Brian McClear

Born in: 1963
Lives in: West Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Education: BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design
Describe your art in 3 words: Reminiscent, Approachable, Evocative
See More Work:

Riki - Oil 60 x 40 in.

Brian McClear is a representational artist who loves the interplay between form and texture. Exploring primarily still life and portraiture, Brian's work challenge the viewer to look beyond the surface whether considering everyday object or the people we meet.

What themes does your current work involve?
I am currently working on two concurrent projects—

Discards & Discovery: a series of oil paintings in progress inspired by found objects, paintings where seemingly unrelated objects are paired together to emphasize an unexpected commonality or imply an underlying meaning.

Ink & Oil: a series of portraits that explore people of all ages and walks of life that have chosen tattoos as their form of self-expression. These portraits seek to capture a gesture and mood that provide additional insights into the subject’s personality beyond their art. Simply put, canvases of people who are themselves canvases.

Both projects challenge the viewer to look beyond the surface — whether considering everyday objects or the people they meet.
Describe your creative process.
I love the spark of an idea. I'm exhilarated when I'm blocking in a new painting. I work from small loose thumbnail sketches and enjoy working things out on the canvas itself. I used to spend my days on a computer and my projects were very detail oriented. So, having the luxury to explore, and play with relationships while developing a painting is my favorite part of the process. I keep several canvases going at the same time, usually a portrait and a still life. When something isn't quite working and I'm not sure where to take it, I'll step to the other easel for a while. This keeps things fresh for me, and my time in the studio a gift.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Whether I’m painting a portrait or a still life, I’m fascinated by shape, texture and how things fit together. I’m that person that buys a rusted hinge because of its frozen shape or carries home a stone because of its feel in my hand. My studio is brimming with objects (junk) picked up along the way. And there they sit until something reminds me of an object found days or years before. Something draws a connection between two completely different objects. And when paired, it’s precisely those differences that emphasize a commonality or imply a new meaning.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?
Success at this point in my life, is the freedom to explore my ideas in ways that are meaningful to me. And if I’m fortunate, my work will be shared and become meaningful to others along the way.
How do recent advancements in technology affect your art practice? How may recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (image generator software) affect the definition of fine art?
Advancements in technology have made it easier me to share my work to a broader audience and and to participate in communities that support each other. Regarding AI, for me it comes down to the sincerity of creator of the work. A person that considers, that composes and explores versus a composition generated by algorithms, key word prompts and image scrapes.
What is the role of the artist today?
The role of the artist is to explore a personal, sincere body of work. If so, their work will find the the audience that is calmed, inspired, motivated, enraged by it.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?

What makes good music? Musicianship to be certain, but if that was all there was to it, we’d have the same play lists. Beyond the facility of the artist, to me, “good art” is art that makes me feel something; contentment, outrage, awe, reflection. There’s an honesty to the work, an underlying sincerity of intent.

Down the Rabbit Hole - Oil 60 x 40 in.
Hand of the Father - Oil 60 x 40 in.
Resetting the Clock - Oil 48 x 48 in.
Plumb - Oil 30 x 30 in.
Joelle - Oil 40 x 30 in.
The Forgiven - Oil 40 x 30 in.
Ideas in Waiting - Oil 48 x 48 in.
Closet Doors - Oil 48 x 48 in.


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

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