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Interview with Bo Bartlett JULY 2016

We have a chat with one of America's most exciting realist painters

1. Do you think the art scene has changed in the past few decades and, if so, in what way?
 
"The Art scene"  or "Art World" is and always has been a Hydra-headed monster. It is hard to classify in anything other than simplistic terms. When we use the terms we are usually referring to the art and artists associated with New York City museums, auctions and galleries. There are of course many other "scenes; every city and town has one in greater or lesser degrees. All scenes are forever evolving, some slower or faster than others. Art circles in small towns were once isolated and not as influenced or as influential as they might be now with the accessibility of all Art on the internet. The internet is a great equalizer. It allows for work to be seen that never would have been seen before. A lot of work can look great online but then be a letdown when seen in person. Some work is incredible in reality but doesn't translate well online. So it can give a false perception. But generally it allows artists and collectors to keep up with what's going on inside and outside the standard channels ie. the New York Art World. To be taken seriously an artist must still have New York gallery representation. Some things haven't changed. 

2. What has been the impact of the internet on art, and do you think it has made it easier for artists to be seen, or the opposite?
 
When I was coming along and fresh out of school, I had to schlep my work up to NY with a sheet of slides in-tow in order for a gallery to see my work. Obviously now everyone has the perfunctory website and Instagram feed and it is much easier to have ones work seen. But, the internet has had a profound impact on Art, not just how it is viewed but the content as well. Whether analog or digital, artists create work influenced by and specifically for viewing on social media platforms. Post-Internet Art is work that could only have been correlated after the advent of the internet. It affects style and content. There are many artists working in hybrid styles which are part digital, part actual painting  or part digital collage, part  hand cut or part photography and part digital manipulation. Anything goes.. and that's a good thing. As Duke Ellington said about music, "if it sounds good it is good", the same is true with Art, if it looks good, it is good. 

3. What artist do you most admire?
 
Almost impossible to answer, because I love all Art. Everything inspires me. Robert Henri said,"If you look at any work of Art long enough you will find some worth in it." But, if pressed to be more specific I'd answer Andrew Wyeth. Andy was my mentor, my Artistic Father, and his influence on me in continuous. He taught me "why" to paint. He painted exactly what he wanted to, unfazed by the critics, the reviews or what was popular at the time. This takes great courage; the courage to be oneself. It is a rare thing. 

4. What inspires you?
 
My Wife Betsy Eby inspires me. She is a fearless painter, a virtuoso... and equally gifted on the piano which she has studied and practiced every day diligently her whole life. She inspires me to be a better person. She shows me the rewards of great effort, what it means to be a human being and have aspiration and strive to better, to be ones best self. Everyday is a gift and how we use it effects the world around us. I know I'm lucky to be in her presence and everyday I am inspired and grateful. 

 

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