october FEATURED artist

Christopher Volpe

Any Human Thing #2, tar on wood panel, 10” x 10”

Still from an Unknown Film, oil on wood panel, 10"x10"

Twins, tar and gold leaf on canvas, overall size 20"x14"

Embarking on the High Seas of Uncertainty

COVID has rocked the boat for all of the professional artists I know. How can we sell our work if our galleries are closed- or if they’ve re-opened, as is mostly the case, but nobody’s going to openings? How can we teach if we can’t lean over a shoulder into an easel and point to a compositional flaw? “Take it Online” seems to be the answer, but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish - some excel at it, others don’t, and what’s video-conferencing software got to do with art anyway?

Me, I’ve decided this is my moment to get serious. I have a way of choosing the least opportune times for branching out - like when I decided to quit my comfy corporate job with benefits and become a painter as soon as our first and only child, our son Max, was born. Nice timing, that!

By getting serious I mean going “all in” with what I want to create right now, in this angst-filled moment, regardless of what I think people expect to see coming from my brush (based on my sales history anyway). I’m going to paint the paintings I think we need now. For me, that means NOT mobilizing to offer work designed to shore up the leaks in our coffers - no marshes, no seascapes, no still lifes.... It means tapping into unpopular emotions like anxiety, uncertainty, and dread - because those are the feelings that are true and demanding to be addressed.

After you’ve been painting competent work for a while, you realize art is about more than proficiency and pleasing pictures - it’s got to be about expressing deeply felt beliefs concerning oneself and one’s world. That’s what makes it more than a hobby or a job. It starts to really mean something, and you have to show up for real.

This is a strange and heavy time, and art that’s honest is going to reflect that. I’ve finished a series called “Stills from an Unknown Film” and I’m turning my attention back to tar and a series I started in 2016 called Loomings. I challenge you to channel your own authentic feelings, what you think and feel NOW, in this moment, into painting, without too much concern about what others might think. The time is right; after all, what is painting for?

Visit Christopher's website:  www.christophervolpe.com

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