It is my pleasure to shine the artist spotlight today on Ari Targownik.
I discovered Ari’s work on Reddit and loved the looseness of his brushwork and harmonious color selections.
Ari is aspiring to become a full time artist just like many of you. I trust his talent will get him there soon enough.
Here is his story.
How long have you been painting and why did you take it up?
My first experience with painting was high school, but I didn’t really start painting until college, so about 19 years - some years I painted way less than others.
My initial reason for picking up painting was, again, exposure in college. But it wasn’t just exposure to the medium, it was exposure to Fine Art itself - learning about great artists from the past, art history, etc. I’ve been drawing/sketching for as far back as I remember, so painting just seemed like the eventual evolution of drawing.
Are you a full time artist? If not, what is your day job?
I do not have a job and I am working towards being a full time artist, but I can’t say I’m quite there yet. I did work in the video game industry doing 3D modeling, concept art, and illustrations - something I may continue to do as freelance work here and there.
Did you receive any formal training or were you self-taught?
Both. The most influential training for me happened in foundation year of college, when I essentially learned to draw.
I’ve also taken a landscape painting workshop, picked up bits from tutorials, books, and learned from trying to figure things out myself.
How would you describe your style?
Because I tend to jump around a fair amount with regards to painting approaches, this can be hard for me to say.
The most familiar thing to say would probably be “impressionistic”, but this is more about me trying to convey a general experience - as opposed to an investigation in light and weather effects. So maybe it’s closer to “post-impressionistic”.
Do you have any preferred subjects to paint?
I often use still lifes as a vehicle for experimenting with different approaches to painting. My preference for what I like in landscapes has varied over time, but I am drawn to strong architectural forms.
I am trying to make more work with the human figure, whether it be from observation, imagination, memory, or a combination of all those things.
Interior scenes can be very interesting to paint as well - capturing the space and the way light bounces off things.
Where do you find painting inspiration?
When I’m inspired by something I see, it’s usually an interesting combination of shapes - something that is either striking, pleasing to look at, or both.
This is often, but not always, caused by light and the way it breaks up a given scene. I am also inspired by other things such as music and movies. When that happens I can get ideas that are usually more imaginative and expressive.
How long on average does it take you to complete your paintings?
An outdoor painting is usually about 2.5 hours, and I will often touch the piece up a bit when I bring it home. Still lifes can take anywhere from 2 to 20 hours, depending how detailed or ambitious it is.
Are there any other artists who inspire you?
Yes, absolutely. Musicians, directors, and of course painters - Van Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse, Diebenkorn, Rackstraw Downes, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and others.