October 15, 2014

INTERVIEW with MICHAEL MENTLER
 
 

LOCATION: Addison, Texas

CAREER: Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Photographer, Copywriter, Art Director, Creative Director, Educator and lastly as a draughtsman/painter/sculpture.  I have owned several businesses along the way, including Hot Buttered Graphics in St. Louis, Long Dog Trading Company and Mentler & Company in Dallas.

EDUCATION: American Academy of Art in Chicago, Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, Washington University in St. Louis where I also was an instructor from 1971 to 1974.

WHAT IS A LITTLE KNOWN FACT YOU WOULD LIEK TO SHARE?
I got booted from high school twice and never officially graduated.  The high school gave me an honorary diploma my junior year at Washington University (Long Story).

WE ALWAYS ASK ARTISTS WHAT ADVICE THEY HAVE FOR OTHER PAINTERS TO DEVELOP, AND EVERYONE WE HAVE EVER INTERVIEWED HAS SIMILAR ADVICE... DRAW, DRAW, DRAW. A FRIEND OF OURS WHO REVERES YOU AS ONE OF THE TOP ARTISTS IN THE COUNTRY DUBBED YOU "THE YODA OF CLASSICAL DRAWING." SINCE YOU ARE 'THE YODA,' WHAT IS YOUR INSIGHT ON 'DRAW, DRAW, DRAW,' AND HOW DO YOU VIEW PAINTING IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE, BY MOST DEFINITIONS, MASTERED THE ART OF CLASSICAL DRAWING?
Drawing:  To all substantive painting the foundation, sculpture and architecture, drawing is.  Of design and all the sciences also the core, is it.  Much more than a pass time or hobby, to draw is learning, to the vault of knowledge the key, it is.
Painting:  To the canvas the addition of color changes the focus from the subject.  Color becomes the subject because color is light.  Of course relationships then becomes the driving force in the painting process the power.  Point, in drawing design is a factor as is, line, plane, and form.  Of course, a black and white value structure, but with the addition of color to the recipe it takes on a whole different dynamic that it dominated by opposing relationships and color space there is.  Design based and color driven, the bottom line is that the focus of my gallery works is.  Yeeesssss.

WE HAVE HEARD YOU GRAB SOME GRAPHITE OR A PEN AS SOON AS YOU JUMP OUT OF BED (MUCH LIKE A LIGHT SABER), AND IN FACT, MAKE IT A POINT TO DRAW FROM MEMORY. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT DRAWING FROM MEMORY AND HOW YOU USE THIS TECHNIQUE TO FINE TUNE YOUR SKILLS?
"Nulla Dies Sine Linea." - The Art Students League of New York's motto - Latin for "Never a day without a line."
My sketchbook journals I draw from master reference (not photos) and from memory in.  With my mind I draw it facing the opposite direction the reference I use, flip it horizontally I do.  To analyze every part of the construction process this forces me.  Learn the most, the three areas where the draughtsman can: drawing from life, drawing from the old masters, and drawing from imagination.  Done for the better part of six centuries, one should try to include a third of each into their studies much as past masters have.  Done over 6,000 pages in my rough book studies and the journey continues, I have.  Me grounded it keeps as well as continuing to put one foot in front of the other.

YOUR SKETCHES HAVE SO MUCH GESTURE WITHIN THE POSES, AND YOU TACKLE THAT WHICH IS MOST DIFFICULT TO CAPTURE FOR MOST ARTISTS. WHY HAVE YOU SOUGHT TO CAPTURE SUCH DISTINCT POSES, AND HOW HAS THIS HELPED YOU TO DEVELOP AS AN ARTIST?
Painting all about movement, it is, capturing or creating the movement, try to draw the dance and the dancer not.  The responsibility of the draughtsman to make the drawing come alive beyond mere representation, is it.  Empathy with the movement in the pose and translate it in a manner that the viewer feels it, one has to have.

  

WHAT ARE YOUR TOOLS OF CHOICE WHEN DRAWING?
Imagine both dry and wet, I use almost everything one can.  Canson Mi-Teintes and Mi-Teintes Touch are my go-to surfaces and the Mi-Teintes Touch boards a lot I like.  Much Rembrandt pastels and Bruynzeel pastel pencils I use.  Yes, hmmmm.

OKAY, WE HAVE ASKED ENOUGH ABOUT DRAWING... WHAT IS YOUR COLOR PALETTE OF CHOICE WHEN PAINTING?
I use a twelve color array.  I primarily use music scale triads.  5-3-4 major or 4-3-5 minors.

WHAT THE HECK IS MENTLER MUSTARD?
Mentler Mustard is a color that I developed for the Royal Talens Rembrandt line of oil paints.  It fills a position close to what a transparent Indian Yellow would fall, but it is slightly less red.  Rembrandt does have an Indian Red in their line-up, so Mentler Mustard is a nice fit for their line.

WHERE CAN ONE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT UPCOMING WORKSHOPS OR DEMONSTRATIONS WITH YOU?
Tsofa.com is where information about workshops and openings can be found.  I am going to be concentrating on doing workshops at The Society of Figurative Arts in Dallas.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, OUR INFAMOUS QUESTION... WHAT IS YOUR NEW WAVE PALETTE OF CHOICE?
I use two, the Academian and the Academian Confidant.  Below is an image of my pigment array, showing why the design works well for me .

-Michael Mentler
www.tsofa.com


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