I consider myself to be a natural surrealist and although my paintings may at first bring to mind such terns as 'photo-realism' or 'super-realism', but they are in fact, quite painterly. Although they have been tightly rendered to give the illusion of reality, they are unlike the photo-replicative paintings of most photo-realists. When and if I take photographs, I use them as sketches to be used and surpassed, not as goals to be reached.
I am inspired by the simplicity and nostalgia of old neon signs.
I knew a few other artists had done some similar works, like John Badder did an occasional sign included in his Café series, but thought I was the first to do a serious series of oil paintings on Neon signs back in 1984, It has been for me a joyful series to do. where ever I go it is always exciting to find a sign Ive never seen before, or research historical documents and discover signs that no longer exist. it is almost a race against time sometimes as a lot of great old signs are being torn down or disappearing from neglect.
When I discover one that gives me an idea or has what I’m looking for in a painting, I photograph it from different viewpoints, do study sketches to determine angle and composition, and then draw it out on the size canvas that particular image calls for. I'll start painting basic values and hues until the entire canvas is covered. Next, I come in with thick paint using brushwork to sculpt and mix color. I always have the effects of light hitting the canvas in mind and to create depth and atmosphere, I use glazes of various thicknesses and color on top of thicker paint. Glazes create an atmosphere where solid pigments of color are suspended in space. As light passes through and bounces off the thicker paint on the bottom, it also bounces off the suspended pigments, illuminating the glaze, and allowing you to see the color underneath. I use thicker more opaque paint on things that are closer to the viewer. Light stops or bounces off the thick paint but goes through the glazes surrounding the object. This creates a kind of 3-d effect that can be heightened by use of perspective and color. Even objects close to the viewer have varying degrees of depth and thickness of paint.
The time when ordinances were such that sign makers had more creative license has long since passed. Many of these great old signs have disappeared and are disappearing every day. My paintings are a way of preserving a part of history in an artistic, exciting, and contemporary way. They are an avenue by witch I can experiment and continue to grow as an artist. Each painting evolves as new and different from the one before. The neon series has been featured and shown in many galleries, exhibitions, and juried art shows since 1987. My work has received the attention of the news media as the subject of articles and special features, including TV spots and a feature on the PBS television program Tennessee Crossroads. Works hang in private and corporate collections across the country. MORE:
Van Cordle, a former pilot, discovered his innate artistic abilities at age 29. With his natural ability to paint, he taught himself stylistic techniques by painstakingly reproducing the works of artists like Renoir, Picasso, Dali, Van Gogh, and Remington. Not only did Cordle match the brush strokes and highlights of each masterwork, he also captured the dynamism, spirit, and emotion inherent in each piece.
Since 1986 Cordle has concentrated his time and talent on his own original work. Inspired by the simplicity and nostalgia of neon signs, Cordle embarked on a mission to not only preserve a disappearing part of American history in oil, but to capture their form, color, mood, and period in a surrealistic style. 'The Neon Series represents an avenue by which I can experiment and grow as an artist, each painting evolves as new and different from the one before.' However, Cordle's unmistakable surrealistic style, exceptional technique, and command of color and form unite this continuing acclaimed and award winning series of original works which hang in private collections and galleries from California to New York.
Cordle's works have been shown in many galleries, exhibitions, and juried art shows since 1986. He has also received the attention of the media as the subject of articles and special features, Including many TV appearances. Currently he devotes his time to his original pieces, with occasional interludes to complete commissions for portraits and masterpiece reproductions.
Cordle is a native of Kentucky who started his painting career in New Mexico, Atlanta and Nashville