Melodic and aggressive, abrasive and pretty, political and universal, the music and visual art of Sterling Witt has many starting points. In addition to writing catchy, rocking and thought-provoking tunes, Witt is an accomplished painter whose visual work is as vibrant as his music. Encompassing everything from dazzlingly abstract portraits to 3D works that confound, entertain and inspire, Witt brings high-voltage energy to whatever he creates.
What comes first – the medium or the message? Tell me a little about the work that will be on view.
I started painting the word Love in an effort to bring more love into my life. I figured if I painted the word, then I would be thinking about it and by thinking about it I would manifest more love in my life. I also think the Love Paintings series have a positive effect on the surroundings of where they are displayed. I chose the watercolor medium because I wanted it to be a challenge for myself to control the paint. Using watercolors with enough water will create a spontaneous result that forces me to act fast and often deal with whatever happens. Being slightly out of control of the painting creates the qualities I'm looking for in the end.
What do you feel is your role as an artist?
To express myself and make quality art. I am not one of those people who think anything is art because someone says it is. Composition ought to strike you from across the room. You shouldn't have to think about it, although you might want to think about it after you've enjoyed it thoroughly. Making art is a personal exploration for me. Often what I appreciate in art is unattractive to others. That old adage: One man’s trash is another mans treasure, is so true for me.
What influences your practice/works?
I'm always in search of understanding the world I live in. Discovering the truth--whatever that is--seems to be my personal mission and I assume this has an influence over my creations. Some people think everything is figured out and understood and the world is no longer a place of mystery. Yet a person can spend their entire life studying one subject and never know everything about it. If you think the world is boring and just dirt, rocks, air and water, then the world tends to show you only the mundane because that’s what you believe and what you are open to seeing. For me, it seems the more I understand the less I am certain I know. The world is a mysterious place. Just think: every few years science disproves what was once believed to be fact.
Who are the other artists you look to for inspiration? And what about their works do you like?
The Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo never ceases to amaze me. He created some of the greatest illusions and fantasy works. Artists like Arcimboldo make me wonder if art is progressing or digressing as time goes on. He was making his art in the 1500s, and that's incredible to me. The Renaissance Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch is another amazing artist and creates some of the most interesting depictions of historical events, both fantasy and illusion. He was painting in the 1400s--that’s 600 years ago! This is a strong reminder to me that we are not on the cutting edge as much as we often think we are. These guys were making their art in a time when there were no phones, no Internet, no cars, and no electricity. Go have a look at their art and tell me that it's not astonishing.
What other writings do you recommend reading to have a better understanding of your artworks and your art practice/process? Please look through our on-line catalog and provide any links to resources that you would recommend.
The Magic of Believing by Claude M Bristol is a great book and was one of the first books I ever read about creating what you want in your life. I have read and reread this book. I would recommend it to anyone. No matter who you are or what you believe, this is a powerful book. https://jocolibrary.bibliocommons.com/item/show/161746036?active_tab=su…