RB McGrath [rbmcgrath]
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
Eclectic. I am a Painter. My preferred medium is oil on canvas or wood. I move between different styles - realism, impressionism, expressionism and abstract in an attempt to portray still life, portraiture and landscape and sometimes my cerebral fantasies. My process includes wine, classical music and sleeping with my paintings at night.
What is your message?
That Art, as a creative disposition, is endless and to not explore all that is possible would be a dis-service to humanity. Without Art, there is no life. Art can save the world. Art has taught the world everything it knows and could know. When we, as a society, raise Art and Music education in schools to the level of football and basketball, we will have more highly educated young people and as a consequence a better world.
Your biography in four lines.
Born in Branch, St. Mary's Bay, Newfoundland, a small fishing village on the southern coast of the tenth largest island in the world, referred to as "The Rock". Newfoundland Mother, U.S. Air Force Father. We transfered to LRAFB and have been living in Arkansas since 1965. Began a serious persuit as an Artist/Painter in the mid eighties, many works in private and public collections throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where could we see it?
Yes. You can view many of my works at http://www.rbmcgrath.com
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
I am inspired by many things going on around me not the least of which is People. But I would have to say my greatest inspiration is Classical music. I feel that Classical music and Visual Art are the siblings of the High art world. Both have supported and complimented one another throughout history.
What role does technology play in your creative process?
An important role. Through the web I have been able to expose my work to a larger, world wide audience. With the use of digital media I have been able to produce my new book ICON The Art of RB McGrath. I was able to collaborate with some of the best critics and Artists in the world, including Actors like Patrick Gallo, star of the recently released "I'll Believe You" and Photographer/Anthropologist Stuart Harrison from the UK. Gallo and Harrison along with seventeen other Artists wrote the critiques and overviews for my book, which is seeing some degree of success. It is a way for people to own many prints of my paintings and drawings in one book. You can preview the book at: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2225657
What is art?
Art, in all it's forms, is an expressive record of life.
When do you get your best ideas?
When I'm day-dreaming.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
It's a gut feeling. I follow my muse at the moment, do it, and during the process the work will tell me if it's a good idea or not. It usually is. An Artist instinctually knows during the process whether or not the idea is going to pan out. I believe in trying at the very least. Following instinct.
Three creative ideas that you would have liked to have created?
I would have liked to have created the new World Trade Center for New York. I would like to have created a work entitled "Vaudville Virgin" which would magnify the showmanship of all of the worlds religions. I started it a few years ago, but at the time the work didn't flow. I have reached a level however that I might soon attempt it again. My idea is a vast work, and labor intensive. Hmmm. I just might have a go at it again sometime soon, now that I think about it. Finally, I would like to have been chosen to paint Queen Elizabeth. She is one of the people I most admire in the world.
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
When I was 3 years old, laying on the floor, coloring and eating my crayons. I remember vividly my mother picking me up and taking the crayons away. Then when I was 11 I asked for a paint set for Christmas. When Christmas came my brother got the paint set that I had wanted. I can't remember what my parents got me, I only remember my brother getting MY paint set. I was very sad. I knew that I was the Artist in the family.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
Because Art, and the creation of it, is driven by passion.
Do you consider yourself postmodern?
No. I consider myself Rennaisance. Born out of my time. So I'll have to make due with where I am.
How should a work of art be evaluated?
First and foremost by how it affects the viewer and how many viewers it affects. Then comes technique. Of course once an Artist achieves notoriety then it's the saleability of the Artists name that comes first, subject second, and technique third. That's not just my view, it is proven time and time again by the media.
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
Of course all of the Masters. In modern times there are so very many wonderful painters whom I admire and look to for education, but the one's that stand out in my mind immediately are Greg Kruetz, David Leifel and Helen Van Wyk.
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
I think it's great. I wish the public would fund some of MY art. Anyone want to give me some money?
Is art necessary?
Absolutely YES! Without Art, there is no life. People wouldn't have the proverbial pot to piss in without Art. After all, someone had to design the pot.
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
Yes it does. I liken it to watching a child leave home and wondering what how the world is going to treat it. It's sad, but exhilirating at the same time.
Is a work of art purchased, or is it better said, that it is the artist who is bought?
In the beginning it is the work of art that is purchased. After fame, it is the Artist who is bought. I'll take the latter......please.
In art, there is no guide. How do you know what the next step is?
Instinct. In my particular process the work will talk to me and guide me forward. All ya gotta do is listen and feel.
How do you feel about the fact that the pieces exhibited in contemporary art museums are often of artists already deceased?
I feel great about it. I plan to join the ranks someday.
What role have the figures of art dealer, gallery owners, representatives, and intermediaries in general played in your career?
None. I've been doing everything myself. When I do reach a pinnacle of creative output that will require agents, publicists, image makers and the like, then I will get on board, but galleries...no way. Signing with a gallery is tantamount to selling your soul to the devil. Galleries are run by demons from hell who care little or nothing about Artists. Galleries are the flea markets of the Art world.
What types of jobs do you usually do?
Portraits and Still Life. Bar none, my favorites and I am told my best.
Which of your jobs or tasks do you most enjoy?
Do you personally collect any items?
Yes. I collect other Artists. Paintings, Sculpture. I also collect new and antique violins and cellos. And believe it or not, I can actually play them. I have a repetroire of about fifty tunes when it comes to my favorite violin, a Cursing Cat Antoni Stradavari copy. Love it!
Which websites do you frequently visit?
http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2225657 (to see how the book is selling)
http://www.NewfoundlandersAbroad.com (to keep in touch with home)
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
Just do it! Paint, draw, etch. Whatever you choose to do in whatever medium you want. Just start doing it. It's all subjective. The process, no matter what your level of experience, will bring you to Nirvana.