Backstory – part one

by Bart Baird in Evolutions
Part I   
Bart is an abstract artist. His need to create is because of the need to bring something new into the world, that once did not exist, something that is now is a part of this world, tangible, full of color, intricacy, intrigue, beauty. And it is an extension of him. It is invariably stamped with his inner workings. It is a part of him. It is him.
He grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania and started painting at a unique pre-school at the age of six. Some of his fondest childhood memories are of painting, first thing in the morning, 7 A.M. with a room full of a dozen or so other children, standing in front of their own easels. He remembers that feeling of wonder at what could be created with paint, that he could create something out of nothing, that this blank expanse was about to be filled and come into the world as a thing unique unto itself. Thus he began his journey with abstract painting.
At seven, he learned to draw two and three point perspective. Figure drawing came to him naturally, as did drawing. He could draw anything he could see. He began to excel at art, winning art competitions all through his early school years. At nine, it was his first figurative sculptures. He sculpted throughout his life, on the side, having prolific periods in his mid-twenties and early thirties. Something he do still yearn to go back to. 
After many museums throughout New York and Pennsylvania, he had viewed some great art. Salvador Dali and Hieronymus Bosch were favorites in his early childhood. Then, in 1979, when he first stood in front of a Jackson Pollock painting, he knew…THAT is something that resonates with him deeply. It was incredible that all these images emerged from that beautiful, calculated, chaotic splattering. He would stand there for hours as his young mind wandered and travelled across and into the piece.
By the time he was 19, he was very adept with many mediums, illustrations, cartoons, caricatures, oil paintings, still lifes, landscapes, seascapes (seascape knife painting was a particular early favorite), figure drawings and abstract art of all kinds. Acrylic, watercolor, oil, pastel, charcoal, pen & ink, airbrush…all of it was amazing, and he loved it all. He made art all the time, constantly experimenting with different mediums. He said he recently read somewhere that abstract artists are often very good at all other forms of art, but settle on abstract because of its infiniteness, its mystery, its boundless nature. I think that was very much true for him.
Throughout those years, even after schooling, he continued to study and experiment. He enjoys many mediums, but is most drawn to this one particular kind of painting. His love of vivid colors intermingling, fascinated by what can be achieved with paint. He says, “Paint IS the vehicle for color.” 


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