Why Are the Guy’s Fingers Webbed?
In the early years of my artistic quest I met two like minds travelers. We were taking those uncertain and tentative steps toward an undefined dream. We knew we wanted to make a life of sorts creating art. Not just any art, but the kind of art that would satisfy our deeply rooted needs to express ourselves. We didn’t want to illustrate someone else’s ideas, we wanted to create our own world through the images and words, and yes, even our music. We explored different materials, techniques and methods. We explored museums, novels philosophies and love. Love was always a part of the journey. There were friends, women, and our families, yes, both births and loss, different forms of love and different forms of expression. We became tied together in a friendship that has lasted thirty years. We have fought and inspired each other, asked questions of each other that pushed us deeper into our individual searches, and I believe I for one would be in a different place had this friendship not existed.
David Aguiar and Jim Charette were 18 and 20 years old when I met them. I was just 21 years old. David is intellectual in his questioning and exploration.
Jim follows the dictates of his heart. Exploring the concepts of order out of chaos, often diving into his own angers and fears to find the muse he aims to appease. That’s not to say his work is angry or dark, sometimes it is, but is just as often hilarious and sarcastic. His bold colors are sometimes slashed, sometimes splashed and even allowed to drip and run. He paint over and outlines, pushing and pulling shapes and contours into focus and eventually allowing a narrative to form and become defined as he scrapes his knives, pulls his brushes, and empties the brown bottle at his side. He will swears, holler and stride across the studio to his digital keyboard and compose spontaneously, while he records his improves and planes his next brushstroke.
David questions. He first asked me “Why are the guy’s fingers webbed?” back in 1983. It’s a question that inspires me with every painting and every tale. He said a creature would need to evolve webbing for a solid reason. That reason in turn would affect other attributes, like clear eyelids or even gills behind the neck. He would question the clothing, vehicles, and decision making of any character he developed. Because of the questioning aspects of his process, he developed a method of creation that lends itself to the modern digital world. Changes are quicker, cleaner and more effective with the click of a mouse or keyboard function. He starts with a hand drawn image. Basic and fundamental in its simplicity. Graphite on paper, retraced with marker on trace, he develops and image to be scanned and manipulated in multiple digital programs and printed on fine paper, creating artwork that expresses his world in an almost scientific manner.
I have spent thirty years bouncing between these two wildly creative minds, being influenced and questioned from two vastly different directions. My own muse demands I start from an emotional response to something I observe and record in some manner. After the first layer of color has been added, in ways that Jim would respond to, I question and correct in a manner that David would. Their opposing questions have a way of defining my own methods in a way that I have found comforting and rewarding. My colors work as they do because of the questions. The shapes are formed because I feel the balance and emotion they inspire. I look at my work and can see the influence of my two friends as though they are in the studio beside me every day. They guide my hand, my choices and even on some days my responses. Thirty years of trust, friendship, and motivation. What more could an artist ask of from two guys he met while checking out the cute girls on the other side of the open studio that was our classroom. And the parties? Well that’s a story for another time, maybe.
A look at some work.....
"Needle" by David Aguiar mixed media
"At the Gates of Big Man Town" by Jim Charette
"Yellow Woods" by C.R. Chuck Boucher oil on canvas