First Im­pres­sion Greg Hilde­brandt

Greg says he hasn’t nailed a paint­ing yet. We re­spect­fully beg to dif­fer…

ImagineFX - - Artist insight Foreshortening -

What do you con­sider to be the first pin-up im­age you cre­ated, and why do you think you are drawn to paint women?

The first paint­ing I did in my Amer­i­can Beau­ties se­ries of 40s -50s pin-ups is called Emer­ald Evening. Why I paint women is an in­ter­est­ing ques­tion and the an­swer is so sim­ple: they are beau­ti­ful and I love to paint beauty.

Which pin-up artist was your first artis­tic crush on and why?

Gil Elv­gren. As a young boy of eight I saw my first Elv­gren pin-up cal­en­dar in my grand­fa­ther’s base­ment. I had no real clue what I was look­ing at, but I knew it was amaz­ing.

Do you have a rit­ual for when you start a paint­ing?

If you are ask­ing me if I have to chant be­fore I paint, the an­swer is no. If you are ask­ing me my process, that’s a dif­fer­ent story. I do mul­ti­ple rough sketches be­fore I choose a pose. Then I get a model and take my pho­tos of her in cos­tume. Then I do my fin­ished sketch that I’ll trans­fer to can­vas. Then I sit down, mix my paint and be­gin.

When did you first re­alise you wanted to be an artist?

I guess I never re­alised I wanted to be an

I was never sat­is­fied with any­thing I ever did ar­tis­ti­cally. That is what kept me go­ing

artist. Art chose me, I did not choose it. My ear­li­est mem­ory of do­ing art was at three years old. My mother told me years later that my brother and I were colour­ing in the lines at three. She said she was amazed at the fact we would sit for hours at that age and never get bored of colour­ing.

Do you re­mem­ber the first im­age that made you think you’d nailed it?

Un­for­tu­nately, I will be 75 in Jan­uary, and I’ve not nailed it yet. But I keep try­ing. As far as pieces I’m re­ally happy with there are a few of my Amer­i­can Beau­ties that I’m very par­tial to: Emer­ald Evening, Ho­tel Nights, Ledge, Lady in Red, Yel­low Rose of Texas, Made in the USA, Hot Rear Ends, Amer­i­can Beauty, Lip­stick, Cast­ing Couch, Sci­ence Gone Wild, Grease Mon­key, Sud­den Dan­ger, Mad Sci­ence, Satur­day Night Spe­cial, Dou­ble Vi­sion, and Smooth and Sen­sual.

What was your first pin-up com­mis­sion?

I started the Amer­i­can Beau­ties se­ries for my­self in 1999. The first pin-up com­mis­sion I did for a client was in 2009 and it was called Thoughts of Mid­night. I painted a girl on the nose of a 1943 P-38 Light­ning WWII aero­plane, for a col­lec­tor of WWII war­birds in Texas.

What was the first bit of praise that you re­ceived that spurred you on?

Af­ter I fin­ished Emer­ald Evening my agent con­tacted Lou Meisel. He wrote the book The Great Amer­i­can Pin-up. He knew my fan­tasy art. When he saw my first piece he said it was amaz­ing, and the next thing I knew I had a one-man show planned at his SoHo gallery. All I painted for a year was pin-ups for that show.

And your first knock-back?

I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but I re­ally can’t re­mem­ber one. There were al­ways changes that clients wanted and you made them. That was my job and I did it. If any­thing, I was never sat­is­fied with any­thing I ever did ar­tis­ti­cally. That’s what kept me go­ing all my life.

What ad­vice would you give to artists start­ing out?

Never quit. Never pay any at­ten­tion to crit­i­cism un­less it’s con­struc­tive. Learn some­thing new ev­ery day of your life. Be pas­sion­ate about your art and al­ways give 1,000 per cent of your ca­pa­bil­ity to what you’re work­ing on.

Who’s the first artist that you turn to for in­spi­ra­tion?

I could list them but I would take up your mag­a­zine. They stretch through time and through gen­res and through medi­ums and each one is a gift.

If you could go back to the start of your ca­reer, would you change any­thing?

No.

What was the last pin-up im­age you painted, and were you happy with it?

The last paint­ing I com­pleted was last week and is called Go­ing My Way. And yes, I am happy with it.

Emer­ald evening

This im­age is part of Greg’s Amer­i­can Beau­ties se­ries, and is one of the artist’s favourites.

dou­ble vi­sion Lux­ury cars and glam­orous mod­els have long been used in ad­ver­tis­ing im­agery, but Greg’s pin-up art­work takes the con­cept to the next level.

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