Art Bacon gave advice to aspiring artists at his Gallery Talk on Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the International Arts Center.
Surrounded by his exhibit “The Art of Art Bacon,” Bacon, former dean of Talladega College’s science department, seemed to connect well with the students and faculty as he discussed various topics, including his inspirations and his artwork.
During the talk, Bacon discussed his influences and other artists, mentioning David Driskell, one of his teachers at Talladega, Jacob Lawrence, Charles White and, of course, Leonardo daVinci.
“Well, everybody likes da Vinci,” Bacon said. “That also evolved over time — what artists I like.”
Among other subjects, Bacon touched on his artistic process, his poetry, his opinions on his own artwork, and his favorite subject matter: people.
“I’m very critical of my work,” he said. “If I have paintings hanging in my gallery I don’t like, I go around with a pad and write down what I don’t like about each one; then, I take those paintings I don’t like to my studio and revisit, unless someone comes up and likes them.”
“He was really humble,” said Thai Hyunh, a senior graphic design major from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. “(He) talked in a very natural way, very close to us and friendly.”
A successful scientist, Bacon discovered a new species of protozoa during his doctorate studies at Howard University, and has since authored several successful grant proposals, according to his website.
Bacon’s practice in scientific illustration influenced his later artwork, which he resumed at his alma mater, Talladega College.
However, he said he always found his true calling and passion in art and left the academic world to pursue art full-time.
Bacon is now an artist in residence at Heritage Hall Museum in Talladega.
“What really resonated with me was when he was talking about don’t just stick to one thing, you know, if you have two passions, try to integrate them,” said Carolina Hechart, a senior graphic design major from Oxford.
Starting with black-and-white ink drawings, Bacon expanded his technique and now works in a variety of styles and mediums.
“I would say that he’s kind of well-rounded because some pieces are just in ink, some pieces watercolor, you know, a lot of his pieces are in acrylic, and I do think that he likes, you know, the clean lines, loose lines,” said Jada Sipp, a graduate student of management and IAC receptionist from Memphis, Tennessee. “Very versatile.
“There’s kind of a little bit for everybody.”
George Holmes, a senior graphic design major from Hurtsboro, was one of the students who got a chance to interact with Bacon personally during the installation of the artist’s work.
“He’s a really fun person but also like really knowledgeable, you know,” Holmes said. “Everything he has to say, you can pretty much learn from.”
Holmes said he appreciated the sense of realism in Bacon’s work.
“Not like photorealism, but as far as facial anatomy, you know, you can see the wrinkles, you can see the details — it’s real,” Holmes said.
On the other hand, Bacon provided his perspective on today’s art students.
“The artists are, I think, better, and the students are more aggressive and independent and more reliant on technology,” he said. “We had to be led by teachers.”
Bacon’s artwork, which will be on exhibit in the IAC from now until April 23, includes pieces such as “Rising Up,” “Continuance of Violence,” “African Fetish” and others.
“I love it,” Hechart said about Bacon’s work. “It’s usually not what I’m into, but something about it is captivating, just like the looseness of his work.”