Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Prison Project

I am currently working on what may be my most interesting project to date. I have had many plans and ideas for a new show that would really have value and purpose. I want to create something that viewers can be a part of and feel they have truly gained a new vantage-point on the world. While lots of artists are passionate about politics or social issues, I am less so. My greatest passions are my faith and my artwork. And though the centuries of Western civilization produced absolutely amazing art, I feel that a great deal of contemporary faith-based work is less than impressive. This is not as much of a judgement on other works as it is a caution to myself: if I am going to ask people from all walks of life to view a show inspired by my Christian beliefs, then it better be worth their time.

Let me back up. A few years ago I noticed that fellow members of the art community as well as a large portion of secular society see only flaws and negative aspects in Christianity. Faith inspired work, specifically Christian work, immediately has a negative connotation. I feel that this discussion happens in ignorance. This is no more evident than in pop-culture. I could probably list 10 movies in which the bad guy or ultimate evil is some member of clergy. Now don't get me wrong... humans are flawed and therefore so is the church. There have been terrible things done "in the name of Christ." But I feel that these bad events in history are far out-numbered and should be outweighed by amazing displays of love, selflessness, and charity. Ironically these positive stories are the ones that go untold and are forgotten in society's discussion. These truths inspired this series of paintings from 2008. "The Lesser Apostles" is a group of contemporary, relatively unknown Christian figures who did absolutely amazing things for the world, both Christian and non. If you do not recognize the men, do not feel bad. You are not alone. Very few people to view the works know any of these men, and almost no one knows all three.

I painted the three men with flat gold leaf halos, like that of the saints shown in Byzantine artwork, in reference to my love for art history and as a visual symbol of their faith. Each halo has personalized symbols that help tell the story the the man's life and faith.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is probably the most recognizable of the three men. He is still alive and his services have come most recently in history. Tutu has always defended human rights and campaigned for the oppressed. He has campaigned to fight AIDS, tuberculosishomophobiatransphobia, poverty and racism. He also helped end the apartheid in South Africa. Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986, the Pacem in Terris Award in 1987, the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999, the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2005, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. 
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor who lived and preached in Germany during WWII. Bonhoeffer was openly against the Nazi movement. When the Nazis took control of his homeland he fled to the United States. He felt that hiding was not the solution and proactively returned to Europe. There he helped Jews, wrote many works on Christianity, and even helped plot an assassination attempt on Hitler. He was ultimately executed for his cause.

Frank Laubach was a missionary to the Philippines in 1935. Known as "The Apostles to the Illiterates", Laubach developed a literacy program called "Each One Teach One." His desire to give people the ability to read the Bible has taught over 60 million people to read and write in their own language.

It blows my mind that many people, like these men can change and help the world so greatly without recognition or acknowledgment.


So now I am working on a new show. I have felt that there is a need right now in our country for a greater human connection. I believe there are lots of people who are consistently forgotten or ignored. I have not fully explored where I want this project to go. But I have decided the group of people I want to reach. Prisoners are, in my opinion, one the most, if not the most recluse members of society. Actually they are not even members of society at all. My belief is not that we should all simply pardon every crime ever committed and all prisoners should be released back into the world. My belief is just that these people should not be forgotten. As our Heavenly father will never abandon us, we too should not give up on one another. I heard a prison chaplain once say that the only difference between himself and the prisoners he serves is that the sins he commits are not against the laws of our country.

So in my desire to connect with prisoners, I have been helping an inmate lead an art class... in prison. Once or twice a week I drive out to the prison, go through security checks, have the fence close behind me, and teach art.  

My plan is a very organic one. It continues to change week by week. Nothing in prison goes exactly as I foresee. Eventually, a select few inmates will join me in creating works for a show on the outside (which they will not be able to attend). My focus will be on relationships and brotherly love. Each inmate will also have a message that they wish to convey to the world outside the fence. 

At the moment the inmates and myself are learning some technique and draftsmanship. 

The warden has also allowed us to paint many of the walls of the prison. Here are some of the murals we have been working on.

I am very excited about the project. I look forward to updating this blog about where everything is heading. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Latest for SAGE

These are the three latest paintings completed for SAGE. 

"Abbeville" oil on canvas. 40"x60"

"Avalon Diptych" oil on canvas. 40"x30"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

SCAD video

For several months a film crew has been shooting bits and pieces for a short documentary on yours truly and the two bigger sculptures I created since graduation in '08. Well, it is finished and it turned out great. I don't know about myself.... but the artwork looks great in HD. Im also very proud of my Dad. I think he did a great job as well. Thanks to my friend Jason and all his work, his entire crew, and SCAD for the publicity. Here it is.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cotton Blossom/ Abbeville Pkg-Dye

 These are two more plants painted for SAGE. "Cotton blossom" and "Abbeville Pkg-Dye"

 I have also included some process photos

"Cotton Blossom"oil on canvas. 40"x60"

"Abbeville Pkg-Dye" oil on canvas. 40"x60"


Each painting created for SAGE is a representation of one of their five production plants. One of the plants,"Gayley", was done as a five-paneled painting.  Each panel is 48"x24" making the entire piece 10' long. 

