Artist Hank Spirek presents a fascinating portfolio of mixed media works that stretch the boundaries of realism. Visit his website to see more of his art.
I was born in 1947 and raised in Chicago, Illinois. In 1968 I graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BA in Art and Art Education. I spent a further year of graduate study at Arizona State University working towards an MFA in painting. I’ve lived in five different countries, settling in Australia for family reasons in 1986.
My work has been widely exhibited and held in private collections throughout the southwestern parts of the United States including Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, plus Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. In Australia, my works have been exhibited and privately collected across Sydney and the eastern and regional sections of the state of New South Wales. I do not as a rule enter competitive art contests as I find they tend to distract me from my goal of creating unique works.
Early in my career I was influenced by the Germanic Medieval Renaissance works of Durer and Grunewald. That period’s cultural dialogue of social ugliness, crudeness and cynicism was revisited before and after the turn of the twentieth century by artists such as Van Gough, Ensor, Nolde and Munch. I also draw inspiration from present day Australian artists Euan Macleod and Wendy Sharpe.
The most accurate description of my present artistic style would fall under the term Disrupted Realism.
Disrupted Realism, though not actually a “style” is a broad term used to classify art that tries to reshape traditional realism.
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It is as individual as the artists themselves, with overlapping sets of developments that cross international borders and stylistic boundaries—the uniting characteristic being the need to include the emotion of their process.
I use different mediums depending on the piece I am working on. I will use a mixture of oil, watercolour and pastels for those works on cotton duck canvas. Works I classify as drawings are done on Fabriano 300 gsm paper; they will be constructed mainly with watercolour and pastels and, where required, touches of oil.
Works described as using mixed media are images created in a similar manner. They are photographed and further Photoshopped and professionally printed, after which the images are reworked with various mediums until I am satisfied with the result.
I prefer to vary my subject matter as inspiration strikes me. My favourite topics range from whimsical to surreal figurative works or ones using birds or creatures of the animal kingdom.
I strive to produce a powerful image by whatever means necessary that will cause the viewer to stop and think while providing me an opportunity to explore various techniques and state metaphysical issues.
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