I did my first street painting back in 1992. At the time, I had no idea what that little festival in San Juan Capistrano was starting for me, it just sounded like a fun thing to do for a beginning art student. I had never seen a street painting before, although I had a broad notion in my mind of what it was, possibly fueled by a scene in an old movie, “Little Man Tate”. At that first festival there were maybe 15-20 paintings, and I thought it would be “such a great idea” to paint something as if it had broken through the ground, so I came up with an image of Neptune being pulled by 3 horses, coming towards you. Out of that small gathering of artists I won second place, a small cash prize, and a new found love for the medium that, unbeknownst to me, would be a major factor in my life.
When I look back over the years at that simple painting now, it makes me laugh…but I’m also kind of proud of myself! It was embarrassingly amateur, but at the same time, obviously captured at least a few others the way it captured me, or I wouldn’t have won a prize. Life takes it’s funny twists and turns, and I certainly had no clue what was waiting for me around the bend!
Over the next few paintings I sort of turned a snobby nose to those who did more traditional images, such as master copy paintings – so unoriginal in my immature mind – until I tried my first one. It was in the completion of a copy of one of the Sistine chapel panels that I realized just how much work went into making a nice master painting, as well as how much I learned in that one day about light and color and just plain old painting.
The history of street painting is rooted in traditional iconic images, and goes back well over 500 years. 3D street painting is relatively new, with a recognized beginning in the early 1980’s, though I’m sure there were moments in time that one person or another tried something much as I did with my Neptune painting. For both myself and Melanie, while we have become accomplished at 3D street painting, we will always have a love for 2D painting and the traditional images of history. Maybe it is our classical painting roots, maybe it is just a traditional love for history – either way, it doesn’t really matter, we have both learned so much over the years in doing those various copies, as well as 2D compositions, and we have mastered painting in that form, taking what we have learned as skilled painters to that next level of 3D and now 4D street painting, much like we will complete in Thailand next month. The few images here show some of that skill and love and time that we have put into those works. One thing I have always t
old my students, going back to fundamentals does nothing but make you a better artist – I’ve said that from my own experience, as well a