VAM 36 | Artist Profiles: Edmund Prior

Name: Edmund Prior
Title of work: Self Portrait with Ghosts of the Old Masters

Meet the artists in VAM 36!

Visual Arts Mississauga 36th Annual Juried Show of Fine Arts, at the Art Gallery of Mississauga from January 16 – February 22, received 209 entries from across Ontario. Jurors selected 52 artists to be in the show.

Until the end of the exhibition, the AGM blog will feature VAM 36 artists. Learn about the thinking behind the works in the exhibit, and see the works in person at the AGM!

1.      Tell us about your work in VAM 36. Give us an idea of the conceptual framework you used in creating this piece. What inspired it? Why did you choose to use that particular medium? Why that particular perspective, set of colours, subject matter, etc.

This work is autobiographical in that it brings together symbols of my background and influences. There are symbols of life, death, family, the arts, time, and Florence, where I spent a formative year with the OCAD off campus program. I see myself at age 57 with the ghosts of the great artists that have inspired my life, appearing in the mirror of my soul. ( Vermeer, Raphael, Carravaggio, and Rembrandt). They are my continual source of inspiration for my realistic style, and my oil painting techniques which are based on the study of their works. I picture myself as a child, a pilgrim through my life journey as an artist, pointing upward to my ultimate source of inspiration and final destination which is God.

2.      How would you describe your creative process? How has your style changed since you started, and what do you think is the reason behind the change?

My creative process is methodical, starting with a drawing of the entire composition, transferring it to the canvas and building up a grisaille underpainting. From there I would build up transparent layers of glazes to create broad, saturated areas of colour. At that point I would methodically finish each area, building up realistic effects of light and texture with translucent and opaque colour. Finally I would do adjustments of tone and colour across the canvas, bringing the picture together as a whole. My  direction has remained fairly consistent over the years, but my methods are continually evolving as I am always studying the works of great painters to learn more.

3.      If time and money were no object, what artistic project would you like to undertake? What about this project fascinates you, and how do you think it will engage the viewer?

I would be interested in doing works on a larger more monumental scale. I have many ideas and themes that never get painted because I simply don’t have time. I always have several compositions on the go which I bring up to a stage of completion and then put aside for a time while I finish other things. It helps to work in this methodical way, because I can initiate a lot of paintings, focusing on the problems of a particular stage, and eventually returning to finish each piece when I am able to work out the final steps. As I result I do take a lot of time to coplete a picture.

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