I like Burt Reynolds as much as the next man, his performances in Smokey and the Bandit and The Cannonball Run set a standard for leading men (and moustaches) that have lasted nearly 40 years, but for me that is where it ends.
New York and Boston based artist Scott Chasse on the other hand LIKES Burt Reynolds, and has produced a whole series of art in homage to him. As part of our Art Month 2011 we spoke to Scott about being an artist and about The Man, the Myth and the Moustache.
How long have you been making art?
I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a kid…but I’ve been a “working artist” for six or seven years now.
Did you study Art?
I have no formal art education. I went to school for Audio Production in my mid-twenties and was focused on music and sound engineering for many years. When I realized I wasn’t getting everything I wanted out of those things, I shifted the bulk of my energy and efforts toward visual art.
How long does it take you to do a picture?
The time it takes me to get from initial concept to finished piece can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, and occasionally as long as a month or two… It really depends on the project I’m working on, the available time I have to be in the studio, and probably a good bit of luck.
What techniques do you use to make your pictures?
My current paintings are the result of a combination of image researching, computer rendering, drawing, and hand-painting. A good portion of the time I spend making a piece of artwork is on the computer. I sift through photos, digitally disassemble and manipulate them, and deal with the composition of a finished piece before I take out the paint brushes.
Is there a name or ‘term’ for your style of art?
I’ve had people point out several different styles that my paintings seem to reference: Pointillism (I often use “dots” of paint to create an image), Pop Art, Graphic Design… but I like to just call it “painting”.
What advice do you have for artists trying to make a living from their work?
I guess you just have to be realistic about things… Relatively speaking, very few people seem to actually “make a living” solely from their artwork. I think the trick is to find a balance between the “day job” and making art. It seems like a lot of artists I know (myself included) have combined the two by working as designers, freelancing, or doing some other paid work that involves use of their creative skills and keeps them active and associated with the art world.
Why you have done so many Burt Reynolds pics?
Initially, the idea of creating an entire body of work based on portraits of Burt Reynolds just seemed like something funny and potentially interesting to do. As I thought about it more, I began to realize the concept could (hopefully) get people to wonder why these paintings were being painted in the first place, prompting an engagement with the work. That is the challenge, to get people to not only look at, but to think about and react to the work.
If someone scratches their head and wonders “Why is this guy painting all of these Burt Reynolds paintings?” I consider that a success.