1. What possessed you to create this picture?
First, I would ask you to refer to my artist's statement on the website: www.randyakers.com
In this particular case, I started with a crude little thumbnail composition done roughly in pencil (about 2 x 3 inches). I trust my drawings implicitly and they allow for me to deal with intuitive compositional elements quickly. I try not to rely on the drawings too much, but in this case I did. This was a hard painting to do because it had a life of its own and went off in several directions and was difficult to wrangle. I kept having to simplify the shapes and paint over excess brushstrokes and unrelated shapes. I carve into the painting with chisels and razor blades to accentuate the surfaces and provide patina and "age". This process is basically "scarring" the painting... much like life. The sites that I paint have those scars as well, because of history and culture. These paintings don't come easily to me and this one took the better part of a month. It is a struggle, but as the painting starts to take shape, it is a really euphoric feeling.
2. What does it mean?
The meaning is somewhat ambiguous and open to interpretation. I paint to classical music on NPR and the music definitely influences my painting. Many people call this "synesthesia". You might want to Google it. Hopefully the red and warm colors stop people in their tracks as they react. When I was three or four years old, I found a gallon of unused red paint in the barn and began painting our white house red. I have always liked the intensity and psychology behind the color red. You might Google that as well. The shapes in the painting are all interconnected and certainly flattened out. You might even say like a map or aerial view. I title my work based on places I have been to or seen...even in my imagination.
3. The history and purpose of this artwork to the community.
I live in Savannah, Georgia on a small island called Skidaway. My wife teaches Sociology at Georgia Southern University about 70 miles west. When she makes the trip weekly there is a spur road off Rt. 16 called "red church road". I was fascinated with the name as we passed by it numerous times. The land there is mostly cotton fields and farmland. The immediate area is poverty stricken and flat, flat, flat. There is a history of migrant farm workers and slavery and of course religion. All great cultural ingredients to incorporate or think about.
4. Explanation and illustration of the processes used in creating this artwork.
Every contemporary artist wants to develop his/her own personal visual vocabulary. Very important! I constantly look for unique ways to apply the paint and change the surface. I paint on thin 1/4" plywood glued to my own fabricated stretcher bars. This allows me to stab and cut the surface without damaging the surface (like canvas). I can be much more aggressive with the act of painting, using whatever tools at hand. I have used grinders, belt sanders, pneumatic chisels, etc. Sometimes I smear the paint with my fingers because it takes me too long to pick up a brush and clean it and I like the immediacy and spontaneity. I paint thin to thick. First thin tentative watery washes layered on top of layers. Finally as the painting is nearly finished the paint is much more opaque and confident. I will stare at the painting for days sometimes trying to figure out what to do next. Many times it remains on the shelf for months before i figure out how to "fix" it.