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Beauty, harmony, peace. All things we seek but seldom get a firm grasp on. Surrounded by visual imagery of the antithesis of these concepts, I feel compelled to provide my fellow humans with some respite.
I've always been interested in the concept of balance, and its relation to the human condition. Balance implies juxtapositions, and I seek in my work to offer up those juxtapositions to viewers, to stimulate and set free their own inner creative processes. I choose to work in a non-representational style that offers a freedom from the familiar and, at the same time, a similarity to that familiar that can provide new insights into one's own condition.
I take my primary inspirations from elements of nature and from life's experiences. My work usually contains references to both these natural elements and to manmade or industrial components, and juxtaposes, combines, and interweaves these in ways that will stimulate curiosity, thought and insight. There is a strong spiritual and emotional influence in my work, as I find the creative process a transcendant and meditational experience.
We are the animal that is most concerned with tools and toys, making things to support our existence, our survival, our pleasure. I find working with tools to convey concepts, an interesting and stimulating experience. It offers me excitement and inspiration as I work in the crackling edge of creation where tools and concepts meet. In the end, my work itself, in both a physical and conceptual sense, becomes someone else's tool or toy.
I work with a wide variety of tools and media. I love working with oil paint because of its high-tactile qualities and for it's ability to allow me to totally immerse myself in the act of creation. I use a wide selection of brushes, palette knives, rags and other "tools" like masking tape and frisket. I take great pride in building my own stretchers, stretching the canvas and carefully preparing the gesso surface, building and sanding it to achieve the desired surface texture. I also work with digital tools in producing original ultrachrome paintings. I have been producing art on the computer since 1984, and have come to appreciate these tools for what they are, just other tools. As I carefully select certain brushes and palette knives when working with oil, I carefully select digital tools, processes and reproduction substrates for their unique characteristics that allow me to express my style.
Inherent in any tool, medium and substrate are certain characteristics that lend possibilities for new creative surprises, and therein lies another facet of creation which continues to draw me deeper. Pushing tools and materials beyond their limits brings out their unique contributions to the creative process.
I love the way things look, feel and work, and am addicted to the dance of form and function. My work combines natural elements and man-made structures to create tensions and unions that are meant to elicit involvement and evoke creative thought. I am expanding into new areas of expression including sculpture and the design of surface treatments in carpeting, furniture and fabrics.
Other artists whose lives have inspired me include Miles Davis, Max Ernst, and my dear friend and role model, northwest school artist, Bill Cumming.
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© 2003 john hansen design