style brick road: A Nighthawk

Monday, 26 May 2014

A Nighthawk

Being an insanely nocturnal person has been taking its toll this last few weeks. Writing essays, making presentations and studying for exams getting together with re-watching all episodes of my favourite TV show Masters of Sex upon the beginning of the 2nd season (hello 1 hour episodes) resulted into a big old lack of sleep. Sometimes 4 hours per day really won't cut it, but the feeling of a rushing need to create and do something is just unbeatable. 

That's probably the reason why I connect so much to the work of the great American artist Edward Hopper, whose heavily nocturnal motifs which meet true-type realism techniques is something I would easily call my artistic aesthetic. Though I respect abstract artist, as some kind of a layman - realistic artistry always makes my art bug tingle just a little bit more. Hopper wasn't one of those artists that lay all of their cards on the table - talking about inspiration was never his thing, yet many theoreticians created all kinds of stories behind his work. Probably the best known painting he created is Nighthawks, an oil canvas painting portraying a bar scene from a passing-byers perspective. A painting that ticks all of the boxes - technique, composition, majestic use of colour and a perfect finish, all became his trademarks very soon in his career. Capturing both the spirit and the fashion of the time was something that came very easily into his brush, but probably never intentionally - because it could never look so effortless. Illustrating the most visual decades of the 20th century, the time between 20s and 50s never looked more beautiful.
Once again, on an absolutely subjective note, I tend to fantasise about the artwork I would love to own. And although I'm well aware it sounds both very childish and just about small-town-y as it gets, Edward Hopper's work has always been on top of my list. It's that kind of easy-going, aesthetically pleasing visual effect that still makes you stare, ending in a feeling of both anxiety and please. It seems like although I consider myself an unconventional fashion lover, I'd end up in the pretty side of the art spectrum, if someone ever created one.
And when people asked about Hopper's inspirations and thoughts behind his work he simply answered: Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world.
Simple as that.

A more contemporary artist that shares Hopper as one of his biggest references is Nigel Van Wieck, a pastel & oil painter that cites himself as a figurative artist working in the tradition of American realism. Exactly the spirit of the traditional American realists at the beginning of the century, his realism speaks both through the techniques and themes - it sets a story, a more-dimensional scene that communicates through layers. Characters, props and a play on perspective - though sharing the idea with Hopper, Van Wieck is more explicit - not because he uses nude objects, but because he depicts the stories in a more extroverted way. His showing of the 90's sums the whole popular culture in a some-may-say-basic image of a red-headed lady on the Subway, a painting named 'Q train'. Not to get all cheap, but yes - also on my wishlist.

Then when it came to interpreting art through my own fashion, this time I used the photography part just a bit more. Thanks to the amazingly patient mother of mine (Hvala Suzy! :D), I got what I wanted - a dark, yet simplistic idea of space, of changing perspectives and multiple dimensions. In a fashion sense, I used probably the most conventional of my wardrobe - to depict the spirit, and put me in a story of some sort. Still working on the plot, but do enjoy the visuals...

Nigel Van Wieck's work:

I wore Zara trousers, blazer & oxfords, H&M shirt, hat & necktie and Daniel Wellington watch