Saturday, January 19, 2013

Artist Interview :: William Turner

Get to know a Copley artist! Currently on display in the New Members Show is William Turner's humorous and thoughtful painting  "Hermes and the Infant Dionysos." Recently, the Co|So staff interviewed one of our newest members about this work and his artistic career. 

William Turner, Hermes and The Infant Dionysus, 40 x 30, oil on canvas.

1.       Who is your greatest influence?
Many contemporary artists have influenced me over the years, but mainly all art that evokes an emotion without offending is what I like best.   Sometimes it is the technique, other times the use of color, application or subject matter.  As in music, a good song stays in my head, while others drift away.

2.       Tell us about your work in the New Members’ Show 2013.
For many years I have chosen to paint machinery as metaphors for humans.  In search of rusted machinery I have taken many sketches, notes and photographs of these as I find them throughout New England.  The massive Sterling dump truck in this painting is one of them.  It had on its hood a rusted toy Tonka truck.
     It was a five years later when working on a series inspired by mythology and classical art that I remembered this truck.  To refine my notes I went back to the location where I had seen it, hoping it hadn’t been sold or destroyed.  There it sat with the Tonka still on its hood.   It brought to mind the Greek statue of Hermes and the Infant Dionysos with which I am very familiar.  As Hermes was charged to care for the infant, so too this massive Sterling has bonded with this little replica on its hood.  

3.       When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
4.    How would you characterize the arc of your career? 
My career in art has been one of intermission.  My mother was a fine artist and at a young age taught me the basics of drawing which I used to great advantage during my years in junior and high school.  However, there was what seemed an insurmountable drawback to pursuing a career in art at that time.  I was dyslexic.  Dyslexia was not diagnosed or even talked about during those years.   I didn’t have the grades needed or the accommodations which are available today to go to college.  After serving in Vietnam I returned home to start a career working with machinery and vehicle restoration but always drew or painted in my spare time.     

5.       Did you attend an art school? 
It wasn’t until mid-life that I decided to train professionally and attended the Manchester Community College where  I studied design and commercial illustration.  This gave me the confidence to try attending a four-year college.  I enrolled in New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester and enjoyed my experience working in different art venues.  I chose to concentrate on painting and graduated in 2006 with a BFA in painting.   These years have been the most challenging but most rewarding of my life since I can combine my love of machinery and art.  I continue to take courses that will encourage me to explore new and various ways to express my art.