Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NOSTALGIC PAINTINGS OF JOHN PAYNE - An American Artist (Interview)

The summer past is when I came face to face with John Payne's painting "Crossing the Thames" in McBride Art Gallery located in Annapolis, MD. What a sight to behold to say the least. I have seen thousands of photo-realistic paintings and drawings throughout my artistic career. What separates Payne's paintings from the rest is how he combines vintage photography and modern day color in his crisp, painstakingly detailed and evocative paintings that teleports the viewer back in time as if the viewer has already been there in his or her past life. The experience is intensely mesmerizing and nostalgic. He has taken photo realism to a whole new level and it is wonderful. Welcome to the realm of John Payne.

1. When did you decide to become a Professional Artist? At what age did you know that you enjoy Art?

I decided to become a professional artist when I was still in high school. I went to MICA and majored in Illustration and Graphic Design, as I believed that it would allow me to create art and earn a steady paycheck. I was employed as a illustrator with Riggs National Bank for five years. At the same time, I was freelancing and advertising agencies in MD, DC and VA areas. I started to dislike doing illustration work because the image was used only once in the advertisements and then disposed of. I yearned to paint images that would be appreciated for the long term. I have been self employed as an artist and selling my work in galleries for over fifteen (15) years.

I was in kindergarten when my fascination with art began. I loved to draw, and it always came naturally to me. My classmates would egg me on to draw images for them. I remember being surprised to learn that drawing didn't come easily to everyone!

2. How would you like to define the artwork you create?

The subject matter that I choose to paint is vintage scenes. I feel it creates a nostalgic feeling and produces good memories of moments in time that strike a chord in many  of us. The artwork I create ca be defined as a visual recalling of these moments and how wonderfully wholesome they were. As an artist I strive to rekindle in the minds of others what I deem as fascinating.

3. What is your favorite color and why? Your favorite music? Do you listen to music while you paint?

My absolute favorite color is turquoise. The greenish-blue shade connects with my soul. If I had to view the world through one color lens, this would be the color I would choose.

The favorite music of my youth is Steely Dan. Currently, my favorite musical artist is Chuck Wildes Liquid Mind. This sound has a soothing meditative vibe. My body instantly relaxes once I start listening to this music. I recommend it to anyone for stress release.

I used to listen to music while I painted. The last seven years I have been listening to audio books that I borrow from local library. I enjoy having someone tell me a story while I paint. I always try to listen to an audio book that relates to the subject that I am painting.

4. How many art pieces have you sold as of today? Do you sell by size or the amount of time it took you to create the painting? 

I have sold over 100 paintings to date. The price place on a painting is determined by both size and by the time I spent painting it. An average size painting of 28"x36" would take three to four weeks to complete. (40-50 hours without factoring in the research that is involved).

5. Do you have a designated Art Studio? do you have this Studio in your house or do you rent it? The address if someone wants to send you correspondence.

My studio is my home. I have rented commercial space in the past, but found that I had more distractions and got less work done. My studio/home address is 7 Donagh Court. Timonium, MD 21093 should anyone want to send correspondence to me.

6. What past experiences (good and bad) have influenced your?

I remember being a child growing up in a row home in Edmonson Village in Baltimore County. We had a back alleyway where we would build go-carts without engines that we would race. We also had a milkman, Good Humored ice-cream man and a colorful horse drawn carriage (an Arrabber) that sold fresh fruit and vegetables. I fondly recall these memories and they are happy and comforting. They reflect the uniqueness of my youth and this type of imagery is depicted in my art.

7. Who are your favorite Artists? Which Artists have influenced your outlook and work? Who do you identify with most?

My favorite artists are Norman Rockwell, Boquereau, and Thomas Eakins. Norman Rockwell has had the most influence on my art. I identify with him and his art because of the way he concentrates on people interacting with one another. Rockwell enjoyed capturing those moments in time that strike a chord in our hearts. His art is wholesome and genuine.

8. What is your favorite media (Oils, Acrylics, Watercolors)? Which brand and why do you choose to work in this specific media?

Hands down, Oil on canvas applied to a fine tooth canvas is my favorite medium. I prefer Winsor Newton brand mainly because of it's slow drying time. I have all day to blend the paint to achieve that realistic look that I want the viewer to take in.

The very fine tooth canvas I use has the perfect surface for my imagery. I like the way that particular texture of canvas grabs the paint off the bristles of the brush as I paint across it's smooth canvas surface.

An average tooth canvas does not allow me to achieve a realistic look as it is too bumpy on the surface. Painting on a smooth panel is just too smooth.

9. Is there something you would like to share about yourself with potential Art Collectors? 

As an artist who paints documented photographic images from the past, I would like the art world to know that I often use a number of various photographic references when creating a single composition. The photos I use are almost always in black and white and are diffused and grainy. A lot of my time goes into researching colors and details as well as deciding what to add and what to remove.

In some cases, I decide not to alter or remove anything as it would only take away the historical accuracy of the image I am painting.

I also accept commission work that includes a variety of subject matters. Word of mouth keeps me busy doing portraits. Painting portraits has always come easily to me. I enjoy portrait commission work but my passion remains to paint Vintage Realism.

Following galleries exhibit my work if you are in the area and want to experience it:

McBride Gallery  215 Main Street, Annapolis  MD 21401
Chasen Gallery  3554 West Carey Street, Richmond  VA 23221
Gallery on Merchant Square  440 A Duke of Glouster Street, Williamsburg  VA 23185

My website johnpayneartist.com

10. Your nationality and Birthdate? Languages you can communicate in?

I am an American. I was born in Baltimore, MD on October 13th 1962. I wish I was bilingual, but I only speak English.
NOTE: I love to travel and am married to a Flight Attendant which allows me to travel often. I have enjoyed touring museums and historical cities mostly throughout Europe. I believe this has helped me grow as an artist and become more open minded about history and humanity.