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  Howie Green Interviews

Interview by Bethanie Jones White for art project for British Little Heath School

My first question is why the use of vibrant colours?

Well I grew up on Walt Disney and "Yellow Submarine" and as a child of the 60s I was literally surrounded by the explosion of colors in pop culture so I guess it just seeped into my artistic DNA. Plus the huge influcence of comic books, Andy Warhol and Peter Max made lasting impressions on me.

As I studied color and learned about how color works in art, (especially from Fritz Trautman who was recently the subject of an exhibit at the University of Rochester Memorial Art Gallery for which I was a consultant) I started to totally mess around with how I used colors and learned how to make them dance, tease your eyes, mess with depth perception and all kinds of fun stuff.

When did you first start to develop this style and what inspired you? Was it self inspiration or perhaps another artist?

I was always drawn to comic books and loud colors but in arts school I studied color theory through the works of Joseph Albers and learned a lot from him. I got to meet him and spend time with him in 1967-68 when he came to my school to do a mural over the summer which was enlightning. Then as I stretched my artistic exploration I became obsessed with the Impressionists especially Monet and Pisarro whose work with color still blows my mind. I go the Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston regularly so I can stand in front of the Monets and the Pissaros an the Van Goghs and just take them in. It like getting a battery recharge for me. I have been studying those paintings for 40 years now up close and personal and I still am physically moved every time. I have a very visceral reaction to art and I think that looking at art, I mean realllllly looking at art can change our DNA and literally rewire our brain circuits. Its just my theory but I think its true. For me standing 6 inches away from a Monet painting and looking at the colors and the brushstrokes is the best medicine of all. It will cure whatever ailes me.

I have the same reaction to seeing a lot of Warhols or Peter Max art too. I got to work with Peter back in the late 80s and early 90s on a number of projects and I always go to his art showings whenever I can just to bath in all that color and glory. Love it love it love it.

And I keep a DVD copy of "Yellow Submarine" close by so if I am ever feeling down I watch it and it never fails to inspire me. There is more art packed into that 90 minute film than in most museums. The man responsible for that movie is Heintz Eiedleman who just died last year. A genius pure and simple.

Another question i would like to ask is what is your choice of material/materials? Why this particular material/materials?

Oh I use anything I can find. Right now I'm using a lot of Sharpie Poster Paint Markers because I love the bright colors. I can't use oil paints due to my allery to turpentine so I have always used acrylics, pen and ink, pencil, makers, watercolors - whatever suits the art.

Also what is the basis upon which you chose the celebrity to do? The most famous people, the people that most inspired you?

I always choose my subject by the quality of the face. I never grow tired of the landscape of the human face and celebrities just happen to have great faces. Not all my subjects are celebs, I have done a lot of private portrait commissions. But for my personal work I'm always on the lookout for a good face.

I can see from your gallery on your website that you mention influences from artists from many different genres. Is there a particular time period that you prefer?

I love a lot of younger artist and I collect a lot of art from all different age groups. I am currently obsessed with designer toys and the artists that get to do them. Dunnys and Munnys and such are so much fun and a whole new generation of artist has come to the front of the scene creating these art toys. I love the work of Frank Kozik, Mist, TooFly, Tara MacPherson, Julie West, Mad'L, Friends With You, Buff Monster, Ferg, VanBeater, Tristan Eaton, Brandt Peters, and tons of others. I also love Steve Kaufman (who just died this year) and have a lot of his work.

I have a very open mind about art and I like all kinds of styles. John Singer Sargent and Buff Monster have nothing in common but I love them both.

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