Editor’s Letter | Ambition & Dedication

Thoughts on the next generation of artists

By Kristin Hoerth

Samantha Buller, Hicks Valley, oil, 20 x 20.

Samantha Buller, Hicks Valley, oil, 20 x 20.

It’s always a joy to work on our annual “21 Under 31” story, which appears in this issue beginning on page 102. The best thing about it, of course, is the pleasure of discovering previously unknown young artists and admiring their talent. But in the course of putting together this question-and-answer-style article, we also get to be entertained by both their wit and their wisdom—to glimpse their personalities as well as their creative lives.

For example, we learn a little bit about the perils of painting from Darianne Whitt, whose pet peeve is “dotting light-colored smudges on the canvas with my pinkie finger as I steady my hand for detailed areas. Then suddenly realizing it and having to carefully wipe the smudges off.” And speaking of painting habits, Anna Rose Bain confesses to this quirky trait: “I sometimes jump up and down while I’m painting, either out of absolute joy because I’m having so much fun, or out of frustration.”

Tyler Murphy tells us about his goals for painting this way: “I want my paintings to tell the story of my life and my time. In order to get this kind of subject matter, I force myself to seek adventure—going on big, ridiculous hikes, jumping out of planes, or car-camping in Wal-Mart parking lots.” Samantha Buller shares one of her mantras: “Plan to be determined, not deprived. I have food sensitivities, and it is supposed to stop me from eating the things I shouldn’t eat.” I would say that mantra could apply to life in general, too.

Ultimately, ambition and dedication are the words that come to mind most often when I think about this talented group of artists. I am impressed at the depth of commitment they have made to their careers and the goals they have set for themselves. When asked about a second-choice career, many said that there’s really no second choice at all. And Holly Mathews summed up the collective attitude with these terrific words from Chuck Close, which is one of her mottoes: “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process, they come out of the work itself.” Here’s wishing these artists every success.

Featured in the September 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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