When someone picks up a brush and begins painting with no formal training or experience, are they hobbyist, amateur? In a time when art intelligentsia is either busy manufacturing new nomenclature to capture new trends, or rejecting all formal classifications (inter or multi disciplinary?) how do we describe the new artist who enters the fray motivated by curiosity or edification?
Consider Macel Hamilton. The designation Folk Artist connotes a lack of education and primitive technique, but Hamilton is an educated professional, and her skill after a very brief time painting is estimable, and "hobbyist" foreswears the dedication she has put to the task. Her subjects are simple: animals and insects, but she has also painted portraits of people. All of it indicates an innate skill of observation and the controlled manipulation of a brush and medium. That Hamilton often paints on unfinished wood introduces a rustic quality certainly, but compare the delicacy of her color in this butterfly and the rougher, more spontaneous marks in the image of a savage rooster improbably named “Cow”.
Clearly some of Hamilton’s work finds its roots in her rural upbringing: “I was raised in the hills of Eastern Kentucky and now live in the knobs of Casey County. I am mostly self-taught and have taken a few day classes at a local community art center. I have been painting for about a year and a half. I began doing art approximately two years ago, teaching my self to draw portraits.”
So if there must be a designation, perhaps Rural Artist would be apt in this case, a reflection of both Hamilton’s background and the sensibility expressed in her work.
Hometown: Liberty, Kentucky
Education: BS, Psychology, ADN Nursing
Facebook: Macel’s Art
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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.