Various signets of life as an artist while in Arizona and living in Tempe and Phoenix during the years 1986-96
I was always a worker, an artistic worker. Even a night didnt pass when something was not created. Maybe it didnt sell, but doing...doing anything is twice the job. When I began being...an artist...I made a bargain. Every day a line....
And this part of the bargain was kept.
It just had to be the logo at the Art Students League of New York, as remembered... during my study there.
The key word is practice.
Along with my painting, music as a hobby...but it did mean something to me, but moreover art, every page and every design. There were 1000's before I left New York and even more now.
Unfortunately I couldnt keep all the sketches of figures I had done from class but those were mere George Bridgeman exercises, or experiments in how to record light and shade...even for the most part, on one level...abstractly. ( I could never sell those...for we live in the most conservative environment...and they sat there in portfolios until I had to move.)
But the artwork..and paintings, this was my drive and passion.
I collected volumes of books on the subject until my library took up all the closets! I even had the drawing and painting reference books from the Paris Academy from 1849...they were well worn then.
And then the books on modernism!
Kandinsky, Klee, Schiele, Kokoshka, Roualt...just to name a few.
I knew Roualt was a Rosacrucian. Being a fan of his work I tried to discover his secrets, and there were many, too many.
That Kandinsky was a mathmatician...we knew this, but what elements effected his work? Was it music? Was it mathematics?
The works of Wolfgang Von Goethe! Just to get me started! I loved his Color Theroy from day one...and knew the Color Theroy (2) that was never published from the Goethe Archives in Germany!
Little would one think that one day that I would have owned one of the original Farbeslernen in German with hand-colored plates! (That was in Prague years later)
I was never the cactus artist, or the warm desert climate painter. I had tensions in the desert, and I did like greenery. Arizona was for a time I figured. Much was beautiful. I liked Sedona and travelled up to the red rocks some 25 times during my residency in Arizona
and exhibited at venues when I could. But it was never the aspect of art selling that drove the spirit within. Somehow that seemed like prostitution..."Art for Sale"...here!
You could never sell your soul,
how could you ever sell art! An artist makes art..it is in reference to something more sacred, and part of higher and more obvious spiritual inclinations. (As referenced in history for more than 4oo years!) An artist does art for more than money, he always has, just a the musician practices for more than the gold bag at the end of a performance...something intellectual about it, something driving, soul slung and heart felt!
But...I was slowly viewing a world that was giving up its spirituality, this was obvious. Less and less art, more and more markets...left-right and center. Many of these productions were not about art but art sales, like auto sales, clothing production, fashion liasons to be called "art" but losing one key element...mass production.
Still this was nothing that I should concern myself with as I was still an apt pupil of great wants in discovery and a keener sense of what art was, being decerning.
I did projects for far away places.
There was still that entry at the Whitney or another show in which I wanted to participate. There was still that element of experiment that I wanted to do...attain skill at, and divide and conquer objectives in which "past art" would slowly fade from my perspective and a new and untested art form would slowly glide under my fingertips.
I did the academic art. It was a stable..light, shade and shadow. I could do this and it was so simple that boredom with this subject became overwhelming. Not that some artists couldnt do this for their entire lives, and some did this magnificently...are true masters! But not me. There was much more unexplained territory that was not being used as well as techniques and materials. This is what the artists curiosity is all about! Or is it?
I did plein-air up in the Canyonlands and painted every formation of every rock face in existence as well as long stretches of desert sands of the painted desert. Competition after competition I entered, and soon a packet of 3 inches of paper was the result..seen here, or shown here. I received little signets of awards and congratulations from purchasers of my work, mostly of the academic variety during this time.
During the years 1986-88 I began to experiment with variations of works that came before...lesser detail...and larger patterns of brushwork. I looked at the expressionists and closely read what books seemed appropriate to this method of purveyance..
To Express the lively contour and immediate sequence of emotions of texture, plane and contrast as well as color.
I travelled to New Zealand and Austrailia over the summer of 1987 and found new elements to add to my work. I took in some of the ideas of the Shaman as well as studied the various forms and ideas that they were utilizing...almost gone was the pictorial subject in these instances, concentrating on the magic of form and the liquidity of texture, space and form. Imagination took another leap to the context of my work, especially when I visited aboriginal camps in northern Australia where I saw the aboriginies working. I went to Mossman, Cairns and far up to Cape York by DC-3 as well as back again struggling the outback along route, camping as I went along and exhibiting where I may. I did close to 100 works on this leg of the adventure...mostly small panels that were plein-air in nature and were enlarged to bigger proportions in the studio when I returned to Arizona.
The next year 1988, I was invited back for showings in New Zealand. A large exhibition was prepared for Christchurch New Zealand that included many plein-air works done on site in the outback and familiar areas.
A television ready documentary was made of my New Zealand venue and exhibit, thanks to generous sponsors.
New Zealand: Vision of American Artist Richard Ozanne saw hundreds of airings on independant television from the years 1989 until 200(?). It was formatted in VHS, Beta, (NTSC-Secam-PAL) Later CD-R, DVD and the latest edition in HD.
The work was rather conventional for those days and I look back at this artwork that I did with some measure of innocence...that it was pleasing to the eye.
Art...what an experience!