Howard Hastie - Artist

Artist Statement






Using symbols and shapes I create a vignette of imagery that explores the avenues of a working space and the psychological and spiritual themes I have gravitated to. Some of the shapes are recognized objects or symbols while others are pattern shapes. My hope is that it will show something that helps direct me in my life and possibly in others as well. My work explores the psyche through the nuances of shape and form.



I like to build things. Although I started out as a painter, much of my creative life has been devoted to building sculpture and fine furniture. This background plays an essential role in the structural composition of my paintings. I find that the structural balance of geometric patterns provides a better framework for me to explore free form organic shapes. I use this interplay to express the essential concept in a piece. The overall theme of my painting usually does not appear to me until I am somewhere near the middle or end of my creative process. That is when I begin to see the “idea” of the work. I could say the idea or theme is filled with archetypes or some great tradition but to me it is simply a visual expression that emerges from me. The idea tends to reflect some concept or dream I have been working without any forethought on my part. Ironically, if I start out trying to express a particular idea it doesn’t seem to work for me. I just let it happen on it’s own.



My approach centers on a balance between an initial composition and a present awareness of the painting as it unfolds; altering the work as it speaks to me. Changing shapes, colors, and tones. I went through a period of pure spontaneity; throwing paint, using tools and my hands on the canvas to create some kind of expressed composition. This was a breakthrough for me because I realized in a visceral sense that as you paint it alters the canvas. But this type of painting wasn’t enough for me. I felt more in tune with story telling with objects and having a more organized framework compositionally. So now I start out with a worked out composition that is subject to the spontaneity of painting as it unfolds. It inspires experimentation and results in a medley of gestures that describe my journey through a beginning idea and its transformations.



Some of my more profound influences include: Native American sand paintings, Tibetan thangkas, Persian geometric designs and artists such as Kandinsky, Miro, and Rothko. In my experience, the power of an image is as much to do with what it evokes as what it took to get there. 

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