Travel has long been an important part of an artists growth. Being able to capture different environments and depict them in the same skilled manner in which you paint those environments with which you are familiar allows the artist to stretch their artistic wings, so to speak. It keeps them from getting stale, formulaic, boring (and bored…) West Fraser has long been an advocate of painting his ‘home country,’ as his two books from USC Press demonstrate, he has mastered his beloved Lowcountry and South Eastern shores. When we asked him if he wanted to do a travel show with paintings from recent visits to Sicily, the Almalfi Coast, and Costa Rica, he said ‘Heck Yes! Let’s do it!’
On Friday May 4th Helena Fox Fine Art is proud to present ‘Artist’s Travels: Featuring West Fraser’ a new collection of paintings from Italy and Costa Rica. In preparation for the show Helena Fox Fine Art gave West 12 questions that everyone was just dying to know the answers too. 😉
El Invierno Pasado Playa Buena Vista, Costa Rica 32 x 40 inches Oil on linen 2018
12 QUESTIONS WITH WEST FRASER
- When did you begin painting? I drew and painted some as an adolescnet into my teens, but I started painting and making illustrations full time after college.
- What are the three most used pigments on your palette? White, blue and yellow.
- What did you want to be when you were a child? I wanted to travel to capture a world that at the time I believed would transition from what I knew into a crowded place. Part of that was because I was surrounded by rapid development. I tell people I am living the life I envisioned when I was only 13 years old.
- What are you reading? The Lost City of the Monkey Gods by Douglas Preston and On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor.
- What is your favorite style of music to paint to? 70’s rhythm and blues or Jazz
- What is a defining moment, or couple of moments, of your artistic career? First: a published article in Nautical Quarterly in 1984 with an exhibition and representation by The Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City on 57th St.–at the time it was the oldest representational art gallery in NYC. Second: in 2001 a museum exhibition tour and book titled Charleston in My Time. Third: an exhibition at the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Ga.–my birth city–titled A Native Son.
- How do you describe your art to others? It’s like, you know, American Impressionism or Naturalistic Impressionism, the kind of art
Percorso degli Antichi Sicily
that you would enjoy looking at…
- Name the top five artists–living or dead– by whom you have been influenced the most. N.C. and Andrew Wyeth, F.J. Mulhaupt, J. S. Sargent, Winslow Homer, Joaquim Sorolla, Anders Zorn, and C.C. Cooper.
- What do you look for when out scouting for places to paint? Composition and the play of light or atmosphere, that is what matters, subject is tertiary in importance.
- Since this is a travel painting show, if you could go anywhere to paint, where would you go and why? Peru and Chile, because there are still wild places and indigenous culture, and Scotland because I have always wanted to see the land of my ancestors. Anybody want to trade houses?
- Do you think traveling to paint different areas is important to your growth as an artist? It is paraount to staying fresh, because I don’t want to be a method painter. New places and shapes, atmosphere etc…keeps me observant and forces creative technique.
Pizzaria ‘Ntretella Naples, Italy
- What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out? Work hard and focus on your specialty. For me I made a decision in the beginning to concentrate on coastal regions to find subject matter and inspiration; it really did not limit my scope or travel.