Israel Fickett is a 22 year old painter who just moved to Santa Cruz from Ellsworth, Maine.
Israel’s commentary about his work:
“These first 3 pieces are from my plein air style of works. I absolutely love nature and the magnificent colors that flow from it, and I love capturing it with paint even more. This is a series of 3 paintings that make up a tryptic of a large mountainous region in northwestern Maine called Gulf Hagas. I hiked the mountain which ends in a river crossing in late October of 2014, where the bleeding reds, fiery oranges, and sunny yellows of the autumn leaves just captivated me. I tried to make each painting stand on its own, with slightly different alterations in the brush stroke and stylization in each one. Though at the same time I wanted to make them flow seamlessly, and I think I’ve done that. This is definitely one of my personal favourites.”
“The fourth and fifth pieces of art, are acrylic paintings of different locations along the coast in Maine, and show even more my plein air works, as well as use of color, though of the ocean – A far more impactful resource on my life than Gulf Hagas or any mountain has. I grew up in coastal, fishing villages on the East Coast, and the granite rocks, evergreen trees, and beautiful summer days have always inspired me, and these are just a few examples.”
“The sixth piece is named, “Princess in Paradise.” The idea of utopia or a utopian society has always fascinated me. The concept seems almost ungraspable, yet we all still constantly reach for it. What is also interesting is that everyone’s perception of utopia differs slightly to almost indistinguishably different. How can there be different pictures of “perfection”? With that in mind, I’ve painted and drew many alternatives of my vision of paradise. This piece incorporates the buildings and architecture of Ancient Greece and Rome representing the philosophical and democratic nature of those cultures, the natural beauty of a harmonious lush Earth, and tranquility, love and peace in the metaphorical form of a female. Represented in a colorful way this piece shows what my inner desire drives and strives for and hopes to one day see. Life is meant to proceed forward, and not be destroyed and taken from. Harmony with everything around us is the ultimate goal, with the truest form coming together visually here, stylized through my eyes. The structure of this piece is actually based on Giorgione’s “Sleeping Venus”, which influenced Titian’s “Venus of Urbino”, which influenced “Olympia” by Manet. I wanted to continue the lineage of this visualization and use it in another concept, while paying homage to them as well. Giorgione created the original piece to unleash the natural reality that society was covering over in a more prude era, and it can be heralded as a first step towards modern art. Then Titian’s version was a way to unabashedly expose erotic ideas, and bring the god-like power into a more “human”, indoor place. While Manet’s version was turning the female into a representation of a prostitute, exposing another layer of society to the world, and possibly the better revelation is that she is in control, and doesn’t care about your opinion of her. These are all breakthroughs in the view of people and society and how we shouldn’t judge them; peeling away layers constantly. Now with my interpretation of this I’m showing the naked female, as a normal human, though a “princess”, like all of us, each our own royalty or God. There is no reason to literally separate us as different though, as deep down we are all this- the naked human. Flesh and bone. And by transferring her out of the inside confines of society’s walls and structure, I bring her back to the field’s Giorgione originally painted. I see the future as a balance of all the past ideals, and finally shedding the silly notions of separation, due to fear of nudity, scandalous behavior, or other intrinsic parts of the human experience. I give control back to the raw human, show them that they are beautifully gods themselves, especially if we can find harmony with nature, society, and our souls.”
“To summarize, I have distinct passion for nature, art history, and the expression of color. I have many differing types of work – I also do india ink, murals, graphic design, illustration, and even dabbled in ceramics and metal sculpture. I believe my work would be well suited in any fitting plein air or contemporary art gallery in the area.”
Israel’s connection to Santa Cruz:
“I recently moved to Santa Cruz at the beginning of February and absolutely fell in love. I moved across the US, from Maine based on a successful Kickstarter Project I did, and drove here in January. It’s similar to where I come from, in being a beach town of sorts, and a huge tourism industry. Though it’s much warmer, much more tropical, a lot more refined, and has a “feel good” attitude I haven’t experienced anywhere else. After living in Maine in a few places, in Boston, and now here, this is absolutely, without a doubt my favorite place I’ve ever lived. From the redwood trees in Henry Cowell State Park to the beaches all along the shore to the downtown area, this place is beautiful, and is ever inspiring. I feel I’ve already felt my roots dig in to the area.”
See more of Israel’s work at his website.
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