Rick Buttari will be showing new paintings for the month of September and F.A.N. Gallery.
We got the chance to ask him a few questions about his work.
KM: What is your first creative memory?
RB: I remember seeing photos of celebrities in magazines and wondering if I could draw them, or more specifically, what about that flat image on the page translated to a three-dimensional living thing when you transferred it to a sheet of paper. I remember taking tracing paper and tracing the outline of a picture from McCall’s magazine, something my mother subscribed to. It looked crude and mechanical but something made me want to try it again and figure out what kind of marks on the paper would make it seem like that person. Then I started to draw pictures from my own Sport magazine, baseball and football players. Somewhere on a sheet of paper inside a scrapbook I have a drawing of Sandy Koufax, probably the first freehand drawing I made. I guess I was about 10 or 11.
KM: How do you choose your subject matter?
RB: I don’t know if I choose subject matter as much as choose a sense of situation that feels right. I’ve noticed, and been told, that a lot of my work has kind of an objective distance from the subject, like I’m sitting far away and observing, not part of the scene.
KM: Your paintings are so realistic and detailed. How do you know when a painting is done?
RB: I was going to say that I listen for the singing of angels to let me know, but that hasn’t worked lately. I work at home upstairs in a very small studio. When the painting’s in progress I bring it downstairs to the living room and lean it against the television cabinet and look at it from further away than I can get in my studio. When I can look at it and take in the whole image in one gulp without my eye wandering restlessly, I assume it’s done.
KM: What inspires your work?
RB: You know, you spend a lot of time looking and thinking. You look at, say, the light that’s hitting the side of a building and you ask yourself if there’s something there for me, something I can make of it that might be a little different than what somebody else would make of it. Or something that seems so important at the time that you can’t NOT paint it.That’s the whole ballgame isn’t it, trying to figure out what it is that you’re trying to figure out.