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art - greg hochman's art history

"And what a person thinks on his own without being stimulated by thoughts and experiences of other people is even in the best case rather paltry and monotonous." ~ Albert Einstein

There are many special people who have impacted my personal and artistic attitudes.  I cherish their positive teachings and examples.  They influence who I am, but when it comes to learning how to paint, I did not have a formal teacher.  Instead, I learned by observing; observing other artists and nature.  

First Artistic Experience

"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you." -Frank Lloyd Wright

My first real-life art lesson occurred while observing nature.  When I was sixteen I saw a breathtaking sunset.  Never had I seen such a spectacle.  It was a novel experience for me and I remember being amazed by it for days after.  In a way, that amazement has never really gone away & it the experience helped put me on the artist's path.

In high school I did not make very much art, though I made some in a few high school classes and one or two private lessons.  Most impacting, in my senior year I visited the Grand Canyon with a brother & friend of his.  The Canyon became another experience like the sunset.

Several months after I visited the Grand Canyon I graduated high school and began college the following school year (1990).  In conjunction with nature I was fascinated with the human mind & brain & how mine & others work, so in college I selected psychology as my major.  From the beginning of school I saw psychology - largely because of perceptual psychology - as a path to art as well as to gaining understanding about human nature.

Psychology studies were enjoyable to me, but to satisfy my creative bug I began exploring arts and crafts in my first year of school.  Tie dying was one that I took too and within a year people were asking to buy the tie-dye tees.  The first two were bought by a very memorable & special philosophy professor.  His purchase was certainly encouraging and in a year or so my little craft grew into a little business.  In my third and fourth years of school I was making tie-dyed clothing and tapestries for students, professors, organizations and local shops.  But all of this was really in the hope of gaining enough confidence to try to paint.  And it turned out that tie dying proved to be an excellent stepping stone for me in obtaining that goal.

Learning to Paint - Live Dyes

In college, while making tie-dyes, a friend and I discovered a new artistic synthesis.  It involved drawing with fabric markers, or painting with paints, directly on tie-dyed tees and tapestries.  The goal was to bring out forms with marker or brush, such as faces or animals, which can be seen in the tie dye pattern itself.  We called this synthesis of dyes and drawing or painting Live-Dyes.  My friend drew the first live-dye using a permanent marker.  It was a remarkable and exquisite drawing of Josephine Baker on one of the tie-dye tees I made.

It turned out that Live-dyes were a perfect stepping stone for me.  They encouraged me to draw and paint on my shirts and tapestries; and later they encouraged me to use the dyes as watercolor paints on paper and canvas.

Continuing the Artist's Path 

Immediately after college I got a social work job for the summer.  Then at the end of the summer I traveled across country to Arizona and California for two months.  Among my varied travels I visited the Grand Canyon again and also, Yosemite National Park.  When I returned from that trip I wanted to paint, yet I also needed to pay bills and reduce college debt.  After a failed attempt to work at a national-chained book store I was fortunate to get a job at an art gallery, which perfectly complimented my desire to grow as an artist; while working their I learned another craft, matting and framing; plus, I was able see the work of many artists and learn more about running a business.

Now, aside from painting, there were other disciplines that interested me.  Music was one of them and in college I was introduced to hand drums and piano.  My interest in both of these have continued and in 2001 I began a music business, which consists of teaching and running an online music store,

About a month after returning from the West coast, and seven months after graduating college, I enrolled in a T'ai Chi school.  During this same period I began studying the Bible and applying Biblical instruction to my life, something I never expected to do for most of my life prior to that period.  Nonetheless, these post-college interests have complimented my personal and artistic life.

There are many reasons I am drawn to the above mentioned disciplines, but one thing that has always resonated with me is that they are interdisciplinary, which brings me to the conclusion of this long winded description.  My artistic development has been impacted and aided by an interdisciplinary and holistic approach.  Do you know right now you are using a quintessential  interdisciplinary tool? Indeed, the world wide web; and as with the web I consider the arts to be a microcosm of the universe - everything is connected.

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