«PHILOSOPHY OF COLOR» STEVEN HAGY, USA
I like coffee more than he does. Maybe because we live in different countries, we have a different mentality, upbringing, and much more. We live in different time zones. But we are …we are often together. Because we are united by art. And we also have a common love – it’s humor and philosophy. This is how I «met» Steven Hagy , an unsurpassed master of the «artistic word». He won me over not only as an artist, he won me over first of all as a person. Listen to our dialogue, I think you will support my opinions and even more.
– GIVE A SHORT DESCRIPTION OF 2-3 OF YOUR WORKS. WHAT IS THEIR IDEA? WHAT DID YOU FEEL WHILE WRITING THEM?
«Songs to be sung». The title implies something that is or will happen in the future. Music to me is a form of artistic communication. We have two people engaged in song, blending their voices together as one. The third person seems more intent on self gratification and oblivious to the song. The only connection he has to group is his hand around the girl’s shoulder keeping her from slipping off the page. But what song are they singing? That is the question I am asking the you the viewer…So I think the painting is one of self introspection. Me I like the guitar pick. His heart.
«Dingy to a distant shore». I like the idea of being in a rowboat oaring with your back towards your objective In life we go towards a goal without really seeing our path or what that destination will look like. Like their animal namesake, those born under the sign of the Raccoon are smart, adventurous, and determined to get what they want. Bordering on stubborn, a Raccoon will not give up on what it has set its sights on, regardless of the challenge presented. The raccoon in this painting is inviting the viewer to come aboard before we get to far away.
«The handball game». I wanted to create something that looks at sports. The idea of two people competing in a cage accompanied by the expletives of single combat for control of a small ball appealed to me. The idea morphed into a thought provoking image of race relations. We have two competitors playing the same game in the same stances. Now the game has changed or has it? I know a blind girl and it occurred to me one day that she was more sighted than I. For she knows people without the preconceived bias of sight.
– HOW DO YOU COME TO ART? WHAT COUNTRY YOU WERE BORN, AND WHAT FAMILY HAVE YOU HAVE? WHAT FAMILY TRADITIONS ARE YOU RAISED ON?
Other than drawing clipper ships as a child I came to art somewhat late. I took a art class my senior year of high school. My teacher was an ex prize fighter who had lost his eye. To inspire us he would pop that fake eye out and paint it before replacing it. Everyone thought he was so cool! I really enjoyed art that year and I was surprising good at it. Before taking that art class I was involved in instrumental music (8 yrs trumpet) and vocal arts. My first year of college I took 3 art classes and was hooked.
I was born in the United States. My father designed the interiors of office space. His father was a farmer. Before that my family owned a farm wagon manufacturary that closed in 1910.
Hard work, enjoy what your doing or find something else, honesty, faith.
– YOUR TEACHERS AND PREFERENCES AMONG THE GREAT ARTISTS? DO YOU WANT TO IMITATE SOMEONE AT LEAST PARTS?
I went to Penn State for graduate school and Towson University for my undergraduate degree. I received a Ford Foundation Grant for the Arts and a teaching assistantship to attend Penn State. While at Towson University I studied with Enrique Montenegro, learning a great deal about color and brush work. I also studied with Richard Meyhew, learning what he liked to call the “Color grid” during my time at Penn State. I admire the work of the social realists in particular Philip Evergood. I also love the work of Maurice de Vlaminck and Oskar Kokoschka. I taught Lithography for several years at Towson University as well as painting, drawing and watercolor at Penn State.
I think there are elements of all those artist in my work.
– WHAT TECHNIQUES AND MATERIALS DO YOU LIKE TO USE IN YOUR WORK? WHY?
I work in oils sometimes acrylics, on canvas paper or board. I do lithography that I paint into. I do monoprints. Lately I’ve tried digital art with some success. I am willing to try any number of methods to express my thought.
In painting I like working with glazes, encaustic color, I like blotting the surface and drawing on top of the blot paper to expose the under paint. I like additive as well as subtractive drawing.
I like Litho and monoprints because you get the mirrored image of what you drew.
I like “Happy Accidents” in art. Art that surprises even me…
– WHO ARE THE PRIME CHARACTERS OF YOUR PAINTINGS? HOW ARE THE PICTURES BORN?
I use any and all sources when creating because you never know where inspiration can be found. I work from photographs, sketches done on site, people I see, my imagination and my own body.
Landscapes are easy There all Richard Mayhew one color next another. People paintings are more involved. There has to be some meaning, emotional or symbolic. Those require more thought, more sketches… memories, Interaction, observation anything that expose the absurdity or folly of our condition. Lately I’ve been dealing with more genuine emotions or feelings. tenderness compassion hermetic
– STEVE, WHY ARE YOU USING SUCH FANTASTIC COLORS? IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TAKE EYES FROM THEM, YOUR LANDSCAPES WANT TO RETURN TO YOUR LANDSCAPES … THEN COLOR FLOWS FROM ONE TO ANOTHER … LIFE STYLE? THIS IS INTRODUCING … VERY …
Very simply I love color. The interaction of one color next to another. I love things that excite my eyes color does that constantly. Weither it’s bright and bold or soft and subtle, color. Someone said to me, “Stunning! I love how many colors you found in this scene”. I replied, “So many different voices all screaming for attention”
– SOMETIMES THE LANDSCAPES ARE SO COLORFUL THAT IT IS DIFFICULT TO DETERMINE THE TIME OF THE YEAR, WHAT YOU WANT TO REACH THE VIEWER, EMOTIONS ARE WILLING TOO MUCH …
Sometime they are meant to be a particular time of the year others where I lose myself in them are more about color and what it can say.
