“Painting has always been part of my environment. I recall very clearly those long, hot summer road trips to far West Texas as Dad would pull the car over what seemed to be every ten miles when beauty caught his eye. This same bigness of nature and the mystery of the coming thunderstorm would be the memory that would eventually draw me into my own digital landscape.”
While he had always enjoyed painting, Grant did not consider art as a career until he attended the Art center College of Design in Los Angeles. As he pursued his studies, he gradually began to realize the tremendous influence that his father had on his work – first, the technical…then the motivation. “Fortunately,” he says, “along the way, I absorbed much of his techniques of mixing paints, paint application, and the painting process.”
“Then, I began to appreciate the more extended education that Dad had given me: an interest in metaphysics. His intensely perceptive mind and picture views of the seen and unseen allowed each of us to think beyond our seemingly small worlds. Being a painter, Dad saw beauty in the physical world and drew passion from the invisible one. It was these same ideas that motivated me.”
In time, his painting became an outlet to explore his own psychological and spiritual nature. Abandoning still lifes and landscapes, Grant focused on people and portraits. Here, he found a vehicle through which he could reflect on the inner side of being human as well as the physical aspects. He had discovered his subjects, and soon, his medium would be in full view.
“In Los Angeles, I filmed a friend’s band, and it turned into a music video for Warner Brothers. The medium allowed me to tell a story through time and to not simply rely on a still image to convey the entire message. It is much more difficult to complete a painting than to complete a film, I discovered. The commanding, still nature of a painting forces me, and finally my painting itself, to work very hard. In video, you have thirty frames every second that can all work together in a sequence to help tell a story.”
“I feel very fortunate that the medium of interactive video was conceived during my time. It provides me a link between two very different media. Through the interactive process, I can provide the viewer with more of the story and reveal the multidimensional reality of being human. I want to convey the tangential lives these subjects live and show the manner in which they have come to the point of posing for their painting. How do they move? How do they talk? How do they sound?”
The process, Grant explains, starts with a painting…perhaps a man walking down the street on a blustery, cold day. Painting completed, he turns to technology to create the sequences leading up to the still canvas image and then takes the man further on his journey with a post-series of digital imagery. Exhibited side by side, Grant introduces us to the infinite possibilities of merging traditional painting with digital technology.
Looking toward the September show, Grant spent the month of July away from the fast-paced digital world of New York City. The Catskills, he knew, were far more conducive to days devoted entirely to painting. The Potter, pictured above, gives a hint of what we can expect from this youngest Collier. “By first impression, you would think that my Dad’s work and my work are very different; but, there is a direct link. His interest in paint, light, science, philosophy can all be seen in my digital work. I realize, too, that Dad taught me the most valuable lesson…the importance of observation.”