"When I can hear a painting, I know it is finished - the dialogue has finished. I feel the wind in the air. I can taste the scene. That is how I know a painting is finished."
- Curtis Wallin
Wallin is a polymath American artist whose art spans from painting, sculpture, and public art to scenic and interior design. Wallin’s first West Coast solo exhibition at Radian Gallery in San Francisco (Nov - Dec ‘18) and the Healdsburg Art and Wine Festival, Summer ‘19. Recently his paintings have been shown at the National Arts Club in NYC and in Leipzig, Germany. Wallin’s public art has been featured in The Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Center in NYC, (sculptures and garden design), DUMBO arts under the Bridge Festival, NYC. The Thomas Cole House, Catskill NY, selected one of his paintings for a commemorative card set.
Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine named him one of three to watch and NYC named him one of the top 150 artists in the city in CURATENYC, He has designed scenery and projections for the San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Cabrillo Festival of Music in Santa Cruz, The Austrian Cultural Forum, UCLA, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Eos Orchestra, NY Botanical Garden, Peter Yarrow & Friends and consulted on the American musical in Moscow. He is a member of United Scenic Artists and graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan.
To listen, see, respond and create.
To be open and available to all possibilities.
To challenge my safety net.
To create a dialog with another.
To be Fun + Pretty.
To make art full of Power + Love.
To make beauty.
Listening to the Seen
When someone asks me how do I know when a painting is finished, I reply “it will tell you”.
“What does it tell you?” they ask me. “I listen, I can hear the painting. When I can hear a painting, I know it is finished.”
When I am standing in a field or walking by a pile of wood or seeing a cloud - they speak up and say “time to paint”. It is through this repeated listening to the land that has made me realize painting is as much hearing as it is seeing.
I am translating while speaking to them. Quietly over time, an object, a person, or the land will they reveal to you who they are, what they want to be, and where you should go together.
Once on that path, the journey has begun and a beautiful dialogue will transpire between light, color, time, space and movement, combining to create a painting. One has to be open to listen to this conversation to allow the painting to come to life. In that conversation, time becomes the crucial element. A painting is, after all, about the passage of time. A leaf over time reveals its true self; its true shape. Clouds come and go taunting me to paint them when they know they are in the wrong place - clouds like to lie. Branches sway and water breaks and overtime you remember the beautiful parts of the conversation and paint them with the brush on canvas.
I feel painting is as much about writing as it is painting. I see myself as a playwright and approach the artwork as a play, creating a visual dialog with the viewer. I translate my ideas for an audience to be engaged with and bring joy to them. They will listen to the art. I hope they can hear the painting.
“How do I know when a painting is done?” again I will be asked.
When I can hear a painting, I know it is finished - the dialogue has finished. I feel the wind in the air. I can taste the scene. That is how I know a painting is finished.