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A Painter's Portrait

Artist Profile

Conor Blackman is a senior at Loudoun Valley High School. His works will be exhibited at Gallery 222, 222 South King St., Leesburg, April 4-28. Visit www.gallery222.com or call 703-777-5498.

Who are your major influences?

To me a big part of being an artist means I am open to the world around me and let everything I see and do be an influence on my art. My influences include painters, photographers, musicians, teachers, friends. They all contribute something to my art even if it is something small.

Who are your major art influences?

Most of my art influences have been painters. I've been influenced by all sorts of painters with a wide range of styles. I remember going to the National Gallery of Art for the first time in fifth grade and seeing a Chuck Close painting and being blown away by it. I felt the same way after looking through books about Monet and Van Gogh back in middle school. When I started painting, which was around ninth grade or so I was doing a lot of very loose impressionistic-type paintings. But I had started getting into photorealism art and was looking at a lot of stuff from guys like Richard Estes, Ralph Goings and Don Eddy. That style has had a big impact on my art so far. But there have also been plenty of artists such as guys like Brice Marden, whose paintings look nothing like mine who have been very influential.

When did you first get inspired to create art? Did you always know that you wanted to be an artist?

I'm not sure exactly when I first got into making art. The best answer I can give is that I have been doing it since I was a little kid, I guess.

What is the motif of the show? What is special about it?

I'm not sure if there is a specific motif for the show. The paintings in this show are all pretty recent, from the 2006-2007 school year so far. That's why these ones are all in the show together. Other than that they aren't necessarily part of a theme or motif.

Where do you do most of your work? Do you prefer a bedroom, studio, outside, lot of light, little light, etc.?

I do pretty much all of my painting in my bedroom, which has evolved over the last few years into a sort of makeshift studio.

What do you listen to when you work? Is it reflected in the work you create?

I'm usually always listening to music when I work. Music has been a big part of my life for almost as long as art. I still play my guitar and try to jam with friends whenever I get a chance. I think its really important for me to do music as well as art because they are so closely related. When I am painting I will listen to anything from jazz to hip-hop. It really just depends on how I'm feeling at the time. Music definitely influences the work I create because I get a lot of my best ideas when I'm listening to or playing music.

Favorite medium to use and why?

I've been concentrating on painting with oils for about the last three years or so.

What do you hope viewers get out of the art show?

I hope that people who see the show can be inspired somehow. I know that I'm always inspired when I go to art shows, so it would be cool to get that reaction from others looking at my work.

Any local community influences in your work?

Living in this area has definitely had a big impact on my work. Although there aren't many landscape paintings in this show I do a lot of paintings that are inspired by the local landscape.

Favorite art work (either own or someone else's):

That is an impossible question for me to answer. All I can say to that one is it's definitely not my own. I've always been sort of a perfectionist and I don't know if I've ever been happy with a painting I've done. It's good in a way because it keeps me driven to continue making better art.

If this is your first solo event, how do you feel hosting your first solo art exhibit? If not how is this one different from others?

This is not my first show, however it is my first solo show and my first show in a gallery, which is very exciting.

Where else can people see your art?

People can check out more of my art at my Web site, www.geocities.com/theconartist2000.

Any future shows coming?

I will be participating in Arts in the Alley again this summer.

How has going to school in Loudoun helped you as an artist?

Going to school in Loudoun has been great because I've had some really awesome art teachers over the years. All of the teachers I've had have been incredibly supportive and encouraging.