Brian Truesdale's development as an abstract artist is genuinely portrayed in this month's Mind of the Artist. Brian opens up about his technique, process, and animalistic need to create- giving additional context to his paintings (even though they may speak for themselves) and allowing us as an audience, a glimpse into the root of all that passion! Please enjoy, as much we have, getting to know Capitol Hill Art League's Artist of the Month: Brian Truesdale!
I first became aware of abstract art as a teenager. Going through art history books in my high school art classes, the images I saw were bold, frightening, and held no context or explanation. It was so evocative, like reading poetry or passing by an abandoned house in the snow. I was mesmerized. Admittedly, my first attempts at abstract painting were terrible, but my curiosity about art as pure experience continued to fascinate me. At a crucial point in my life, I had the opportunity to take an open studio abstract art class. I also had the good fortune to get to know several wonderful artists who introduced me to the mysterious language of abstract art.
I suppose like many abstract artists, I build up layers of paint in order to have abundant opportunities to find a key to the piece’s resolution. The primary melody with which I can build the song. My paintings are a continuous search to find the meaning from the noise and texture that is built up in layers of under-painting - finding and developing the focal point, like a beacon in the chaotic noise of life. Many times, these attempts can lead me down a blind alley, meaning that the painting could be complete but not interesting to me. That’s when I have to risk its destruction by adding a new color, making a mess, and starting again. My process requires periods of study and reflection, and, periods of intense application. I believe in balancing outbursts of spontaneity, which bring the painting alive, with deliberate refinements that bring meaning to the mess. It’s what the abstract artist sees in these layers that defines their language.
There was a time I felt as if my art, my abstract language, was clawing at my insides, desperately trying to get out. There was a constant sense of urgency, as if I was seeking to find the painting that would soothe that beast inside me. I’ve realized that all the layers of paint I would build up were walls to keep my fear and anxiety at bay. Trying to make concessions to this fear only made the feelings more hostile.
I’ve gradually begun to see that the anxiety and fear I felt were about being alive, and that art should be an expression of that life, not an attempt to insulate yourself from the world. I don’t regret going through those initial years of intense practice, but I feel that my art is now more about kicking the rocks over on my life’s path, and seeing what is underneath. At the very least, I like to think that I’m getting to that point! I hope that in time my work takes me back to that feeling of pure sensation and discovery. The feeling of being a child.
Regardless of where I am in my artistic journey, it will always about the feeling or emotional response you get from looking at the paintings. I want people to feel they are walking into the paintings and becoming immersed in them. I hope people will let my paintings reach out to them. So much in this life is so distant and disconnected that, if a painting is compelling, if it can elicit a visceral response in a viewer, then it has succeeded.
If you wish to see more of my work, I am a member of Be Dot Gallery, along with several other fabulous artists. The main URL is http://bedotgallery.com , but my profile can be found at http://bedotgallery.com/brian-truesdale/ . I am also on Instagram @brainstrueart. After living in the DC area for about a year, I’m heading back to Frederick, MD. Look out for a possible solo exhibit at 505 North in Frederick in October!
Questions about my work or bio? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.