I was asked to list five people who are my, "Pantheon of Artists, "I admire and state the reasons why. I can think of many dead and gone, but I want to focus on the living and include more contemporary artists that I relate to and consider to be not only great artists with integrity but examples of mentors and teachers.
I am presently in a very vibrant learning environment as part of the Fine Art program at Mount Allison University and I cannot help but be influenced by the artists around me on a day to day basis. Some are teachers and some are fellow students and many are most inspirational to me. Here is my list.
Heuristic (pronounced /hjʉˈrɪstɨk/) or heuristics (from the Greek "Εὑρίσκω" for "find" or "discover") refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery. Heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a good enough solution, where an exhaustive search is impractical. Examples of this method include using a "rule of thumb", an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or common sense. In more precise terms, heuristics are strategies using readily accessible, though loosely applicable, information to control problem solving in human beings and machines. Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/heuristic#ixzz1DZ8rEVD8
Having been a student at NSCAD in the Art Education program, I became acutely aware of what makes a dynamic and dedicated art teacher. One thing of particular importance I believe, is that a teacher have good rapport with their students. Having a sense of humour, and an ability to communicate effectively with others. Essential to teaching is an inherent passion for what I believe, needs to be a vocation. There are several other characteristic strengths and skills that I could mention however if a teacher of art does not have the foundation of these qualities I would suggest they stick to being an artist or some other career choice.
I will touch on each of the artists I have listed and speak about what it is a appreciate about each one and why I admire them as artists and as people, because I do not think I want separate the two.
Eric Fischl is the first artist I have been very influenced by over the past few years. I admire his sense of integrity and courage to invest in his subject matter which is figurative and representational. Coming out of the decade in the 70's where painting was dead and figurative painting was non-existent especially in art institutions, it took courage not to collapse under the weight and pressure of the then modernist and abstract art world. He considers himself first and foremost a painter and not an intellectual but I very much appreciate the way he thinks about art, with his head, heart, psyche, and life itself and what it is to be human.
Andy Goldsworthy is an incredible sculptor and is an environmentalist of sorts, doing remarkable outdoor site specific sculpture. His work has a timeless quality that is usually made on the spot, from the natural materials he finds available within that natural environment. Many of his sculptures will stand the test of time and will be there for future generations to discover, which I find very appealing. Other pieces have an immediate in the present moment nature to them, disappearing over a short period of time under the influence of weather, and the elements.
Tom Forrestall I had the privilege of meeting last Summer, when there was a retrospect of his work in the Owens Gallery, at Mount Allison University, in Sackville, New Brunswick. I was spellbound by his paintings, particularly by his egg tempera pieces. I found myself wishing there were teachers at Mount Allison that were skilled in this ancient tradition, because I am now involved with this medium and process in my painting. There is something special to me about having a connection with artists like Tom Forrestall that not only were teachers in the Fine Art Department at Mount Allison Universty, by were also students there. Tradition and history are very important to me as an artist, however I do not want to be fettered by the constrictions that can be often imposed by the constraints and conservatism of tradition. It is essential to me as an artist to be open to change and to be flexible.
That's my list of five. I would love to hear from others and who they have on there list as their Pantheon of Artists.