The following post is contributed by student artist Bryan Wilson, Second-Place award winner in the Collective’s 2021 Fall Juried Exhibit.
My name is Bryan Wilson. I am a second year student at the University of Michigan studying art and design. I am an oil painter and fashion designer born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. I have been painting for the past 2 years, painting exclusively with oil. Oil painting was a medium that I stumbled upon. I began painting in acrylic my senior year of highschool, and oil painting was something that was heavily recommended to me. I bought my first set in November 2019 and instantly fell in love with the medium. To me it had set itself miles above acrylic in terms of application and rendering.
Through the time of the pandemic I was really able to build a craft and practice the technique of oil painting. I learned everything myself and applied skills I used before in my art into painting with oil. I spent hours watching youtube videos on different methods and techniques. However I found myself lost in technique, I was so invested in technique my work had no substance. I would strive only for photo realistic quality and there was no meaning in my work, and then I shifted.
Today as a fine artist my work is an exploration of morality. We all have morals that we believe to be right or wrong, and through my work I explore how simple it is for anyone to fall victim to any morals. Morals are something as humans we all have and we all have opinions on which are valued higher than others. I receive a lot of inspiration from modern day entertainment, which allows us to be presented with moral choices everyday.
My work features a heavy use of the skeleton figure, often mistaken for death, the use of the skeleton is a representation of the human figure. As an artist I desire to have an impact on the viewer when they see my work. I want the viewer to see the skeleton and be able to see themselves in the same position, victim to the morals surrounding.
For a while I held on to my work and didn’t know what to do with it or how to get it into the world. I was unaware of the world of art, such as galleries and collectives. However, 2021 became my “debut” year. As I began to put my work into the world I was able to find calls for art and put my pieces in shows for the first time. I was, and am, vulnerable as a new artist to the world of art. Some may look at me envious of my abilities and my young age or some look at me as if I’m undeserving, and it becomes overwhelming. I had my very first gallery opening at Hatch Art in Hamtramck, Michigan on April 4th, and by the end of this year I will have done 9 separate gallery openings or events.
Sometimes I feel out of place when I talk to so many artists and they speak to me about working in their studio and these giant projects, but for me I’ve always created from a desk in my bedroom. As I hear, I recognize that it makes the desire of success in the art field greater. I am grateful to be vulnerable in a space I am learning to navigate and love.
I am amazingly honored to have received a second place award amongst so many established artists. The piece is titled “Secrets” it is an exploration of gossip. Gossip is something that is often looked down upon yet we find ourselves doing so often and so intrigued to be a part of, almost like a guilty pleasure. The skeleton in this image is the “gossiper” spreading information to the subject. The subject is also receiving information from another end, being the phone. Similar to the skeleton, anyone could be on the other side of the phone giving any information.
The Huron River Art Collective 2021 Fall Juried Exhibit is currently on display at the Malletts Creek branch of the Ann Arbor Library through December 3rd. The closing reception, with juror, Durwood Coffey, will be on the evening of December 3rd, 6:30p – 7:45p. You can find more information on our juried exhibits on our website, HERE.