INTERVIEW WITH ERIC J CHAPMAN

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By khuantru | Published November 3, 2011

Q1: Let’s start with the common question, if you can kindly introduce yourself.

My name is Eric J Chapman, I’m an oil painter and a devout advocate of realism.

Q2: How did you get into the field of your work?

I first picked up a pencil at age 2 and art has since been the passion of my life. Over the years I determined that there really isn’t anything else I’d rather do than painting. Every commission that I have done thus far has been by word of mouth.

Q3: Do you have any current favourite artists, comic artists, photographers who may have influenced you to become the artist that you are?

In my teenage years I was a comic book fanatic on one hand and a realist on the other. In this period I was heavily influenced by Jim Lee (especially when inked by Scott Williams). I still love his work, but stopped collecting comics when he went on sabbatical in the mid 90’s. From that point I completely pursued realism and at 18 I discovered the late Chilean master Claudio Bravo. In my opinion, there is no current artist that compares to him. His work resonates with me in a way that can’t be explained. I’ve collected a considerable amount of literature on him and have gone so far as to personally contact Chilean director Hugo Arevalo in order to obtain a very rare documentary on Mr Bravo.

Q4: What are the main tools of your trade?

I love my Renaissance crank easel, I use Escoda, Isabey and W & N Monarch brushes. I prefer Old Holland stretched canvas, but am willing to paint on near anything that can take oil paint.

Q5: How was it for you to learn the process of that? Did you teach yourself, take classes or learn from other existing artist’s tutorial?

I am, for the most part, self-taught. I never pursued any education outside of high school. Mostly I find myself learning through observation, books and the occasional instructional DVD. Ultimately, practice has been my greatest teacher as well as trying to decipher how a painting was executed by analyzing the original.

Q6: Do you think its possible for you to describe the process of your art style, what are the dos and don’ts, the important aspects you set yourself to achieve your style of design?

My process and style begins in the mind and eye; art is a mental process. Much like fluency in any given language requires the capacity to think in that language, art is the same. For me, I grew up with virtually no artistic influence and that enabled me to process art in the way I saw it. My mind would process reality “as if it were painted” and that would be the style I would seek for. We each are individuals with our own personalities, we each have a vision that we can rely on to express ourselves. This is my advice to anyone seeking to create their own style: delete all the outside influences, ignore markets and paint as if you’ve never seen anyone else’s work.

Q7: What are the biggest struggles you encounter as an artist?

I believe that finding a compelling subject matter is most daunting.

Q8: Do you have any other future plans that don’t involve creative art?

Not really. Art dominates what I do and what I wish to pursue. I am also a musician, an avid guitarist and I like to spend time modifying instruments, distressing them and building my own. I’m not a luthier by any means, but wish to make guitar building and composing music a part of what I do in addition to painting.

Q9: Do you have any personal mottos, quotes or existing quotes that motivates you to do what you love doing? Can you share it with us or provide words of wisdom from your experiences for those who look up to you?

I once read that Norman Rockwell, if I recall correctly, had “100%” written on his easel. This was a reminder to him to give 100% to each piece he did. Personally, I’ve adopted this practice and have done the same. Over the years I’ve learned that 90% or even 99% is not enough, I have to devote 100% for anything to get done at all. That’s the way I am. I can be a procrastinating and complacent guy, if I’m not fully passionate about something, then the results will suffer. I’ve been in situations where it was requested of me to paint in a different style or genre and I can honestly say that not only does that not feel like painting, but it drains all passion and drive. Do what you love and do it to the fullest extent.

Q10: What do you think the future will hold for all artists from all backgrounds from now?

I believe that there are some real shifts currently occurring in the art world. While the recession is taking a dramatic toll on artists, the internet is also providing the means for many to market themselves to larger audiences. Those artists that are innovative will prevail.

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