12. Bryant Locher. 'Remmnants of An American Spirit '.24 x 32. 2014
I am a classically trained painter with a degree in studio art; the focus of my degree was oil painting, while in school the more I learned the more I began to forgo the need to paint subjectively, instead I focused on the ideas of color theory and composition. As I developed as an artist and expanded the range of what I do those concepts have continued to be an underlying theme in my work.
After earning a degree studying painting I began my formal art education by focusing on ceramics. In studying ceramics I was exposed to the idea that a piece of artwork is a three dimensional object and that methods or the use of skill sets is often the most important part of the creative process. I incorporate these ideas into everything I do in the studio. I treat styles or mediums as a means to an end, not as boundaries to the work. I’ve studied or taught myself as many ways to do things as possible; so that I do not limit myself creatively. I have expanded my skill sets to include the use of anything necessary. In my studio I have anything from a mat cutting knives to table saws, small detail brushes to power sprayers, individual L.E.D lights to five hundred watt light bulbs and plug adaptors to light sequencers; all of them are means to an end and I’ mix methods and mediums to reach an end .I’ve had professionals in specific medium wince at how accomplish or tackle visual challenges and compliment me on the end result. A good example is the work I do for the band Solid Gold; I started working with them on smaller stages for smaller audiences, as they have gotten more popular and moved to bigger stages I have had to expand my skills with lighting and how to control them in order to keep up with their growth in order grow with scale of the job. Material costs, as well as access to the required tools often hoid me back, but the use of metal tubing and welding at the top of my list of new skills helps to learn and find work a rounds project by project.
While I mainly display my work in a more traditionally art based environment I consider myself a product designer as well as an artist. My creative process progresses through a series of organized stages- conceptualization, preparation and execution. In almost every instance I have either a physical or mental picture of the end result before I begin. I’ll use drawings, computer layouts or and imagination to get these pictures. In the preparation stage I start with figuring out what materials will be needed and once that is figured out what methods can be utilized to reach the end result: If needed, I will adapt the concept around limitations posed by the materials. The final stage of execution is just that, I am simply following a plan and making any small changes needed. I like to know where I’m going before I take the first step. Sometimes things run smoothly, other times changes need to be made along the line so the end product can be as close to the concept as possible.
Very early in my education of ceramics I learned about the idea of form vs. function, I took this concept to heart and it is never far from my mind as I move from project to project. Today aesthetics and functionality have become more and more integrated and I feel that the new contrast, which needs to be on an artist’s mind, is the relation of art vs. product. People aren’t going to a museum or galleries to experience and see art on the wall, but they will hang go home and install design works, such as clocks designed by artists on the walls of their home. When I create works with light or paintings I am making functional art that could be turned into product through reproduction and an increase in availability. The art in designed objects lies in the conceptualization and construction; the end result is simply a product of those endeavors regardless of esthetics. It is for that reason I consider myself a designer as well as an artist, I develop ideas and the way to make the piece. Most of my work I make could simply created through a construction process or be mass produced without feeling like I’ve lost control of the process.
As places for an artist to display their work in a traditional manner become more and more limited, artists are being forced to find new ways to expose work to an audience. Mass production of designed items and the incorporation of those products into the every day life of a consumer is a way for artists to create awareness of their work and to develop some manner of income from those works. The traditional model of an artist living off the selling of individual pieces will never fade and will not stop being the ideal situation for an artist; however the old ideas of embracing an anti-commercialist stance have become outdated. A modern artist needs to embrace the commercial potential of a work of art if they want to be truly successful. As form and function are melding into each other and people are more and more interested in putting designed items in their homes, the gift shop has become one of the most interesting parts of a museum. For a long time it was the role of the artist to create objects of beauty and the role of the designer to create practical objects; over the course of the last century the line between artist and designer has become increasingly blurred, it is my goal to work within that blurred realm.
Bryant Locher: 2014