are the places I spend a good deal of time. I am also a voracious reader.

Spring Fields.
 8. Is this your full time job, or do you have a job out-of-studio?

Art is my full time profession. I have enjoyed many long fulfilling relationships with artists, art directors, and art buyers nationally and internationally. Some of them have become dear friends. And commercial assignments have been a stimulating and a wonderful way to earn a living. In between assignments I relax with a landscape.
Sweets Marsh.
 9. What is your favorite piece you've ever made and why?

That is impossible to answer. They are all individual steps in a journey. Is there a mother that loves one child above all others? 

Three Trees.

10. What advice would you give to an artist just starting out in the business world?

This is another very tough question. Due to the digital revolution, I'm at a loss as to how to direct an aspiring artist into either the commercial field...or the gallery arena. Gallery painting remains for me a mystery as it is a market the same way that the commercial arena is. I would simply tell any artist...young or or follow their muse, do those things that they find they feel compelled to do and hope that there is an audience that appreciates their efforts.

Winter Solstice.
11. Describe your work space.

 A mess. A windowless dungeon. This in fact helps me focus. If I were to have a more open space full of light and vistas I'm sure I would spend much more time gazing outside and less time with the business at hand. Even when working at various commercial studios I would invariably draw the blinds over the widows. Purists cringe at this...but works for me.

12. Did you face any setbacks on your path to being an artist?

Not really. I got into art school with no trouble...receiving scholarships along the way to ease the financial burden. After graduating I had my first art job after only a few interviews...and advanced to various positions as a traditional illustrator with a number of commercial art studios in the midwest...ultimately going free lance back in the mid 90's. In retrospect...I've had it pretty easy. And after 43 years...I'm still working. 
13. What milestones, goals, or achievements are you striving for right now?

I would simply like to continue on my present path as long as I'm able. Sales are important...but not the goal. I simply enjoy painting and am rewarded that others delight in my work.

Thanks so much for your time, and thanks for making such lovely landscapes.

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