Pete Nawara

As an artist, I often find myself reading artist’s statements of various kinds. Time and again, these writings consist of endless babble about what the artist thinks the viewer is interested in knowing about the work. Usually, the artist is completely wrong about what things the viewer is interested in knowing about the work. I do not claim to be any different. In my original writings for this document, I will admit that I did my fair share of babbling, mostly about my concerns of the art world, i.e. Conceptual Art.

I have found myself in too many museums, completely bewildered by what artists are trying to say, and most of the time, completely disgusted by what they are getting away with. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware of the important impact conceptual art had on art history, but the statements people are making today are commonly irrelevant to society, or if they do hold any significance, it is completely lost on the general public. This isn’t even the worse part. Usually, it doesn’t even look good.

I strive to make objects that are aesthetically pleasing. The use of photography, computer software, and projection, gives the work a contemporary feel, while thinned out acrylic paint and gouache markers keeps with the tradition of paint on canvas. The flattened areas of vibrant color and larger than life portraits relate to the era of pop art, while still maintaining a relationship with the advancing technology of computer art. Exhibiting the use of, what I like to call, analog vector graphics, the pieces are assembled with a certain disregard for the realism of the original photographic portrait.

The physical process starts with the camera. A subject is chosen and asked to pose. The camera is set on a tripod and the subject is asked to pretend the camera is a mirror, and that they are checking themselves out. Several photos are taken and then transferred into the computer for digital modifications. The photos are then touched up and arranged in a composition. Then, using vector tools, they are traced into shapes of color. Once they have been ‘vectorized’, they are printed in greyscale. The printed piece is then projected onto canvas and the piece is traced loosely. The shapes are then filled in with acrylic paint thinned with water, and gouache markers. Lastly, gold leaf is applied.

The end result is a visual object that uses color and texture to entice the viewer’s eye. The conceptual ideas behind the work are for the observer to interpret on their own, or to not interpret at all. The idea is that the pieces are aesthetic, and whether you like them or not, they have an immediate presence. They are not difficult to comprehend optically or conceptually.