Meet today's most compelling artists and explore their work as they take you on a creative journey sure to inspire your imagination and appreciation for the visual arts.
Featured Artist Brian Batt
Brian Batt’s paintings are startlingly, unbelievably, unnervingly real. His striking portraits leave the viewer astounded while basking in the work’s baffling accuracy, subtle expressiveness and the eerily arrested vitality that stares back.
Whether working in photorealism or pointillism, Brian combines aspects of classic portraiture with pop cultural iconography. Upon entering his studio, the observer becomes the observed; Recipient of a blazingly brilliant gaze, the onlookers are poised on canvas.
After his work appeared in a 2011 Chelsea show that featured masters and celebrities such as Chuck Close, Alex Katz, and Yoko Ono, Batt’s work started garnering serious attention. His paintings have landed on the walls of John Krasinski and Reese Witherspoon; His work is regularly commissioned for important galas and charity events.
After graduating from art school, he was commissioned with many portrait requests which had led him to pursue portraiture more seriously. References were often photos of beloved, deceased family members, sometimes children having died tragically young. Surviving family members would be overcome, reeling from the captured likeness and spirit. Such moments had a profound impact on Brian’s career.
Brian continued with portrait commissions privately while working full time as a designer and illustrator. While his 9 to 5 job was a necessity, it was ultimately a distraction from painting so in 2009 Brian decided to pursue his art full time.
“Right now, my most obvious influence is Chuck Close; He motivates me daily,” says Brian. A chance encounter with Close at a local art supply store inspired the evolving artist to “go to the grid”, painting in the pixilated and mosaic style that Close pioneered, interpreting the technique through his own style. Pointillism or Pixel Pointillism involves applying distinct dots or squares of pure color in patterns to form an image. Viewed from afar, these dots appear as a unified, photorealistic image.
Growing up, Brian was surrounded by art. His father, William Batt, was a well-known interior designer, accomplished draftsman, and architectural artist who kept a serious art collector. The Batt home was filled with paintings, etchings, lithographs, sculptures and crafts. Brian’s Aunt was an origami master who lived in an artists’ colony in Washington State. Brian has always loved the visual arts and never considered doing anything else. His self-assurance was only furthered by his regular exposure to artists and gallery owners.
As graduate of the Hartford Art School in Connecticut, Brian majored in illustration. He also spent time studying in London. He took his first painting course at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts while still in junior high school.
Brian paints as much as he possibly can and often allows work to dominate his life and force him into welcome reclusiveness. “There are so many amazing artists all over the world doing various things, and I feel like it’s my responsibility to be as productive as possible.”
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