Thursday, February 7, 2013

Artist Interview :: Sean Farrell

Get to know a Copley artist! Sean Farrell's stunningly realistic Italian still-life paintings are currently on display in a solo show titled "A Glance of Rome." The works can be viewed at Boston Private Bank in the Prudential  Center. Recently, the Co|So staff interviewed one of our accomplished members about this work and his artistic career.  

Sean Farrell, Sunflowers Over Rome, 38 x 28, oil on linen.

1. Who is your greatest influence?
My greatest influence has been my family. Growing up, I learned from my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles that you could be whatever you want to be if you follow your heart, set your mind to it, work hard, and stick with it. This is probably why my sister, my brother and I all work for ourselves and each do something we love.  
       In terms of artists, my greatest influence is all those who came before me. Every artist is inspired from and learns from the past. We are moved by art we see, for reasons we sometimes may not know right away, and this inspires us to create for ourselves. If a work of art was truly inspired, something comes through from any time and any period. Over time, one develops one's own sense of what is appealing and desired for his/her own work. By paying attention to what appeals to you and what is within you, you can take it and create something that you have not yet seen, but wish to create and to see for yourself. I believe this is the process of any great artist.      

2. Tell us about your work in A Glance of Italy.
 The exhibit "A Glance of Italy" features works that take inspiration from my travels in Italy.  I have travelled quite a bit in Italy over many years to see and study in person the Italian art that I love. While doing so, I also fell in love with the beauty of Italy as a country as well, and the paintings in this show share some of what I have experienced. Below, I'll share a little about two of the paintings on display.

Sunflowers over Rome 
I created this piece to express some of the joys I have taken away from Italy. Throughout Italy I see a great care for small things. The flowers, the food, the handmade items and simply for the care to notice and have beauty around oneself in everyday life, be it large or small. In Tuscany, I saw wonderful sunflower fields that inspired me to grow my own flower gardens here at home with lots of sunflowers. The vase in the painting is created from my imagination, and it includes a design depicting a large Bernini sculpted fountain from a favorite central city square in Rome. There I have enjoyed painting and sketching in the Piazza Navona. Hence the title, Sunflowers over Rome.

Sean Farrell, A Glance of Rome, 34 x 28, oil on canvas.
A Glance of Rome
The inspiration for this piece came one day when I was walking through the Villa Borghese park in the middle of Rome. I had my french easel on my back, intending do a painting of a fountain that I had sketched earlier. I entered the large park from the Piazza del Popolo, and to enter the park from this square one must ascend a long steep flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs I was quickly stunned by the site of beautiful mandarin tree in full blossom of its fruit. Wow! In February! I just had to paint it then and there. After painting close ups of the mandarins on the tree, I did this piece, A Glance of Rome.

3. How would you characterize the arc of your career?
I have been quite fortunate with my art career. I have been doing it full time for the past twenty years. Though I started out my working career employed by advertising and software companies, and doing my art on the side, I recognized fairly early on that I had such a great desire to make paintings and that I simply could not put it aside.  I really needed to be an artist, and work at it as much as I possibly could. As such, I saved as much money as I could for one year and then finally quit my job. Most people would have perhaps put a down payment on a house or condo with the money I had saved, but I had decided to use this to launch my professional art career.
When I had my 1st showing of my work, I sold six paintings on the first day, and soon had representation with 5 galleries.  Each year, sales got better and so did my paintings. As sales increased, I traveled to study more great works of art. Soon I was going to Europe fairly often to do this. Over the past two years, sales have been spotty at times with the economy, but I keep working to improve upon my work. In my mind, I see where I want it to go with it, and I keep striving to make my paintings better to my eye. Over time it all adds up. As I say, it is a lifelong process of continually trying to make a great painting.  

4. Did you attend an art school?
No I did not attend art school.  Instead, I have learned much by traveling extensively to study directly the works that I love. I try to take away elements of great works that I find useful and incorporate those elements into advancing a vision for my own work. I take away and work at what appeals to me and leave out the rest. I think somehow this has made my work unique in the sense that I do not try to paint as I've has been instructed by another, but only as I've been instructed by my own image of what makes a great painting. I am still learning.

5. When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
I first realized I wanted to be an artist in the 5th grade. I had a friend who also loved to draw, and we drew all the time. That was an artist to me. I did not realize that people actually earned a living from their art in the modern day and age until I was an adult.  As soon as I discovered this, I saw it as a means to an end of having the time to try and make best paintings I could. If the sales of my artwork provided the opportunity for me to paint all day and every day, I could make progress. I quit my day job twenty years ago and never looked back.

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