Nyle Major

Born 1983, New Zealand
Lives in: Auckland, New Zealand
Describe your art in 3 words: Traditional. Time. Timeless.

Repulse - Oil on canvas 50 x 100 cm

"Realism is charming when it borrows a gleam of poetry from the imagination." - Sigfried Nettement quoting William Bouguereau, 1906

What themes does your work involve?
Classical realism is a driving force behind this painting. Coupled with a contemporary framework, the work is drawn from traditional inspiration & methods to replicate and expand on the 19th century French art movements, while using a theme familiar to traditional art.
Describe your creative process.
As with any new work, it spawns as an idea or concept, sometimes you can visualize an end product, sometimes you can't. A developmental process follows where composition and colour palette are worked out which goes a long way to illustrate what is expected in the final art work.These are usually conceived and created as a series of works, as I think it is important that they read well together and bounce off each other when being exhibited together. Therefore, there are usually elements present in these paintings which flow with other paintings in the same series. The paintings go through an underpainting process followed by a second pass. This is usually where a painting is complete, though extra work often goes into finishing it off to a high standard.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Art is always something that has made sense to me. It just helps that a little technical aptitude has been learned to make it a strength. I'm inspired by the greats who came before us and the desire to replicate the harmony their paintings have. Artists such as William Bouguereau, Alma Tadema, and Gotfried Lindeaur. Being able to make art is a huge joy that has come from years of perseverance, and my art practice is now reaching a point where the work I have completed inspires the next one on its own merits.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Asking what good art is can be a touchy subject, as it is ultimately subjective.. The definition of art has morphed and changed so much in the last one hundred years. I have always believed that art requires time and skill in order be called 'art'. The end result needs to be able to provoke a reaction in the viewer- for better or worse, and whatever the idea is in the artwork that the artist is trying to convey- needs to be seen and understood by as many viewers as possible.
What is the role of the artist today?
The role of the artist hasn't changed in essence. It is to communicate an idea through (in this case), a visual means. How art is seen by others is where contemporary society has changed what an artist creates. As mentioned, I believe art requires a level of talent that sets them apart from everyone else, but the modern definition of art is a lot broader now than in the past. Therefore while art is to still communicate ideas & provoke reactions, contemporary art has diluted the intensity of those ideas, therefore making the art of the past more revered and inspiring.


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist