When I first graduated from college many years ago, realism was still influenced by the Impressionists. It was starting to change when photorealism began getting press. I remember going to the Whitney Biennial and seeing the most incredible paintings. While it was still mostly abstract at the time, there were a few emerging narrative realists shown.
At that time painting from photographs were frowned upon. It seems, while the Impressionists broke the rules of the classical painters, they produced more rules of their own for a new generation of artists to follow. It was all about light and nature with soft painterly edges, and of course, photographs were out. That made you an illustrator. I avoided questions about how I rendered my imagery. Although it felt dishonest, I didn’t know anyone at the time who admitted to using photographs.
Fortunately we’re now in a new age of technology where anything goes. We have truly entered the age of science fiction where the impossible is being explored. If you can imagine it, you can make it happen. Everything is changing as technology advances. This new thinking is an energizing force for the arts, as I see it, whether it’s video, laser, polaroid, installation, digital, kinetic or just plain good drawing and painting.
I find this an interesting development as an artist. It gives me permission to look inside myself and take risks without restrictions. It allows me to explore unorthodox materials and methods in search of a new way to make art…and that advances everyone.
So while I move forward, I also look back and take what I need from old trends. My conclusion is, if the work is fresh and has an original voice, it will find its place.