Avant was the Second Prize winner of International Artist magazine’s Challenge No. 106, People & Figures.
Florida-based artist Dominic Avant finds that he is constantly changing, whether it be life changes, new ideas from things that pique his curiosity or an exploration in his style. In some of his latest works, viewers will notice his infusion of impressionism and realism with contemporary elements. He also finds the push of technical components continues to “reinforce whatever emotional response I am trying to convey.”
His award-winning painting Repose, for instance, “strongly demonstrates this with much of the background handled with simple shapes and masses letting the eye flow throughout the painting. I painted impressionistically with abstract elements,” he explains. “The figure, however, retained a more classical realism where I modeled the form.” When painting the work, Avant wiped down and scraped back paint with large brushes, bringing back the simplest mass and state. “In other words, I will always search for the tool to give me the specific effect I need for the emotional response I need in the painting,” he says. “Even before the brush hits the canvas the first time, I am visualizing and planning what I want to achieve and how to do it. It’s beautiful when I am able to manifest exactly what I imagine the painting to be.”
Avant, who prefers to do smaller studies to get familiar with his subject matter, created two life studies as preliminary work for Repose, including Study of Bianca. “I wanted an honest study of the model. Life studies are crucial to help me become familiar with the model’s likeness and the emotional shifts that happen throughout the sittings,” Avant shares. “It is with these studies that I get to understand the model on a more personal level.”
He also has found inspiration for his
work by watching his children explore their environments, especially the shorelines and beaches near their home. Lounging features his son Devin as the model. “I was doing studies of mangroves when I noticed Devin taking a break from fishing,” the artist explains. “I seized that moment. I love capturing my own children in their natural environment.”
That interaction between people and their surroundings is one that runs throughout Avant’s work, and is highlighted by capturing the inner thoughts of his subjects. “I want to create their story at that moment in time. This is what drives my narratives, and I think is what makes me different as a portrait artist and a landscape artist,” Avant says. “It’s the artist’s job, I believe, to always observe and be faithful in painting all of those stories and feelings—both mine and the world I am painting. That spiritual connection between all of it is the gift to the artist and hopefully the viewer as well.”
3Lounging, oil on linen, 30 x 40"
4Repose, oil on linen, 24 x 22". This painting received the Second Prize in International Artist’s Challenge No. 106, People & Figures.