An Angle on Art
An Angle on Art
- By: Bob White
jOne of the things I like about Paul Puckett’s artwork is that I never know what’s coming next. Just when I think I have him figured out, he does something completely different. This isn’t to say he’s not thorough; when Puckett goes off on a fun, even quirky, tangent, he explores it in depth before moving on. One consistent thread running through Puckett’s work is that he’s drawn to the outdoors for inspiration, and most of his work deals with fly-fishing.
While most artists want desperately to develop a style by which they can be recognized, Puckett is comfortable with variety. In one interlude, Puckett paints exquisitely subtle landscapes, somehow eliminating everything but the essence of the scene. Then he’s off on a series of impressionistic fish portraits. These come together with a minimal number of brush strokes, and an apparent disdain for the distractions of detail. Next, he’s exploring graphic black-and-white images created with permanent markers. These images have the look and feel of wood block prints, and even in this style the content bounces around from sublimely rendered fish portraits to light-hearted images of cult personalities who are suddenly cast as fly fishermen. One of these depicts John Goodman as Walter Sobchak in the cult classic movie The Big Lebowski. In this drawing Walter scowls from behind his Ray-Bans while he explains “Walter’s Rules” and thrusts a brown trout at the viewer.
Puckett’s talent springs from his multi-layered personality. He not only creates flat art, he is also a gifted musician, fisherman, guide, videographer and storyteller. He says he’d like to be remembered as an artist who created a wide range of work within a variety of media. “Maybe, one day I’ll stick with one thing,” he says, “but for now I want to explore all the possibilities.”
Puckett grew up in Dallas, Texas, and studied the paintings of Mark Susinno and Mike Stidham, whose loose and painterly marks were, he says, “infectious.” Puckett also turned to Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec for inspiration. “I love the energy in his line work,” Puckett says. “Nothing is too smooth, and this jitteriness adds action and motion.”
After graduating from college, where Puckett studied advertising design, he moved to Jackson, Wyoming. He lived there for four years, drawing inspiration from the world around him, and deciding that one day he would paint for a living. In 2003 Puckett moved to Atlanta for a job, and shortly after decided that a conventional life lived in a cubicle was not what he wanted. He resigned, took a part-time job in the local fly shop, and began painting and drawing full-time. Eventually he landed in Charleston, South Carolina, where he now lives, works, and enjoys the fishing.
When I asked Puckett about the future he got a childlike glimmer in his eyes and said, “I’m about to move into a big space where I can work on really large canvases. Big fish portraits, big jumping fish, and I want to do some big underwater stuff, too. That’s the plan.”
If you’d like to track those efforts, visit www.PaulPuckettArt.com, or Puckett’s blog, www.RightBrainRetrieve.com w