Geoffrey Gordon is a mixed media painter focused on the styles of Expressionism, Impressionism, and Abstraction. He uses these styles to “arrive at a place of open minds” where we can “commune and connect.”
How did you learn your craft?
How I learned my craft is a long and interesting story, but what I can say is I will always be learning. Throughout my experience with worldly dichotomies such as politics, economics, religion, and general processing of new and often contradicting information or feelings, I developed a visual expression to map these conversations out and represent different rebuttals and supports to each side. How I came to represent color as opportunity and possibility, compared to stark contrasting lines and complimentary colors as more representational, is always a work in progress, and to achieve balance and movement in my art.
Traditionally, I taught under Joyce Werwie Perry and Claire Hardy of Pittsburgh. I had taken Drawing I in college and a few Art History courses for my classical training, but it wasn’t until I quite whimsically picked up and spent 80$ at an art supply store and watched hundreds of hours on youtube to hone my skills. Having a degree in psychology, it was fate that I ended up expressing the minutia of behavior in politics, religions, and norms in some fashion or another. I chose visual expression.
In your work you emphasize finding middle ground and reaching “a point to converge and discuss” within a system of black and white thinking. How did you develop your artistic voice? Has it evolved since you started painting?
My artistic voice began to be expressed after I learned how to make the marks I wanted to make. I suppose the need to achieve balance has always been there, but expressing such balance began when I had entertained different ways to create different effects. As part of my art, I believe it is important to investigate different possibilities to get the greater picture. I often leave “room for interpretation” when adding detail to a picture. For example an object could be seen as more than one thing, allowing the viewer to see things differently. Perspective is another tool I use in my work to again, promote seeing from different angles and viewpoints.
What do you hope viewers take away from your art?
I want viewers to take away with them firstly visual entertainment. My work is not to be glanced at, but can be studied and will show new possibilities as the subjects are discussed (if only in the mind or to another viewer). I hope the audience takes away from my art the ability to entertain a new perspective without feeling the need to accept it.
As a mixed media artist, do you find yourself planning a project around the materials you have on hand/want to work in and/or technique you're currently interested in, or do you just go with the flow?
I plan very little with my paintings, but rarely materials. I have an arsenal of mixed media tools that I use for my work. The flow is very important during the painting of a picture and rough drafts are difficult and even rarer. Just as in life, you cannot erase things but you can go over them again to make it clearer or more accurate. There is often thinck paint and texture in my work to represent such tuning.
Are you experimenting with any new techniques, materials, or concepts in your work right now?
I am always experimenting with new techniques and concepts. “To be an artist is to be an explorer” – Henri Matisse
Do you encounter any challenges in rendering your ideas on the canvas? If so, how do you overcome them?
I find it challenging to wrap up a piece and call it finished. For me, my work is an echo of my experiences and responses to daily life. Finishing how I think or feel about something can be expressed but is never finished.
Do you find yourself starting a project over? How do you know when you've reached that point?
I do not start a project over. I do not erase nor do I throw away. I feel that life is a journey and being dissatisfied with your work and giving up is not an option. Correcting, amending and going over a piece of art is very common and speaks to my steadfast nature.
Aside from art, do you have other passions? Do they ever influence your art and if so, how?
I have many passions, but none are expressed so thoroughly as my visual art. My passion of philosophy and critical thinking are paramount and well captured in my drive to balance an image or dichotomy or debate. I have a love for cooking which also promotes balance and mixing of “ideas.”
Is there anything else you'd like us to know?
As a visual artist I strive to gather people in thinking differently and avoiding the all or nothing mentality. These dichotomies are so commonly pronounced in daily life that we have lost the ability to entertain another opinion without disliking them for it. I aim to offer a point to converge and discuss so that we can hear another perspective without feeling forced to support it. Whether it is knowing oneself or appreciating how others live, understanding is important to balance and fairness, and allowing for a better future.
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Photo credit: Geoffrey Gordon