Anyone passing by East Hampton Village Hall is likely to see the village flag flying high just below America’s stars and stripes, but look a little closer and you’ll notice it’s not the same flag as years past. The new seal emblazoned on the bright white banner has replaced the basic crest with familiar East Hampton imagery—Hook Mill, the beach and a seagull overhead. The charming design serves as both a commemoration of the village’s 100th year since incorporation and a shining example of East Hampton artist Scott Bluedorn’s many Hamptons-inspired works.
Commissioned by Village Administrator Becky Molinaro Hansen and Deputy Mayor Barbara Borsack, Bluedorn assembled what he describes as a “composite of drawings”—a collection of separate elements drawn by hand, then colored and arranged digitally for maximum visual appeal and readability. “I really enjoy working with people, bringing their ideas to life and making something that has a specific application, such as this,” Bluedorn says. “It’s one aspect of what I do in art. I really like to make my own work that has personal meaning, but also to work with people for that practical side of art.”
Growing up in the Hamptons, art has always been ingrained in Bluedorn’s life. From his childhood days through his years at East Hampton High School, he pursued his passion for drawing and hoped to someday make a living doing what he loves. The numerous local galleries and successful artists he knew assured him this dream was entirely achievable. In 2004, he made his debut at Guild Hall’s annual Clothesline Art Sale, where he’s shown his work every year since. Two years later, he founded the Neoteric collective and curated his first exhibition, featuring works by young, emerging local artists at East Hampton Studios.
In 2009, Bluedorn graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration, having learned more about why he makes art than about how to make art. “Developing technique isn’t really what they do,” he notes. “It’s more fostering what you already know and turning that into your personal voice.” Post-college, his artistic endeavors flourished tremendously. He opened the Neoteric Fine Art gallery, which showcased emerging artists for several years; had his art featured on labels for Greenport Harbor Brewing Company’s various beers; and displayed his works in numerous exhibitions and residencies across the East Coast.
Inspired by surrealists like Max Ernst and Salvador Dali, Bluedorn’s drawings and paintings present the world through a fantastical lens, often fusing sea creatures with nature and man-made structures. One such example is “Saltbox Stag,” an incredible feat of ink that combines a windmill with a panel-covered deer. “I’ve been drawing things that are reminiscent of this place, in terms of landscapes, and the windmill itself, which is architecturally an important part of [East Hampton] Village’s identity,” he explains. “That’s in a lot of my work—I’m riffing off the architectural style of the area, which is shingle style and all the old colonial building styles.” As a Hamptons surfer, the waves and the beach frequently appear throughout his body of work. “I’d say this place, in particular, has always influenced me in terms of landscape, identity and heritage,” he adds.
Eager to experience art in all its forms, Bluedorn is consistently on the lookout for new techniques to try and mediums to explore, often augmenting and combining processes to create one-of-a-kind pieces. His diverse skill set includes collage, printmaking, found object assemblage, functional installation, photography, woodworking and, as of this month, ceramics. Though he’s not quick to forget his first passion, claiming that drawing will always be his number one. “It’s so basic and fundamental on one level, but also endlessly versatile in terms of expression and what you can do with just a pencil,” he says. “It’s kind of like mapping one’s consciousness, in a way, so that’s what I really like about it—the fact that anyone and everyone can do it and have done it.”
Not just anyone could draw the spectacular “Genesis Flux,” however. The massive 96” x 102” graphite sketch, hanging at the Parrish Art Museum through February 23, offers a glimpse of an unbelievable, yet entirely plausible future known as the Anthropocene. With such a bewildering level of detail and sense of scale, it’s hard to imagine the piece, his largest to date, was birthed from the artist’s stream of consciousness. “Sometimes things evolve organically,” Bluedorn explains. “I didn’t have a plan or idea—I just started drawing one thing, which led to another, which led to another.”
No matter the medium or genre, what matters most to Bluedorn is the act of creation itself. “It’s not just self-expression, it’s really visionary. It’s what I think all people should do, because it helps you create a better world for yourself and for other people.” He continues, “That’s what art is to me—expanding ideas and consciousness, and turning imagination into a tangible thing.”
To see more of Scott Bluedorn’s impressive work, visit scottbluedorn.com.