Kit Eastman

Artist Statement

I came to be a painter because of great changes late in my adult life. A search for meaning and identity brought me to art ā€“ a visual record of the journey of my mind, body and spirit, without disconnecting from my past. There is an urgency to create but also to destroy. These strong feelings compel me to work. My exploration of the creative process lead me to enroll at the University of California, Santa Cruz and graduate with degrees in Fine Art with a focus on painting and printmaking. I also obtained a second degree in the History of Art and Visual Culture focusing on the Renaissance and the Virgin Mary. Through the study of art history I feel connected to a broader past, to a timeless tradition in art that has always been a primary concern for man, the expression of his existence. Through my decades of work with animals I also feel connected to a deeper past ā€“ the animal nature that empowers us.

My figurative paintings and drawings are concerned with the physical and psychological factors that define our perceptions and influence our actions. Our ability to respond with compassion is dependent upon our continuing process of self-realization and self-knowledge. Since the nature of individuality is inherently dynamic, the ability to truly obtain that personal insight is mysterious. The intuitive and emotional parts of our response mechanism play a major role in our interactions with reality. When I begin weighing compositional possibilities and considering the consequences of my chosen actions, compassion for the other may at times come into conflict with self-protection. This moment of conflict and indecision creates tension. The paintings and drawings are ultimately guided by an observation of this point of conflict.

There is a range of visual solutions in my work, from at times being narrative and romantic, to an analytical investigation involving relational ordering of images. The use of a multiple picture plane and layering of visual information have been compelling formats to explore these issues. With the symbolic ordering of imagery, the viewer must decide what each element symbolically represents, then reconcile their co-existence. Art has no absolutes and is something that canā€™t be measured.

My paintings, prints, and drawings have an added concern involving my choice of materials and how it might mediate the range of interpretation and conceptual issues available in the finished piece. What has become apparent is that the choice of media to execute the images has a profound impact on the visual statement, calling attention to the process, thereby changing the viewer’s interpretation of the elements. I enjoy this dual referencing both inside and outside the works of art. There is more of a perceived intellectual relationship between the elements, yet exact meaning remains ambiguous.

The actual paintings, drawings and prints have a physical quality. The surfaces of my works are like excavations ā€“ layered with a variety of materials and marks. Close examination of these surfaces enables an unearthing of their history and process while providing physical and emotional depth.

This quality of implied meaning while retaining a sense of mystery is of great interest to me. That a certain set of images or circumstances might elicit a range of interpretations is of consequence in that it finds a parallel in our everyday lives. Both verbal and physical communications between people are often interpreted or misinterpreted in many ways. The work of understanding each other’s visual languages relates in spirit to the making of this work.

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