Five Questions for Artslant.com

This feature was published on Artslant just a few weeks before the site said goodbye. I’ve copied the original article here for safekeeping.

Lost | Seeing a rainbow at sunset inspired this painting by Randall Stoltzfus | A colorful, mysterious artwork made of many shimmering layers of circular brushstokes
Lost“. Acrylic dispersion and iridescence on polymer canvas, 37 x 60 inches.

This week we seek answers from Randall Stoltzfus

What are you trying to communicate with your work?

I am trying to make images that communicate that each of us is a part of something bigger. That we are cooperating whether we know it or not. And that light surrounds each one of us and whatever this is we are a part of.

What is an artist’s responsibility?

Personally, my responsibility as an artist is to reduce suffering. So I try to make something that is compassionate on some level. Maybe aesthetic choices can make an object compassionate? But I’ve also been trying to think of other angles on this. Most recently I’ve been working with canvases that appear traditional but are made with consciously sourced or recycled materials.

Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?

I’m an avid amateur gardener, so I get to coax some amazing things from the earth. It doesn’t always work out. I don’t make make the plants, of course. But I do get to be pretty involved in making a space for their lives to take place in, however briefly. 

Last summer I finally got a sacred lotus to bloom in my Brooklyn backyard. It’s maybe a little bit of a stretch to have that plant there, since daylight is limited by buildings on every side and it’s a little far north for lotus. It took a couple of years of learning, fending of eager raccoons, and just patience. 

But it all worked out and I even had a bloom that decided to open on the weekend. We had an opening reception for it, a garden party with coffee and bagels and some of our beautiful neighbors.

Here’s an early morning time-lapse video I made of the bloom we had the reception for:

Sacred Lotus Opens Time-lapse from Randall Stoltzfus on Vimeo.

What are you currently working on?

I’m excited about a series of paintings about rainbows that I’m working on right now. One of them is a big 10 foot diptych which is very fun but is also taking longer than expected. 

I saw several rainbows within a couple of weeks here in Brooklyn and so I tried to learn more about what I was seeing. The idea that the rainbow is happening across this vast field of round water droplets resonated for me. Maybe there was a relationship to the layers of circular brushstrokes I use to paint? I had to try it out.

 

Who are three artists we should know but probably don’t?

Stanley Lewis http://www.bettycuninghamgallery.com/artists/stanley-lewis

Douglas Witmer http://douglaswitmer.com

Alyse Rosner https://alyserosner.com

 

Originally posted on Artslant.com by The Artslant Team on 4/1/2019

Signed, Sealed

Here’s the full 3+ minute video of me painting the signature on a new commissioned painting. Like many of the marks in each painting, the brushstrokes here required more than one layer. This clip shows the final pass with gold paint harmonizing these eight letters with a gold-toned canvas.

The pattern I use to sign my paintings is inspired by the chop marks and studio seals used by artists and printmakers for centuries. Although I first noticed this type of signature on the Viennese fin de siècle paintings that I admired when I was starting out as a painter, the amazing marks used on Chinese landscape paintings made my fascination permanent.

To read my last name in the mark, just start with the big S and read the letters clockwise until you get back to the S a second time.

Here’s a 19 second hyperlapse of the same video: