Good Gauguin, He's Everywhere!
It seems like every once in a while, one of the old masters comes back into society's consciousness. Suddenly, that artist is everywhere, and try as you might, you can't escape seeing his or her work.
I've noticed Paul Gauguin popping up in articles and web forums lately. It seems like he's not only a hot topic because of his work, but also because he was highly skilled in the art of self-promotion.
If asked, I've never felt the need to list Gauguin among my influences. I think it's due more to a personal dislike of the way he lived (leaving his wife and family to pursue life in the tropics, taking advantage of underage native girls, and so on). However, I find myself drawn to many of his pieces. When I visited an exhibit of impressionists some years back, I bought a few postcards without really looking at the artists' names. One of them was a piece by Gauguin. Every time I look at Van Gogh's work done in Arles, I am equally fascinated by Gauguin's pieces as well. Lately, as I have begun working on some paintings with a more tropical feel to them, I again find inspiration as I glance through some of Gauguin's pieces.
I may not like the man (or I should say what I have read about the man), but the more I grow as an artist, the more I appreciate his use of color and the division of his canvases to create such bold compositions. I can also appreciate his need to find a simpler, more primitive version of life. There are days when I envy the birds outside, because they wake up and know by instinct what they need to accomplish each day. I guess it's important to remember that every artist is human, and has his or her own personality faults. Those faults may contribute to the art, but it's ultimately the work that defines that artist for future generations.
In other words, it's ok to admire an artist's work without admiring that artist as a person.
Two of my latest works, the second one definitely inspired by some of Gauguin's design and subject matter:
Click here to buy print:
Click here to read a great article about Paul Gauguin: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Gauguins-Bid-for-Glory.html