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My Path To Becoming a Full-Time Professional Artist

Frank Wilson

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June 20th, 2021 - 07:51 PM

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My Path To Becoming a Full-Time Professional Artist

As far back as my memory serves me, I was a creative. Family says I was born with a crayon in my mouth. Drawing, building things, making pictures with crayons were an everyday staple in my early childhood. While hospitalized in the eighth grade for some respiratory problems, an Aunt gave me a paint by number set. I did the painting and when it was dry I turned the panel over and did my own painting with the leftover paints. That started my passion for painting in oils.

Marco Lolo Marchi was my high school art teacher and he fanned those flames of creativity in me into a blaze that still burns brightly today. He entered my work in the New England Scholastic Arts Awards program, the most prestigious recognition initiative for creative teens where I was awarded a Blue Ribbon, Best in Show and a Regional Gold Key for artistic excellence out of all works submitted from the five New England States. It was set, there were no other alternatives, against the advice of family and friends I was going to be a professional artist no matter what the obstacles.

At the Art Institute Of Boston, (1968 to1971) I majored in Editorial Illustration and minored in Photography. The Fine Art department did not offer what I wanted. I was focused on realism and the Fine Art Department, as in most art schools of that time, emphasized abstract expressionism. I had no desire to splash, drip and throw paint at my canvas, I wanted to create the illusion of three dimensions on a two dimensional surface in the tradition of the Old Masters. I spent all my spare time studying master works at the Boston Museum Of Fine Art. I continued to learn from Marco while, working in his art gallery in the Greater Boston area during my studies at the Art Institute Of Boston.

I consider Marco the greatest art mentor in my life. I remained in contact with him until his death in 2019. What made my art career possible was the full support my wife gave in my decision to become a professional artist. She married me with my senior year still ahead of me at the Art Institute Of Boston.

I do not think that my passion for art could have survived the many unique hardships that come when one is building a career in the fine arts field. The lonely study, the practice, the endless hours trying to unravel the mysteries of art, years spent gaining experience in seeing and decades spent sharpening one as technical skills are the price one pays for a field in which few, given the number of those pursuing art, find sufficient financial independence. She knew this and has worked tirelessly with me taking care of the 'business end' of our fine art enterprise.

Within a year of finishing my studies, my wife and I opened the Tradewinds Gallery in East Gloucester Massachusetts. While living on an oceanfront estate with the Atlantic just 40 feet from my front door, my passion for the sea grew and I became intimately familiar with capturing the many moods of the sea along with it's complex wave dynamics. A few years later I began exhibiting in juried art shows along the northeast. We moved from living right on the open Atlantic in East Gloucester, Massachusetts to the lush Green Mountains of central Vermont. New subjects to explore in the mountains!

My base of loyal collectors grew year by year and galleries began asking to represent me. Invitational shows followed at several Museums in the Northeast including the New York State Museum (1888-1989). Publishers sought out my work for limited edition prints and over 12,000 prints were sold in Canada. Three galleries in Switzerland represented my sculptures in porcelain.

Commissions for custom work came in and I worked long hours in my studio pursuing my passion. ABC's nationally televised Good Morning America Show did a segment on my work in 1998. Hiking in the wilderness provided the inspiration to create art that reflected the chaos and beauty of untamed areas. The forests, mountains, rivers and streams around me fueled my passion for painting and sculpting. I was living the dream I had since the eighth grade.

In 2002 we moved to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California where, with my son and hiking partner, Adam, discovered the breathtaking scenery in the Sierras. In my hikes and explorations I was deeply moved by the glorious majesty of the western mountains with so much bare rock, such great heights and wide panoramic vistas! Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains became a favorite area for inspiration.

Mural commissions came in from cities, businesses and private homeowners. Galleries represented my works in Gouache (an opaque watercolor) and oils. To keep up with the demand for my work I began offering prints of my work on a variety of surfaces and sizes. My websites opened new opportunities for me to connect with collectors worldwide. I am amazed that my records show that my work is in collections in dozens of countries on five continents!

My passion to create still burns hotly today and my creative output remains very high as I continue to capture in paint and pixels the glories of the natural world that inspires me.

Frank Wilson ~ Member of the International Guild Of Realism. Inducted into the Grumbacher Artist Hall Of Fame.

ARTIST STATEMENT 'My aim is to provide the visual stimulus to reconnect with nature, to renew body, mind and spirit through the imagery that I capture of the natural world with paint and through my lens. I hope that you find an image in my collections that will enhance your life."


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