Artist Spotlight: Marc Barrett May 29 2020
Describe one of your earliest experiences with art and what led you to your interest in painting?
My dad was an artist/graphic designer and I have fond memories of visiting his studio in Indiana. I loved dipping my fingers in the thick/creamy oil paint left on his palette. He also liked to paint with watercolors on location and my brothers and I enjoyed going with him. When I was 10, I remember winning a gift certificate for a dungeon scene I painted on a store window for Halloween. This bit of encouragement also helped guide me towards my interest in the arts.
How has your process and/or subject matter evolved over time?
My earlier work is bolder and brighter. These paintings explore the hard edges, intersecting lines, and architectural qualities of modern skyscrapers. This work includes sections of balconies, railings, and ledges montaged together from multiple vantage points and overlapping shapes.
My newer work is more realistic. I am drawn to painting old weathered fish camps, stained concrete bridges, local bakeries, and eating establishments. Most of these places are located around Orlando. I’ve been living in central Florida since 1969, so revisiting these places has helped me create more meaning in my work. A lot of these structures are barely standing, and I enjoy being able to pay homage to them in my paintings while they still exist.
Image (L): Urban Tectonics, acrylic on canvas, 58 x 38 inches
Image (R):View Under Tampa Bridge, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 40 inches .
What artists have influenced your style or art practice and why?
In college, I created non-objective paintings and was influenced by Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and other abstract expressionist and color field painters of the1950s.
My newer inspiration comes from the photorealism movement. I feel a connection to the California painter Robert Bechtle’s scenes from his everyday life.
Where do you find inspiration when you begin a new piece?
I am inspired by the unique places I come across in Central Florida. My camera is my sketchbook. I begin by shuffling through photos until something jumps out and says, ‘paint me!’ I then decide on the composition and vantage point that will represent my subject in all its ‘glory’.
How has living in Florida influenced your work?
It has influenced my choice of subject matter and the use of brighter colors.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Once you are accepted into an art program, it is important to learn about art history and contemporary art movements while also taking a range of studio and academic coursework to obtain your degree. It is also important to consider other ways to supplement your income, such as teaching art. Remember, in the end, to find something that you know, something you love, and something that moves you.
Please provide additional insight into one of your paintings from your solo exhibition at Arts on Douglas. What makes it stand out?
One of my favorite paintings in my exhibition is Midway Fish Camp, 2020. The Midway Fish Camp is located “midway” between Orlando and the beaches, just off Highway 50 at the St. John’s River. My family and I traveled this road many times over the years to visit the Intracoastal waterway to go sailing and fishing at the National Seashore. As a result, I am familiar with and have a strong connection to this place.
I am drawn to the combination of angled structures, the metal roofs, broken down boards, old railings, the swampy river, and vegetation combined with water reflections.
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