I've been looking at my new painting a lot recently and it's really making me think about the purpose of art. These thoughts also extend to my influences and what I enjoy about painting and story-telling.
Idealization and escapism seem to be the thread that ties everything I love together. In terms of painting (techniques and aesthetics) the French academics are my inspirations (Bouguereau). The main power of academic art is in creating unseen idealizations. It always makes me laugh when I see Bouguereau under the category of Realism. His images, although seemingly photographic (realistic), are constructed idealizations. The level of skill was simply high enough to create a perfect illusion. This is the main technique I have studied and employ.
I have to also pay homage to Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Musically, Porter Robinson and his album, Worlds. For writing, I'm really into Haruki Murakami, Edgar Allen Poe and many other creative writers. But what do all these poetic souls have in common? They are all world builders, creating worlds which we can feel a part of. Poe and Murakami represent a darker, more surreal world, which I also find fascinating, although not as 'beautiful'. I've thought many times about how nice it would be to wake up in a Studio Ghibli movie or a Bouguereau painting.
These artists provide a respite from the problems of the real world. This is what I consider to be the highest form of art and the true goal of art. The feeling found in a Bouguereau or Studio Ghibli movie is very close in terms of what I want to capture. The goals I have are to create idealized worlds, which provide a window of narrative relief.
The ultimate pleasure, for me, is to have other people look at my paintings and feel this same feeling. It's hard to put it into words, but I'll keep trying with paint.
I've mentioned this book before, but anyone looking for a good read on this topic should check out:
Starting Point, 1979-1996 - Hayao Miyazaki