Featured Artist: Ron Burkhardt Explains Notism

Jun 8, 2018 7:01PM

AD ART SHOW artist Ron Burkhardt gives us some insight into his artistic process and celebrates his art with "Burkhardt Art Over Cocktails," a VIP Reception in the Ascent Lounge of the Time Warner Center.

AD ART SHOW artist Ron Burkhardt speaks about his work at "Burkhardt Art Over Cocktails." Photo credit: Serena Imam

Can you explain the Notism movement and how it came to fruition?

The Notism movement grew out of my incessant multi-tasking note-taking since I was in college, which intensified as my advertising career evolved. It was a hieroglyphic-scrawl type of system for keeping track of everything going on in my life and business, as well as a de facto weekly journal of life's memory fragments. As I finished a task, I would cross it off and by the time the paper was finished, it would look like a radical sea of scribbles and intersecting lines, shapes and forms. I dubbed it Notism ("art of the note") in the late 90's and it has grown in popularity ever since.

How does the Notism movement relate to your artistic style as a whole? How does it inform your artistic process?

Most everything I do is grounded in Notism-the semiotics and symbolism intersect with all forms of conceptual art and colors. Over the years, it has evolved from very raw and primal to very precise color fields-these are the recent LetterScape works that represent words by forming abstract color fields.

The only form of my art not related to letters and words is my Earth Art, canvases which have my innately similar rhythmic paint and design flow. (Earth Art canvases are created outdoors using unprimed canvases which I soak in water, cover with soil before flinging acrylic and enamel paint on to it, then baking in the sun. Ultimately with Earth Art, nature does the painting and textures, though I guide the design process.)

Ron Burkhardt and guests at "Burkhardt Art Over Cocktails" at Ascent Lounge, NYC. Photo credit: Serena Imam

Do you see a relationship between Notism and your professional work in advertising?

Yes there was a very strong relationship since Notism really evolved out of everything I was doing to keep pace with the frantic world of branding and ad-making. The new LetterScape designs are also reminiscent of high-end advertising logos and many companies have commissioned their company name and then used the art as a boldly-colored addition to their corporate brand identity.

What work, other than your own, defines Notism for you?

I see the presence of Notism retroactively in the work of Basquiat, Warhol and Lawrence Weiner, all of whom often relied on language and words to express meaning and contrast. Today I would characterize Barbara Kruger, Ed Ruscha, Peter Beard, Bruce Nauman and Mel Bochner as modern day practitioners of the art of Notism.

ALI by Ron Burkhardt. Prints are currently available for purchase. Please contact MvVO ART for more information.

Can you give the background for your ALI piece?

The Muhammad Ali piece was originally created in 2005 to honor his career and iconic language. It was presented to him in Louisville, KY, during the week of the Kentucky Derby in 2006. Phyllis George was a close friend of the family and arranged private meetings with him at his hotel and at the Ali Center in Louisville. As we sat together, he pointed to many of his own quotes and asked me to read them aloud, which was quite surreal. He was a man of huge stature with gentle grace, charm and class.

What's hanging on YOUR wall?

In my homes I have several of the modern LetterScapes (LAKE, ROMANCE, KEYS and ROME) as well as the raw organic Earth Art paintings (WATERFALLS, PARALLEL UNIVERSE, TERRA ABSTRACTA, LANGUID LAGOONS, CONFLICT RESOLUTION) and the large Notism work"THE GREENING OF AMERICA." I also have a brilliant wall sculpture of a woman climbing the wall by clinging to picture wire by the Colombian artist Anzicar Marin. In my prior homes in NYC and the Hamptons, I had signed lithographs by Picasso, Warhol and Matisse.

Ron Burkhardt. Photo credit: Serena Imam