In this edition of ArtListr, we’ll look at the story and creative process of some of the amazing featured artists on our Instagram page @arlistrgram. This week, we have Brian Mcclear, an artist based in Connecticut, working primarily in oils. An industry veteran with experience in illustration, animation, and design, Brian is now a prolific exhibiting artist, creating enigmatic still life paintings that play with composition and meaning.
Here are 8 questions that we asked to get an insider’s look into his art practice:
1. Tell us about your background. When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?
BM: I was constantly drawing as a kid and could think of nothing I’d rather do. My interest continued to grow through middle school and high school and with the support of my parents, went to art school.
2. Share with us your first steps when you were just starting out. How did you begin work as an artist?
BM: Currently living and working in Connecticut, I have called New England my home for more than 25 years. Originally from Ohio, I received my BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design. Upon graduation, I moved to New England where I enjoyed a successful career as a freelance illustrator. Working closely with the area’s leading marketing firms, I eventually accepted a position with Adams & Knight, Inc. During my 20-year tenure, the firm has grown to become a leader in the industry sparking results for a wide variety of national and international clients. As the agency grew, so did my role — from photo illustrator, to animator, to UX designer and eventually to the development of proprietary marketing platforms.
Even with my love of design and problem solving satisfied on a daily basis, I missed getting my hands dirty. I have returned to painting with fervor. No longer separated from my work by mouse or screen, I relish the direct connection to my canvas. Exploring shape, surface and connections through bold intuitive brush strokes are hallmarks of my work.
3. Tell us about your everyday routine. How do you regularly work?
BM: I spend my days working on the computer. The evenings are my time to get my hands dirty. I generally have two or three canvases in the works the same time. Once I have gone as far as I can go with one painting, I’ll set it aside for a while and move on to another to avoid overworking and to keep things fresh and fun.
4. Talk to us about your art. How would you describe the kind of work you do?
BM: I’m a contemporary representational artist with a passion for the interplay between form and texture and how things fit together. Working primarily in oils, I enjoy exploring connections between seemingly unrelated objects.
5. Share with us some personal insights. What are your greatest weaknesses and strengths as an artist?
BM: For me, the process of painting and discovering things along the way is what I find most rewarding. When I spend too much time focused on the finish, painting is less enjoyable and much less productive.
6. Tell us about how you deal with criticism. When people criticize you, what do they mention the most?
BM: Criticism is a tool, like any other. Like a hammer, it depends on how it is used. Make something with — or be beaten by it.
7. Share with us what motivates you. What are your compulsions and what inspires you to do your work?
BM: I love to paint and draw pretty much anything — but I have a particular affinity for portraits and still life.
8. Tell us about the direction your art is taking now. Where do you see yourself in the future?
BM: Right now, I’m working on two concurrent projects. In both, I am really enjoying looking beyond the surface — whether considering everyday objects or the people I meet.
Where do I see myself in the future? I know I’ll be painting.
Brian Mcclear’s playful combinations of curious shapes and objects in his paintings are truly wonderful to behold. It was great to learn about his background and gain some insight into his process.
If you wish to see more of his work, please follow his Instagram page at @mcclearart.
Meanwhile, if you’re interested to learn more about another featured artist, check out our interview with Victor Goertz, an artist based in the Pacific Northwest working on unique natural landscape paintings.