May 31, 2013

Art Elemento Article

Tessa Guze, Art Elemento Magazine page

My work was featured in the May edition of Art Elemento an arts magazine based in Gwangju, South Korea. To view the entire Art Elemento magazine click here

Here is a copy of the text that accompanied the article with images of the magazine pages:

I am a painter, and like any artist I paint because I have to. I can’t imagine not doing it -  a big part of me needs to paint for some reason. Every professional artist is asked to come up with the reasons why they paint what they paint. Everyone wants the background story. They want a personal connection and a better understanding of the artwork.

  As an artist it is important to know and understand yourself really well in order to be able to give these explanations. The simple, and possibly most truthful answer, “I just felt compelled to paint that,” is not enough to satisfy galleries and keep your patrons engaged and interested. So artists come up with artist’s statements. This is where the more creatively you are able to express yourself in words, the luckier you are. Unfortunately, not all of us are good writers and not all of us are good at making up these explanations.

Tessa Guze, Art Elemento Magazine spread 1
  It can be extremely difficult to reach deep inside yourself and figure out what exactly motivated you to create a particular artwork.  This is where usually truthful artists just give it their best guess, while other more “creative” artists find a good story to match their art. I don’t have a good story (at least not one I’m willing to share with professionals in my field), but I will give my best stab at a truthful explanation of my paintings.

  This is difficult. My paintings are pretty straightforward, and I do have justification for why I paint naturalistically when most galleries shun representational work. Here is the reason: I want my work to communicate and engage as broad a range of people as possible, not only an educated elite who are willing to read tedious artist’s statements to find out why the art is relevant and interesting.  To be honest, while realism is something I like about my work and other representational and naturalistic work, I also paint realistically because I truly love it. I find the naturalistic work fascinating. As fun as playing with abstract colors and shapes might be it will never engage me the way the expression on the face of someone I love does.

  Many fine artists like to focus on their “inner world” and the perspective it gives them as an inspiration and rationale for their art.  However, my inspiration is always drawn from exterior subjects, people or animals,  - their emotions, their situations, and their perspectives. It is always drawn from the outer world,  the world of sight and sound. The world of other people and creatures who can capture my interest, imagination and sympathy.

  A beautiful view or flower can strike me, but when I sit down to paint it is the people that pull me in. If left entirely to my own devices with no painting commissions or portfolios to build, I would probably paint only people and animals, portraits of random people whom no one else cares about or notices.

Tessa Guze, Art Elemento Magazine spread 2
  I love to live in different countries and experience the culture and daily life there, but it took me a long time to realize “travel” was something I was particularly interested in.  It’s not really the new places, but more the people, culture, values, and perspectives that intrigue me. So traveling and sightseeing was never something I found especially interesting, I mean no more than any other young person. When I was young I just gravitated to people from different countries without really noticing it or understanding why.

  When I was a child I always had to be standing up for someone, protecting and defending. I’m not really sure why but I’ve always been drawn to the underdog, the downtrodden and the undervalued, the misunderstood and rejected. I always had to play devil’s advocate. I used to spend recess at school protecting insects from getting stomped on and getting into occasional fist fights or yelling matches with anyone who picked on my friends. I have no idea where this fire came from because when I got home and was alone I would just quietly draw. I honestly wish more of that fight had stuck with my as I grew older.

  Unfortunately, now 99% of the time I find it much easier to be passive and agreeable and only speak up with a contrary opinion when with very close friends. However, I do still love to be quiet and alone drawing and I hope that I still take some of the fight with me into my paintings. People who are different from ourselves can be so easily misunderstood, dismissed, or worse, especially if their differences are seen as strange or threatening.  So I use my fire now in the hope that my work can help people from different worlds seem more accessible to one another, and to show how much of life they actually share.

If you are interested in seeing more of my work please visit my fine arts blog or art portfolio website.

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