Who or what was your greatest influence in determining your pursuit of art as a career? RC

Cancer was my crucible. My experiences with it at 18 years old and again at 27, dismantled, and then ultimately sharpened my focus. In recovery, I found myself painting to explain myself to me. The work was dark, yet therapeutic and led to a place of refuge. I was always involved in creative activities as a child, ‘making’ things with my family, whether that was bread, or clothes, or paintings. My stepfather and I communicated in drawings we drew ‘at’ one another with greater ease than through the spoken word. One of my closest friends as a child was Rose Edelglass, an 85-year I used to hang out with three 3 days a week. We’d study her garden, its’ colours and shapes, and walk, hands folded behind our backs, talking about things that we would draw together. AO
 
Who are your favourite artists (and why)? RC

Franz Mark for his love & focus on colour and movement. Egon Schiele for his acute sense of the essential and sensual quality of his subject, particularly in his landscapes. Gustav Klimt’s fantastical explorations of his subjects’ dark beauty & fearless use of metallic's. Nicholas Roerich for the homage he pays to the spiritual world in nature and the vibrancy of his rendition of it. AO
 
Do you use prepatory work (sketches, photographs) in your process or do you just dive right into the paintings? RC

I’m inspired by nature. So I try to make it my starting point as often as possible, whether that be to hike up a mountain, swim in a stream, or watch a bird. Having found a place or subject I want to paint, I go away and mix palettes, trying out colours, normally in acrylic. I’ll then return with the palettes & start working, putting paint straight on canvas, and capturing the rawness. Nature is infinitely smarter than I. Any pieces painted in situ have a particular spontaneous immediacy, which I treasure. Some canvas’ I’ll continue to work on back in the studio, some images I’ll rework on another canvas in oil, or make larger. I rarely use photographs, but they can be a very useful back up. I prefer to go back to the spot, even if it is winter & jump in the water, or hike up the mountain, to allow me to accurately portray that which inspired me to capture it in the first place. AO

 
What are your primary criteria for a successful painting? (your work or any work) RC

A successful piece is accurate in capturing the essence of its subject. An emotion should be felt. Clarity of intention, with a respect for colour combinations and composition, enhances the essence, allowing for a connection and thereby a relationship, to be made with the image. AO

You have an interesting way of combining elements of expressionism with more traditional forms representation.  I'm thinking of the painting "Hawk Perches - Blue" (shown at top of page) where you have clearly rendered the bird in outline over a dynamic ground of vivid blue which has been energetically applied to the canvas.  For clients not used to engaging work with seemingly disparate techniques, how would you use your definition above to interpret this painting? RC

I wanted to retain the power along with the majestic presence of a bird of this character commands.  There is something magical, even shamanic, about hawks. I have always had a close affinity with them. Merlin the Arthurian wizard was fabled to be able to turn into a hawk. Which connotes mystery and shape shifting. The layers of ultramarine is used to invoke the etheric nature of a Hawk as protector. The technique of applying it in heavy brush strokes is to give it a sense of strength & movement. AO
 
Many times for the artist, the experience of making their work, the thoughts, ideas, environments etc., is as important to them as the final product.  How much do these internal factors affect your work and do you feel these processes end up on the canvas in obvious ways or do they tend to contribute to the whole in a more subtle way? RC

I try to be clear about what I am saying while painting, so it will be clear of me when I have finished. I enjoy the medium of paint for its texture but also for its calming nature and the headspace it allows. I set out to create a portal. The final product is the relationship the painting has with the world. It doesn’t exist unseen stored in a cupboard. It matures with a client when they live with it, associate with it, and meditate on it. Walking the hills, sitting with a young boy with a rabbit, are but moments in my day. As important, is the mixing of the palette and gesso painting of the linen fibres. I am just a small part of a paintings life. I have a lot to do with it, but once the painting can stand up on its own, I’m proud to see it graduating to independence in an exhibition and becoming something else with new eyes. I try to be as clear as I can be, so that I do not get in the way of the paintings relationship with others. AO
 
Agamemnon Otero
July  2008

Agamemnon‘s solo show at the BAYVIEW GALLERY, ran from September 12th to October 4th, 2008.
58 Maine Street 
Brunswick, Maine 04011, USA
Tel +1 (1)207-729-5500 or 800-244-3007Hawk_Perches_-_Blue.htmlhttp://maps.google.com/maps?client=safari&rls=en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&um=1&q=Bayview+Gallery,&near=Brunswick,+ME&fb=1&cid=0,0,3598285316845413099&sa=X&oi=local_result&resnum=1&ct=imageshapeimage_3_link_0shapeimage_3_link_1


An interview with Robert Colburn - curator

Bayview Gallery, Brunswick + Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine, USA

Hawk Perches - Blue

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Agamemnon’s interview with the guest curator at the Bayview Gallery, Brunswick Maine,

where he is to hold a solo exhibition from September 12th to October 4th, 2008