– HOWEVER, THERE ARE NO STILL LIFES IN YOUR CREATIVE LIST .. WHAT IS THIS CONNECTED WITH? IS THIS A PRINCIPAL POSITION? ARE YOU NOT A SUPPORT OF STILL LIFES?
The term «Still Life» is a pun this is still life and a still life image. I have done some traditional still lifes. Not lately though. They seem somewhat constructed. Painting life is what interests me at the present.
– ALL YOUR PAINTINGS ARE DIVIDED INTO «ELECTRONIC» AND «HANDWRITTED». HOW DO YOU DEFINE WHAT Plot MAY BE ELECTRONIC? WHAT SHOULD BE ON PAPER. YOU ARE NOT ANY EXCELLENT MASTER OF PICTURES …
THE ARTIST’S LIFE IS A CHARACTERISTIC THEATER, IN WHICH HE HAS TO BE A PERMANENT DIRECTOR, ONLY WITH THE DIFFERENCE THAT THE SPECIES ARE FREQUENTLY REPEATED, BUT THE DIRECTION IS WORKING IN THE WORLD.
I started working digitally this past winter. My daughter came home one day a said «Dad it really smells of oil and turpentine in here. Open a window». I hadn’t noticed. She was drawing on her iPad, so I asked about the process and started the next day. A controlled process. I worked for several weeks before I felt confident in the process. Galleries seem to be more interested in physical art. Now I do both.
I start both with a drawn sketch. It’s nice that if I’m having a problem with a canvas I can take a photo and switch over to digital to find a solution. With digital I can play with lots of different color combinations and then go back to canvas.
– HOW MUCH TIME A DAY DO YOU DRAW? I KNOW YOU HAVE DRAWING AT NIGHT … DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER HOBBY OR AN ACTIVITY BEYOND DRAWING?
At least several hours everyday. Something doesn’t feel right if I don’t. I don’t feel driven I just enjoy doing it. Cooking I love to cook. I do yard work around my house. Hiking in the woods. Play video games sometimes..
– YOUR WORKS DEFINITELY HAVE A PHILOSOPHICAL CHARACTER. THEY HAVE MUCH DEEPER SENSE THAN IT SEEMS AT FIRST SIGHT. LINE PHILOSOPHY, I WOULD CALL THE FLUIDITY OF YOUR IMAGES THAT .. DO YOU SPECIALLY WANT TO FORTIFY THE VIEWER? YES, ABOUT EVERY JOB YOU CAN STAND FOR HOURS, RE-THINKING IT AGAIN AND AGAIN.
I would love it if my work touched you in even the smallest way. That’s what I strive for. Just a touch… One of my favorite components in painting I call outward pictorial space. Some of the elements in the work are painted so close to the edge that they feel like they’re off the canvas plane and exist in the viewers world. It makes painting almost sculptural.
– PORTRAITS … YOUR PORTRAITS ARE UNIMATABLE. Moreover, I NOTICE THAT YOU NAME THEM ALWAYS DISTRACTED AS YOU ARE TRYING TO SURPRISE THE VIEWER EVEN MORE … YOU ARE A MASTER OF METAPHOR .. THIS IS EXACTLY …
My portraits tell a story reflected in the title. The title adds or helps explain the art.
– THERE IS A PLACE FOR GRAPHICS IN YOUR WORK. SHE ALSO DOESN’T HAVE CLEAR BOUNDARIES AND REALITY … THE GRAPHIC WORKS ALSO HAVE SACRED SENSE …
Graphics could mean drawing or digital.
– TELL US HOW DO YOU WORK? MAYBE, AT THIS TIME YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC … OR SMOKE A CIGAR … OR DRINK COFFEE ..
It depends on where I am . In the studio I sometimes listen to music or sing. When deeply involved in the work I become separated from my surroundings. I’m in almost a meditative state. My daughter has walked up and stood behind me for 15 min. watching before startling me back to reality. Once I start an hour or two can slip by.
– I KNOW THAT YOU DO SPORT … SAY IDEAS COME TO YOU WHILE RUN?
I was told that running and walking builds brain cells. So I tell people if my head explodes they were right!! I’m focused on pace and breathing so no I don’t think so.
STEVE, YOUR WORKS ARE UNIQUE. I WOULD CALL THEM NOT ONLY ARTISTIC, BUT LITERARY. THEY ARE SATURATED WITH SUBTLE HUMOR, THEY ARE DELICATE. THEY MAKE THE VIEWER EXPERIENCE BOTH EMOTIONS OF COLOR, AND EMOTIONS OF LIFE EVENTS HAPPENING TO EACH OF US, IN THIS OR OTHER DEGREE SIMILAR TO THE HEROES OF THE PICTURES.
IT’S DIFFICULT FOR ME TO JUDGE IN GENERAL, WE LIVE IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES. BUT ART COMBINES THE WORLD AND THE CONTINENTS, PEOPLE AND THEIR SOULS. WE HAVE NEVER SEEN WITH YOU, STEVE, BUT I KNOW YOU VERY WELL. BECAUSE THE ARTIST’S WORKS ARE ALWAYS A FULL REFLECTION OF HIS PERSONALITY.