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Art & Life with Ken Scaglia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ken Scaglia.

Ken, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I started painting in high school but never had any formal painting instruction. I learned a variety of techniques for rendering industrial products in a variety of media. After graduation from Purdue University and Yale University in graphic design, I found the majority of my career was in publication design. I often worked on projects that depicted famous artists and their catalogs.

After several years, I found a compelling need to express myself through paint again. I began with reproduction copies of my favorite artists, N.C. Wyeth, Hans Holbein, and Johannes Vermeer. I wanted to discover their brushwork and color mixing strategies. Soon after, I began my own series of still life paintings of meaningful family objects.

I was beginning to find a source of subjects that I could deeply connect to in my work. I almost randomly found 35mm slides of classic cars I had taken at a state fair years earlier. These images sparked a creative energy in me. I had found a consuming subject where I could apply my love of detail and luxuriate in the paints I so loved from years ago.

This began a decade long love of classic car paintings in acrylic on canvas. I found many associations of my work to something called “photorealism” which I now am a full-fledged member of this global painting community.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I paint classic cars in a photorealistic style. The paintings create the illusion of a color photograph. I tend to give myself challenges in my work to keep me on my toes and consistently interested. I work only from my original photographs, only in acrylic and only on canvas. Oil paint and smooth panel are used by many of the best photorealists, but I have found both my limitations and comfort level.

I leave enough of the brush marks in my work for someone to realize it’s a painting and not a photograph. This educates and inspires appreciation in the viewer. My hope is that they connect to the work as art rather than a commercial commodity.

Creating a painting that I’m interested in requires a strong composition, meaning the edges are considered, the color is engaging, the beauty of the car is recognizable, and the audience’s fond memory is triggered.

Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
Yes, I like to say I love acrylics because they dry fast, and I hate acrylics because they dry fast. Luckily, I started with Liquitex acrylics, but now, I stock mostly Golden brand paint. I prefer to work on linen canvas that’s triple primed. I generally find really good canvas off the shelf, but I know other artists who prefer hand-stretched canvas or their own prepared birch panel. I found really decent, affordable frames online. I used to make my own, but I wasn’t skilled enough for what galleries preferred.

I wish I had learned or paid attention much earlier to color theory. Just some basics of understanding color relationships and mixing theory. That would have stepped up my realism more quickly.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Like most artists, I’m on social media, both Facebook and Instagram. I have a website for a broad range of my work. I have a very satisfying relationship with a gallery in Palm Desert, CA called CODA Gallery. They have represented me for the past four years. Palm Desert is just a few miles southeast of Palm Springs where many car collectors store their cars and also like to shop for art.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All images © kenscagliastudios

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Susan Halper

    July 3, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Fabulous article. Love love love your artwork. Simple spectacular

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