Many people forget that humankind has been making art for it’s entire history, so in that respect making art is nothing out of the ordinary and inspiration should therefore be instinctive – Nick Gentry
Social Art from the Obsolete
Nick Gentry is creating excellence on a foundation of the ordinary, literally. He paints incredible portraits on everyday, benign, and, most importantly, obsolete objects. Back in December we took a look at Gentry’s work and style. This time, we’re back to give you a special look into his methods and musings.
There was no form of special inspiration, but something like a basic human function.
Gentry’s portfolio consistently comments on the interplay and relationship of people and things. His work plays with graphic colors and interesting distortions, particularly in the eyes of his figures. In my opinion, the omission of realistic eyes allows the audience to freely contemplate the figures internal state. The poignant lack of this overt connection inspires the contemplation of what that connection should be. This connections Gentry is able to make with his audience through his style and technique is truly intriguing.
I have always been a portrait artist, mainly working with paint. Over the time I have gone from simple drawings to using spray paint on canvas. More recently I have been building my own canvases from floppy disks, glass and film negatives. I like to now build parts of history into the art through making connections.
It usually starts with other people. I get materials sent to me from lots of different people around the world. I put all these artefacts together to create a composite canvas and I then paint on top of that. It’s a creative cycle as people then see the finished work and feel inspired to contribute to the next pieces.
Gentry also makes connections with his audience by asking them to send him various objects to use for canvas material. He does not doesn’t delete or explore the contents of the disks he uses, so the personal histories and personalities of his contributors stay privately alive. Not only is this incredibly engaging, it’s also socially responsible through the reusing and repurposing of materials usually forgotten or tossed.
I think that there is always scope to engage with cultural activities like art a lot more than we do. We mainly now live in a business-driven world. I think it would be more fun, interesting and fulfilling if we shifted the focus more onto art and creative culture.
As Gentry closes the creative gap between artist and audience he has truly drawn me in. If his materials wern’t interesting enough, his style is certainly striking. Of all his pieces, I’m especially drawn to his 2009 work Algorithmic Blues. The portrait of a relatively androgynous figure is in a blue tone profile against a white background, disconnecting a sense of emotion from the environment. Like the abstract eyes we see in his work, it has a kind of otherworldly vibe that makes me further consider the disconnect, and reconnect, to our own environments. The waves of technology that our society filters through do not have to be washes of mindless modes of convenience.
The desire for creativity and knowledge should be exercised every day and when this happens art can be a become a conduit to bridge important societal gaps . With art like Gentry’s, people are given a direct opportunity to consider the world we live in through more innovative means.
Making art has always been a part of me and so it just feels natural. I actually think that from an early age it is instinctive to a lot of people, but sadly so many of us lose touch with art through the regimented, academic-focused forms of learning that dominates our educational systems around the world.
I actually love the way that art doesn’t always make sense and it doesn’t always appear as an essential part of daily life, but somehow it does feel like it’s ultimately helping us to find out who we are.
Find your instinct to be creative and do so in creative ways. To find our more about how Nick Gentry is doing it check out his site, get involved yourself, and listen to him talk about his art in the videos below!
Nick Gentry Making Social Art