Artist of the Month: Ted Zourntos

Ted Zourntos • Toronto, Canada • www.tedzourntos.com

“If I knew why I create art, I might stop doing it.”

Landscape #6 (oil, enamel, silicone on canvas, 60×72)

My Beginning in Art and Education:
Before even starting school, I recall posing for my aunt as she painted. This naturally sparked my curiosity and motivated me to draw when I was very young. However, I wasn’t allowed near paints until later when I was a little older. (My mother wanted me to be an architect but I got kicked out of my high school drafting class.)

In my early 20’s, I graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design. At that time my obsession was figurative painting, and so I went on to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where I received a masters degree in fine art.

Art as a Profession:
In addition to making art for a living, I teach drawing and painting at the School of Animation, Arts and Design at Sheridan College.

Media and Genres:
I originally used oils and worked from live subjects, figure, interior space etc. Once the subconscious became the primary subject of my work, I began to explore other various media and methods within my art practice.

My process:
With every painting I have an “anything goes” attitude. Since my background is in traditional figurative painting and my professional practice explores contemporary concerns such as surface, abstraction and space, I find myself moving back and forth between representation and abstraction consistently throughout my painting process.

I begin my paintings by thinning the oil with various solvents and proceed to use a hand-mixer to blend the paint to a creamy consistency. The blank canvas lies flat on my studio floor where I then pour various tones of color and trowel the medium with different tools. After the paint dries I stand the painting up against the wall where I proceed to bring forth suggestive shapes and forms within the abstractions. I am most interested in the moments before conception where the abstract globs and surfaces of material are instants from manifesting themselves into realized forms.

The actual painting process generally doesn’t take very long. What takes a longer time is finding the space within the abstractions created by the pours. This particular painting took approximately one month to complete.

On Landscape No. 6:
With this particular painting, I was interested in bridging or drawing a parallel between the landscape of the subconscious and a personal conception of space.

In creating Landscape No. 6, there were surprises and infinite amounts of difficulty, anxiety and desperation as I dragged myself through the process. This attitude toward painting is necessary to bring about the euphoric moment when the space reveals itself upon the completion of the work.

Current project:
I am currently engaged in a works on paper series exploring drawing and collage practice.

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Edited by Cherie Haas, associate editor of The Artist’s Magazine.

Artists of the Month are chosen from our Annual Competition entrants.


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