Painter Stephen Kenneth Hackley presents his portfolio and talks about what makes his work unique.
ABI: How would you describe yourself as an artist?
SKH: Essentially an artist is a communicator. They do seem to be of a different sort, not better or worse than anyone else, just different. I had gotten the idea over time that people expect an artist to be weird or eccentric. I suppose that can be true, but I don’t think of it as a requirement.
I wrote a paper once in school asking the question, What is Art? My conclusion had to do with the very nature of art itself, no matter the medium. And that involves communication. My view is that you get what you get out of a piece of art, and that it is neither right nor wrong, it is just what you get. I am not one to tell you what to think about a work of art. I believe the art should do that.
So what is my goal as an artist? First of all I paint because I love to create. It is way up there in the stars for me in terms of how I feel. Why do I paint what I paint? In my opinion it is time for a renaissance of beauty. I want to bring that back. That is why I paint what I paint. I want to uplift people.
I painted a mural once on the side of a restaurant. One day, in the evening, a fellow stopped and got out of his car. He came over to me and said he had driven by in the morning. He said he was on his way to work and wasn’t in a particularly good mood. He saw the mural as it was being created, and it had such an uplifting affect that he had a really good day. He stopped just to tell me. What an effect!
ABI: Not only are you a painter, but you make your own paint. Why do you do this, and what results do you get?
SKH: A friend gave me a book on the techniques of the Old Masters. After it sat on my bookshelf for 10 years, I finally read it and learned how artists had to make many of their own materials. Internet searches led me to suppliers and methods and I tried it. Initially I was wanting to return to some artistic “roots” and hoping to find a way to get paint more inexpensively. It wasn’t really difficult to make (though I shied away from cooking lead, seeing as how it is quite poisonous.) I found the color saturation to be amazing! I can really control the intensity and it works very well with layering, which is the method of painting I prefer.
ABI: Tell us about your newest direction.
SKH: I am moving out and doing more work with materials other than just paint… metal leaf, as well as crushed marble and even epoxy resins, dyes and other colorants. My main subject matter, flowers, will never go away, but I’m doing work with horses, some land and seascapes and getting into abstract work as well. I am sticking with lots of color, motion and emotion. And, of course, communication is the key.