If I had a chance to meet or get to know the insanely passionate Vincent van Gogh, or any of the other masters, I'd take it up in a trice. But I'm happy I'm at least able to get to know some of the artists of the day better, including the landscape artist Brad Teare, with his thick impastos akin to van Gogh's. Brad is also an illustrator and a wood cut artist, who lives in Utah.
Q. Describe your typical working day.
A. I wake up around 7:30. I check email messages on my phone while in bed allowing myself to get ready for the day. I'm up before 8:00 and join my wife in our sunroom for breakfast. We talk or read for about a half hour, and then I retreat to the studio where I draw or paint for about three hours. I then take an hour lunch. After lunch, I paint for three more hours or so and take an hour nap around 4:00. I then work for a few more hours until dinner. About half the time I continue work after dinner working to 9 or 10:00. I then join my wife in the sunroom again where we read until 11:00. My wife is also an artist so she often joins me in the studio to critique my work or sit and read. We have a sitting area for that purpose. That is a typical day, but I sometimes travel to sketch, paint in the field, and collect mental information to use back in the studio.
Q. Why did you choose to be an artist?
A. My exact motivations for becoming an artist are somewhat obscure except for the fact that I always wanted to be an artist as long as I can remember. I was a creative child–always engaged in some craft or inventive activity. My choice of profession might have to do with being an introverted, retiring person, and wanting my art to be the public face of my creative expression. My reason for being an artist now is to share my inner world and hopefully inspire viewers to greater creativity and insight.
Q. What is your goal as an artist?
A. My goal as an artist is to make art a self-generating project. In earlier parts of my life, I've had to do illustration work for magazines and books to pay for my fine art projects. Working on non-fine art related projects means I had to provide a real service to my patrons. I have to bring real meaning into their lives or else they will not reward me for my efforts. Such focus helps me avoid self-obsessive and possibly pointless deadends in my fine art journey. Within that context of service, as a painter, I strive to only engage in absolutely authentic expressions.
Q. What inspires you to paint/create every day?
A. I have a very deep-seated need to create. The most satisfying expression for me is the visual arts, especially painting landscapes in oils. I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the United States, and just by going on a morning walk I easily discover inspiration for my landscapes. I find other artists' work inspiring as well. I have a large library of art books that I love to study.
Q. How do you choose your subjects?
A. I take long, leisurely walks or drives with my wife to discover my subject matter. I will take photos or stop to do a sketch or a quick painting. From these sources, I develop my final compositions. I actively try to vary my drawings and avoid falling into compositional ruts by practicing a variety of compositional methods.
Q. How do you think your art serves others or yourself?
A. Highly competent people know how the world works, either intuitively or by experience, and what will make them better people. This is why successful people buy art and want to help artists with their careers. I reject the idea that art is only bought by the rich for suspect reasons, like trying to impress others. None of my patrons are driven by such motivation–primarily because such shallow motivations are not conducive to success. Knowing that my art will inspire and challenge the owners of my paintings and, perhaps more importantly, their children, is a great source of satisfaction to me. Being a part of the upward drive of the human family is deeply humbling and rewarding.
Q. Do you paint for yourself or with any particular person/audience in mind?
A. I paint images that I think are intriguing and am glad that many people agree with me. It is particularly satisfying when my wife (who is a painter with a keen sense of color and design) likes what I do, but I try not to let her accolades influence me too much. It is vital for an artist to strike a balance between satisfying people collectively and allowing themselves to discover new ground.
Q. Are you happy being an artist?
A. I am very happy as an artist although I have to admit it has been quite difficult. When I started this adventure decades ago, I'm glad I didn't realize how unlikely it would be that I would succeed. Naivete has been a useful shield. Being an artist is a high stakes endeavor, and the likelihood of success is very low. I don't think I could have chosen another path though. I am grateful for the success I have enjoyed, which has allowed me to minimize hardships my family might otherwise have endured. Despite the struggles, I find joy in my work which might be a better way to describe my creative journey.
Q. When do you have the most fun?
A. I have the most fun when I am deeply engaged with my work, and I am allowed to fully concentrate on the creative work at hand. It seems the modern world wants to keep us from concentrating or focusing but it is critical to the creative process. All artists need to find a way to cancel out the world and find a peaceful place to create.
Q. How has being an artist changed you?
A. I always wanted to be an artist, but there have been many points in my career where I was employed as a designer or illustrator. Participating in those fields allows you to superficially skim over many important artistic ideas. Being a fine artist, or an artist that creates uncommissioned works of art has been more transformative. It is difficult to describe exactly how art has changed me except to say that I shudder to think of my life in the absence of such change.
Q. If you weren’t paid for it, would you still paint/create?
A. Absolutely. Creativity is essential for my sense of joy. Depending on my circumstances I might have to drastically alter the pace or conditions of my creativity, but if I remain breathing, I will always create.
Q. What advice would you give to the aspiring artists?
A. Realize that art as a profession is very competitive and is a high stakes proposition–which means that the odds of success are very low. But if you are a real artist, bad odds will mean nothing to you. However, if you don't realize how difficult the path is you have chosen, you might allow complacency or laziness to take hold, or you might buy into the postmodern deception that genius will allow you to prevail in the absence of hard work and commitment. Finding your path will entail going down a lot of blind alleys and experiencing many failures. You have to find a way to cope with those heartbreaking events.
Q. What have been the important turning points or influences in your artistic journey?
A. The decision to go to New York to pursue an illustration career was pivotal. My success there gave me the confidence to know I could succeed as a landscape painter.
Q. Which are your favourite mediums/colours?
A. Although I paint in acrylic and oils, as well as making woodcut prints, I prefer oils for its longer working time which allows for greater spontaneity. My acrylics evolve slower and are more of an intellectual process. I have written on my blog that "color is color" regardless of medium, but I find myself increasingly drawn to oil paint. There is something about the drying time, texture, and fluidity of the paint that is almost metaphysical for me. That isn't to say that I can't envision periods in the future where I would work with acrylics again. Acrylic has its own rewards, but for now, my chosen medium is oil paint. My favorite color changes from time to time but right now it is Cobalt Blue Light which is a pure sky blue color.
Q. What is art for you?
A. Art is transforming the intangible from the unseen world of imagination into the world of visible objects. Not everything we envision is worthy of being shared, but those persistent images and ideas that are made manifest are art if others find meaning in them as well. Creativity is the essential human activity, and I hope my paintings are reminders of that truth.