Pieces of my Art
Charles grew up in South Haven, Michigan where he led the
Art Club; created his own illustrated stories; did mural work, lettering, painting touch- up/restoration; sold the rights to a character that he created to the local newspaper; did animation work; had a pen and ink image selected to become part of the permanent art collection at the local library; did portrait work; participated in local art shows, and did all sorts of other artistic odd jobs and art teacher assistant work.
He moved to Grand Rapids after high school graduation, where he attended what is now called Kendall College of Art & Design; graduating in 1982 with a degree in Illustration and Design.
He took a three month sabbatical during his college days to study art informally in France.
At Kendall, he had been on the Dean’s List and did freelance illustration for a number of businesses. His specialty then had been mostly black and white work which was reproduced for both advertising work and purely pictorial uses. He also began to develop as a Fine Arts painter and was doing more eclectic commissioned work at this time.
After graduating from Kendall, Charles straddled the commercial and fine arts fence, working in both approaches. It was during this time that he began finding his way toward what would become his prime subject matter (architectonic fare mostly) and growing sufficiently as a painter as to develop a recognizable style.
He was part of a stable of artists in various galleries including MercuryHead, Mattie & Flynn, Heffner Galleries Ltd; the gallery in the Amway Grand; Pepper Moon and others as well as doing consignment work and beginning to participate in various local and further- afield art shows, festivals, competitions and exhibitions. Charles has garnered numerous competition awards and has had some of his work travel to various parts of the globe where they are in numerous private, corporate and public collections.
Charles has a keen interest in the science of seeing and visual perception and he incorporates some aspects of what he has learned into his work. He also gives occasional talks in the nexus between science, art and perception.
Charles continues to participate in, or coordinate, group and one-person art shows.
The artistic journey is a joyful one for him; one of thoughtful aesthetics.
My work does not correspond with any school or tradition and I do not emulate the work of any of those artists of the past or present whom I admire. While there is growth and change to be seen in my work, I do not really go through phases, periods or stylistic constants. Each piece takes on a life of its own and becomes what it wants to be as it develops. I may have three works in progress, simultaneously, and all will be quite distinct from each other in approach, style, feeling, and content.
If a single umbrella term were to be given to describe my body of work and underlying approach, it would probably be “painterly realism.” My most abstract pieces retain a foundation of how objects behave in natural environments, while my most high- realism works are tinged and touched with abstract notes.
I am also smitten by constructivist and architectonic sensibilities and feel as though I am piecing together my works in the manner of a craftsman. My artistic trajectory has gone from highly geometric and architectural fare to my recent work that is mostly comprised of very organic and natural elements, yet I feel that they are all linked by a sense of being constructed, built up and assembled out of discrete colored fragments. This is how my eyes take in the world around me; I deconstruct what strikes my artistic sensibilities into their components and then reassemble them into a gestalt. This gestalt takes on all the feelings I have experienced for each part and synthesizes them together for the completed work, becoming my painterly interpretation of the experience.
It is the process rather than the product that excites me. It is the underlying mechanisms that pique my interest and drive me to further explorations.
With my latest work, the inherent structure of my pieces is defined and expressed by the hues themselves to a greater degree than with my previous work.
The artist is like the young child who rushes home to tell the adults what simple wonders and joys he has seen that day.
I hope you share in those joys I have to show you today.