Thursday, February 21, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Eric Hazeltine

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Eric's painting "Composition 17" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Eric's DPW Gallery Page:

Eric Hazeltine received his Bachelor's degree in Fine Art from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater in 2016. He is currently pursuing his Master's of Fine Art degree and teaching design at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Since a young age, Eric Hazeltine has had an affinity for drawing and painting and could always be spotted with his sketchbook and pencils. Currently, art could be considered his obsession. Working from life has become his passion in recent years which led him to start painting daily still lifes. In his free time he is always reading, researching and experimenting with new ideas in the processes of creating art to further his talents and aid in his studies. (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I first started painting when I was about sixteen years old. All through my childhood, I was obsessed with drawing so my mother bought me an oil paint set and some canvas knowing it would be something I’d enjoy doing. I eventually took an independent study class in painting as a senior in high school that gave me the basics and the rest is history.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I’ve had plenty. Long story short, after receiving my associate degree in Arts and Science I was working in the realm of engineering while continuing my schooling in Fine Art at the same time. Throughout this period there were big chunks of time that I wasn’t drawing or painting at all, but after graduating with my bachelor’s degree in Fine Art a couple years ago I decided to make the leap and leave my job of seven years to pursue my master’s degree in Fine Art. Most of my time is now devoted to either teaching/learning/reading about art or simply doing it and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Composition 17
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Eric's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

My work has always consisted of trying out different materials and is a major interest of mine. I’ve done papermaking, woodwork, metalwork, sculpture, etc. Basically, anything I can get my hands on becomes a piece of my work outside of my oil paintings. I’m also pretty open with genres as well and have experimented with too many to list. I’ve had years where I worked strictly non-representationally and long periods of time when I was strictly doing portraiture and figurative work.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

Medium-wise, I always find myself going back to charcoal on paper and oil painting on board. Genres are a little trickier, but I really enjoy working with still lifes, portraiture, or working from the figure. I work almost exclusively from life. If I’m ever working from a photo it’s likely there are major constraints keeping me from working from life or it’s a commission piece that’s based on a photo.

Composition 14
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

There’s nothing in particular that I’m looking to explore at the moment except maybe digging deeper into portraiture. I’ve found this is a harder genre to hold on to since I have such a preference for working from life and strive for realism in my work. It’s not very often I can find someone willing to sit for more than four or five hours at a time.

Who or what inspires you most?

A lot of my current and past teachers are the most inspiring because of their experience in the arts and their amazing work ethic when juggling teaching and their professional art practice week in and week out. It really pushes me to work on becoming a better artist every single day and sets a standard for me that I can only hope to attain.

Composition 20
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

My procrastination involves cleaning/organizing or building things to help me paint or other artwork. I’m a very meticulous artist when it comes to cleanliness so usually that doesn’t deter me too often since it stays pretty clean and organized in my studio. I’m a huge fan of building and creating things though, so sometimes I put off painting so I can build some cradled painting panels and frames for my work despite not needing them immediately.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I’m definitely more productive in the morning so I try to wake up early and get to my studio as soon as possible. This usually gives me a couple hours if I get right to work. You’d think that since I’m in grad school for fine art that most of my time would be spent doing art but that’s not the case most days. Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time doing research, writing, and teaching a design class at the University of Wisconsin instead of spending time in my studio.

Composition 24
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I’m really interested in colors and the conceptual ideas behind objects. I tend to appreciate things that will change and degrade over time. Knowing that they will never look the same throughout their lifespan really intrigues me. With food products, this idea of degradation is emphasized because their lifespan is a lot shorter than other things I could be painting. I think this is why I tend to include them in my daily paintings so often. I know they won’t last longer than a few days, so I need to finish the painting within one or two sittings, which also helps me to be productive as well.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

I jump back from realism/abstraction and painting/drawing a lot. This keeps me thinking of new ideas and possibilities of merging them all into one and having this constant stream of things I want to try. Along the same lines as this, my constant need to read and learn new or better techniques always brings me back to the easel to try them for myself. This borderline obsession of learning has given me an ample amount of skills that always seems to be of use even if it seems irrelevant to the work I’m currently doing at that moment.

Composition 27
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

It’s probably because I’m currently in grad school, but I think the conceptual framework for my paintings is in the forefront of what I’m in the middle of learning and figuring out. I’ve been reading a lot about the history of still life painting and have become interested in seeing where that will lead me in my own work.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The process of creation. As long as I’m drawing, painting, or working on some type of artwork, then I’m happy. I can spend 10+ hours just painting or drawing somedays and those are the days I live for, honestly.

Thanks, Eric!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

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