Kevin Grass

Being an artist is my life and painting is my chosen medium. It would be great to come home and relax after teaching my college classes all day, but I don’t -- I paint. I paint during the week, I paint on the weekends, and I paint during the holidays. It is rare that I go for more than two or three days without painting and, even then, I usually work on examples for the students in my college drawing and painting classes. It is as essential to my existence as breathing.

Ever since I first picked up a pencil I have been fascinated with realism. It does not seem possible that acrylic paint can create the illusion of space, light, and form, and when it happens it seems like magic. Even after my many years of painting I am still amazed when the transformation occurs.

With each new piece I attempt to improve upon my brand of realism, which combines Flemish painting and contemporary Photorealism, ultimately making it hard to distinguish between the actual subject and the image. There is no way to rush or fake the techniques that I use to create the highly detailed subjects and rich, naturalistic colors in my paintings, with many pieces taking between 200 and 400 hours. My brand of realism sets me apart from most other artists and it is what initially draws viewers to the work.

Working with traditional subjects can be very satisfying, and I have completed numerous landscape and portrait paintings which I enjoyed, but I am much more interested in working with images that have narrative content. Designing narrative work is challenging and exciting. From the models and supporting elements to the setting, each piece is important to the narrative and must be carefully incorporated into the image for proper visual balance, emphasis, and clarity of message.

My favorite topic is contemporary life in America. Fashions are reflective of our culture and the models are real people, which makes the narrative more relatable to the contemporary viewer. Each piece is carefully crafted to evoke emotions in the viewer, transforming the acrylic painting into a majestic mirror that reflects a tarnished reality. I want to give contemporary viewers a new perspective on their world and I want future generations to see what it is like to live in turn-of-the-century America.

My paintings are not artwork that just hangs on a wall to serve a decorative purpose – they demand attention and promote lively discussion. Ultimately, I want to get people to think and talk to one another about important issues.

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