Jamesport-based artist Charles Wildbank is known for his masterful photorealist paintings, which are always a joy to see on the cover of Dan’s Papers. Here, he discusses this week’s holiday-inspired cover, his varied photorealistic works and more.
What is the name of this whimsical piece, and what inspired it?
This one is one of my earliest works and it is called “Candysticks.” I have always inspired by the youth of today. They seem to get more vibrant, electric and intelligent each year. They are diverse and these colorful candysticks demonstrate that diversity in color around us.
Tell us about the creation process of this piece, set up, materials, colors chosen, etc.?
I work with acrylic paints for the most part as they dry quickly enough for me to paint another layer of color or tint. Usually I begin with taking photographs of an idea I wish to project then do some digital editing in Photoshop until satisfied with its forms and colors. I also keep the paintbrushes wet if the paint should dry too quickly. I enjoy filling rooms with color and it is usually the color in my environment that would trigger the desire to paint such.
How would you describe your brand of photorealism, and how did you develop it?
Sometimes I alternate between tight or loose photorealism. At times I prefer less detail and not letting detail be the objective of my work. It is enough for me to capture the essence of the subject I am painting. An example of tight photorealism would be painting a city skyline and including every window on every floor, or painting a classic automobile with all its chrome. I can get impatient in getting the creation done while the excitement lasts. However, I am afraid my recent painting has gotten me engrossed in detail again. In this case, a set of light grid lines are drawn on the canvas to correspond with the photograph as seen on my laptop, also covered in grid lines. This time the painting is a 14th century Flemish type of floral still life, ”Grand Florale: 2020,” which I will release shortly at a private party inside a large manor house in Mill Neck, Long Island for Christmas. I expect to be sharing it in the social media very soon. This is what I find exciting about the coming 2021 holiday season and I make it so. It is mainly because of its monumental size, 12 foot high canvas and anachronistic in nature, being more 2020 than 14th century. That painting happened to take me 5 months to execute. After New Year’s celebration, the public will get a chance to view this giant inside my studio in Jamesport by appointment.
What artistic accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’ve had those Cloud Nine moments in my art career. One event was at the Barrett Jackson Classic Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. One banker walked in and wrote one check for my entire booth display of paintings of Rolls Royces, Bentleys, etc.. That cross country drive with trailer in tow for this to happen turned out to be more than worth the effort for me. I was super elated! Another proud moment was having completed a pair of large murals 4 meters tall to be hung on board the Queen Mary 2 ocean liner. They were American and British coastal scenes and anyone can view them on board anytime a cruise is booked. They are located on deck three in aft of the ship by the elevators. Will there be another commission to match or surpass this? I hope so!
What do you find most rewarding about being an artist?
There is everything gratifying about the creative process and its outcome! With as little amount of materials, one can transmute and stretch their influence across space and almost beyond imagine. My lifestyle takes on a more organized direction giving me a rudder and billowing sails along with its surprises at times. Speaking of sails, I enjoy capturing on canvas the majestic waves of the sea, with their rhythmic and graceful motion and emotion! As an artist, I get to participate in nature activity often to my delight.
Where can your work be seen in the coming weeks, both online and up close?
I’ll be releasing some new works by summer of 2022, taking color on a higher amplitude making dreams become real or let’s say, “photoreal,” perhaps stretching photography beyond its usual comfort zone. There is more to life than appearances that I enjoy reveling in realms of the artistic imagination and put on canvas. I will be welcoming visitors to my studio year round. I have both Instagram and Facebook pages in my name and my website is wildbankfineart.com.