Original Sketch

Finished Paintings

"Gayley" in lobby of SAGE corporate headquarters 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

More Favorites

The Swedish painter, Anders Zorn, and  Danish painter, P.S. Krøyer, are two more artists that I love. The dynamic light and color used in their paintings is so inspiring to me. Here are some of my favorite works from these two masters.

"Hip Hip Hurrah!"  P.S. Krøyer. My dad often references the woman in the white dress from this painting when discussing appropriate color usage for white cloth. 

"The Waltz"Anders Zorn. This masterpiece is one of my all time favorites. I LOVE this painting. "The Waltz" can be viewed at the historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville North Carolina. The painting is great in a book or on your computer screen, but to see it in person is truly amazing.

I have always enjoyed reading about Kroyer and Zorn, but have recently become reinvested in studying their works. Both men painted during the industrial revolution at the turn of the 20th century. Because I am currently working on some paintings of industry and machinery, I have needed to explore paintings involving this subject matter.

Here are two examples of paintings inspired by industry
"Fra Burmeister & Wains Jernstøberi" P.S. Krøyer

"Baking the Bread" Anders Zorn

Friday, August 12, 2011

Interview with SCAD

My alma mater, SCAD got wind of the Veteran's Monument, that my dad and I created, and my Regenesis sculpture. They sent a crew up to get some footage of both works. They also interviewed both my dad and myself. It was a very cool experience because students and employees of SCAD are so professional and talented at their craft. The productions that they put together are only of the highest quality. I have not seen the video yet, but I am very excited. I will post the piece when it is complete.

Some of the crew setting up cameras and  lights


"Sage Automotive Interiors develops and manufactures innovative automotive bodycloth and headliners preferred by automotive manufacturers around the world. We have established a reputation for being on the cutting edge of design and engineering, with technical capabilities supported by world-class manufacturing. With Sage Automotive Interiors, you'll get the same quality products, experienced people, outstanding service and technological know-how you'd expect, plus a new outlook, new options and a fresh commitment to being a truly global organization, servicing customers in every hemisphere and every time zone."

The COO of SAGE came through my gallery several months ago. He purchased a few things and told me of his companies plans to build new corporate headquarters. He said that they would need some artwork and would contact me later. A few months later I began drawings for a series for SAGE. They were very interested in having paintings that represented all five SAGE plants and the employees who keep them running. 

Here are a few of the sketches. 

Painting updates to follow....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Table Top Regenesis

I just got the bronzed maquette back from the foundry. I am very pleased with how it turned out. There are a very limited number of additions. So, if you want to purchase one visit my website, cpatejr.com, for my contact information.

Forest Idyll

As I have mentioned before, my dad is also an artist. Having artistic parents gave me the courage to choose a career in fine arts. My dad's work is displayed all over the south east, but the pieces that I am the most familiar with were, of course, in my parents house. 

This is a painting Dad did of a sculpture in Brookgreen Gardens. I do not know if this piece was painted specifically for my mom or if she just claimed it for herself. All of the women in our family have a habit of "borrowing" paintings only to have them remain permanently on the walls in their home.

Inspiration is often transferred from one artist to another. My dad was inspired by this sculpture by Albin Polasek as well as the beautiful surroundings of the gardens. His inspiration then fed into mine. So, in honor of Albin Polasek and Charlie Pate Sr. I present my version of "Forest Idyll".

Friday, June 3, 2011

Article in TOWN Magazine

Check out TOWN magazine this month to see the write-up about my Regenesis sculpture in downtown Greenville. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Two of my Favorites

There are some works of art that I have always loved from the art books around my house or at the library. But there is a list of my favorites that I have been able to experience in person, that are truly too amazing for a book. 

Here are two paintings that I have seen in real life. These two were already some of my favorite pieces of art and seeing them up-close and in person was an awesome event.
The Daughters of Edward D. Boit, John Singer Sargent. 1879.
This monstrous oil painting is 87.6"x87.6"!!! I saw this painting at the MFA in Boston. After Sargent exhibited a portrait of his mentor Carolus-Duran in the Parisian Salon in 1879 he was commissioned to paint several more portraits. The Daughters of Edward D. Boit was one of these first commissions. 

Floor Scrapers, Gustave Caillebotte. 1875
I love this painting! I'm drawn in by the contrast between the natural lighting from the doorway that reflects off the the wood floor and the workers' skin in an otherwise dark room. I was able to view this painting at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. I loved it. But... this painting was not well received by the public in 1875. Art critics were still looking for paintings of the human form to mimic those of Greek and Roman art. The skinny bodies of these blue collar workers would have been considered off-putting.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hartsville Veterans' Monument Dedication

Veterans' Day, Nov. 11, 2010, the monument was dedicated. The Ceremony was amazing! It was truly humbling to be a part of such a great event and to have an opportunity to show appreciation to all of the Veterans.

Many people came to the ceremony; both military and civilian.

Each branch of the United States armed service was individually honored. Then the flag was raised. 



Major General Cornell A. Wilson, Jr. USMC (Ret.) and many other Veterans were photographed in front of the monument. 

My Granparents, Catherine and Gerald Pate.