It’s hard to completely characterize this week’s cover artist, Charles Wildbank. A look at his still lifes, fruit (like the cover image of strawberries) and portraits shows a predisposition for Photorealism. His flowers, including poppies and sunflowers, are luscious and so real, we can smell them as if they were in the same room with us. His portraits, often of children, are just as present; we can almost imagine what they are thinking, like the red-headed young boy and the child on the beach. Close-up and a realistic style help us to experience Wildbank’s paintings, but then there’s a surprise, like the double image of a clown, more surreal than anything else. We sense this character’s existence, too. We still see him in our mind’s eye, long after his image is no longer before us.
While Wildbank lives on the North Fork, other parts of the country get an opportunity to experience his images in a similar fashion, recently including places like Fort Worth, Texas; Naples, Florida and Miami. These cities may have diverse life-styles, but the inhabitants can appreciate Wildbank’s evocative paintings, nonetheless.
What art projects have you been working on in the last few months?
I have been heavily engaged in doing portraits and marine life themes due to my being close to the beach most of the time.
Has there been a shift in direction in these or other of your paintings?
When someone earlier commented that I’ve changed directions, my response was that it’s as if I have been embarking on a multi-lane highway applying several approaches, all coming from me. On one occasion, I’m doing portraits, but I’ve been doing that since childhood. Same goes for creating still life and marine life. If it seems like I’m doing more abstract images, that’s just an increase in velocity.
Are you doing your usual traveling, which is a lot? How do you select the places you travel to?
Yes, I’ve visited warm places like California, Florida and even New Orleans. It’s essential that my studio environment be bathed in natural sunlight. I also enjoy long days. During winter months, I would naturally gravitate toward the sun. Today, you can say I’m celebrating the summer solstice to the fullest.
How has your world vision changed, if at all?
To date, I will apply the greatest attention and energy to the good things that life has to offer. Artists like myself will relentlessly continue to put out pure energy knowing well we have the greatest influence as we’re closest to the source of love; love never goes wrong.
What about technology, particularly the internet? How has that influenced art?
Great ideas in art are well received virally, especially in internet forums like TED and YouTube. Again, art is like a super highway, gaining momentum and therefore bringing swift change.
Let’s be personal for a minute. What’s your favorite pastime?
Traveling, be it with my feet or fingers. I love our beautiful world and its contrasts. I have wide peripheral vision and take everything in. I isolate a form of beauty, and the result is it has a life of its own. I enjoy sharing this gift with others.
What else do you appreciate about life and/or your art today?
Although I love to dream, I intensely love being awake in the sun. I also love colors, which are at their greatest splendor at my easel as I paint today. I experience this so intensely, then it gets wiped away when I go back to dreaming tonight. And yet the experience will renew itself tomorrow.
Charles Wildbank will have a solo exhibit at Jamesport’s Jedediah Hawkins Inn in the Barn Gallery (400 South Jamesport Road) July 1-Aug. 15. Call 631-722-2900 for information. See Wildbank’s work on his website: