Thursday, July 12, 2012

Found Objects II: Bill Colt, Step by Step

Maroon Sunset by Bill Colt
In my last blog, I talked about two artists who recycle materials to create unique art pieces. There’s another artist at Wilde Meyer who also is into recycling, using old newspapers and magazines as a background for his acrylic paintings. Bill Colt goes to antique stores and flea markets to find old magazines, comic books, engineering manuals and random reading material.


Tuskegee's Finest by Bill Colt
Bill’s a corporate pilot, and some of his paintings include pieces of aviation maps, old Pan Am ads and aviation engineering manuals. His collage technique is pretty methodical, as you can see from the interesting photos he was willing to share when he was creating his painting entitled “Estelle,” which Bill was commissioned to do for  Del Frisco's Grille, a new restaurant in Phoenix.

To start, he creates texture on his canvas with joint compound and bits of things like cheesecloth. 




Then, he collages pieces of his printed materials on the canvas with gel medium. In this photo, you can see the vintage ads he uses. I like the one for Duz soap – I think that was from the ‘50s. The blonde woman smoking the cigarette reminds me of Betty in “Madmen!”





As the creative process takes over, Bill draws his image in charcoal (I can still see the Duz ad and Betty.), and then paints with acrylics, covering agood portion of the collage work.


To finish, he glazes his painting with a product that deepens and enriches his colors. Here, Estelle is looking right at us in a very engaging way, and although there is really no correlation between the cow and the old ads, the images work very well together. The owners of Del Frisco liked this painting so much, they commissioned Bill to do another version for their restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Estelle by Bill Colt
48"x48"
The different papers give Bill Colt’s artwork an additional dimension and an element of graffiti. Like Charles Davison, Bill’s paintings can be enjoyed at a distance, and then examined up close to see what’s beneath the paint. That makes these paintings especially interesting to me.