Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Musings from Seth Apter, Mixed Media Artist...

I have often been asked to describe my artistic style – something that I have a challenging time doing. In thinking about this question, I typically look for commonalities in my work, regardless of the medium. In doing so, I have noted that I favor certain color palettes, aim to create surface texture, often utilize text as both a design element and method of communicating my message, and integrate found objects into many of my pieces. But, the aspect of my work that truly stands out to me as a defining characteristic is my love of layers. While this does not necessarily differentiate my work from others, as many people use layering in their art, it may just be the most important aspect to my creativity.

I love layering. Paint. Paper. Objects. Anything really. Part of it is the look that is created when layer after layer is applied to a surface. There is a depth that is developed that just cannot be made any other way. As a new layer is added, it is both informed by and brings changes to the previous and future layers. Even the earliest layers that cannot be seen help determine the look of the finished surface.

Layers are about adding and subtracting. Covering and revealing. The artist’s hand is evident in every choice. Two artists, layering the same two colors of paint or paper, will create completely different pieces. Two hundred artists will do the same – and by the same, I mean different!

Layers create history. They add a sense of time passing and a feeling of experience. In this way, they echo our lives. And this may be the most salient reason why I love to layer. Layers in my work are symbolic of the layers of my life. You can look at a picture of me and see the surface but there is a lot underneath that you do not see. It is those layers that really define and determine who I am. In this case, it truly is a case of art imitates life.

In my upcoming workshops at Pacific Northwest Art School, my love of layers will be shared with all attendees. Both the literal and symbolic aspects of layers are highlighted in both my own workshop, Cover to Cover, as well as my collaborative workshop with Orly Avineri, If Walls Could Talk. I hope you will consider joining me there.

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