Honoring the Artist: An Interview with Charles Wildbank

This week’s Dan’s Papers cover by Charles Wildbank presents a whimsical perspective on an East Hampton icon. Called “Golden Pear Mill,” the the structure is a piece of fruit which may or may not suggest a metaphor, yet the real point is the fact that it recalls Wildbank’s playful work in general (like his peppermint candy painting). Even a recent abstract piece, “The Wave of Gold,” makes us feel good, with its cosmic worldview and drops of real silver.

Q: Why a pearshaped windmill on the cover?

A: I guess it’s because I sold so many paintings of pears in the Hamptons over the years.

Q: I have seen and read a few interviews with you, and people mention the fact you are hearing impaired. How has that condition changed the way you paint, your philosophy, style?

A: My deafness hasn’t changed anything. I was born into it. What you probably mean is if I feel different in my outlook compared to others. I can say that everyone is unique and would being hearing impaired make me unique among other unique people? I am just myself, both different and no more different than other people.

Q: While you deal with a variety of subjects, like landscapes, portraits and still lifes, what are you working on now?

A: I’ve been painting large portraits; I get lost in the dynamics of the person’s presence, like through the expressions, the long hair, the lighting. I am building a collection with hopes that I can have a retrospective.

Q: Do you have a special season when you are most productive or special circumstances when you do your best work?

A: I love the sunny days for work, especially as they lengthen through spring and summer. The waning of the days can frustrate my creative planning, as I feel a wonderful energy from the sunlight in my studio. I like to remedy this by heading toward the equator or southern hemisphere every winter. I did a portrait of bathers in the Caribbean at one time. Wonder what Renoir would have done out there in the Cayman Islands.


Q: Any special experiences you have had closer to home this last year or any place, for that matter?

A: I had an exhibit at the Baywoods Laurel Group space in Watermill. I had just enjoyed a trip to Japan on a photography tour through the temples and mountains. Just to think that months later, Japan was hit by a devastating tsunami and fallout.

Q: If you had a choice, what place would you like to exhibit?

A: I like to be surprised. I prefer situations out-of-the-ordinary.

Q: You are so attuned to the world, I am curious to know how this last year’s political/economic events affected you.

A: I was enraged, or to put it better, appalled at witnessing how human lives have become second in the decision-making process. My vision is that of a win-win scenario and nothing I have noticed would come close to this scenario. The social media in the hands of people will change all this. I imagine a world that is leaderless where the people have hands-on approaches to working together in many close knit communities linked by the internet. What is happening is that the spirit is strong now, lots of love emerging as in the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street.

Q: How about art? What do you see as its future amidst all the turmoil?

A: Art will be reborn, no longer tied to currency values. New economy models will be born like Phoenix rising. With all the population resources we have, we are bound to have this better world. Art will not only reflect this, but my art will reflect my reach. Art is what we are.

Charles Wildbank’s website is: www.wildbankfineart.com

More from Our Sister Sites