Friday, February 13, 2009

OPINION: Is there a Vermont style or styles?

This is in response to a question submitted by Sam Thurston and posted on February 12, 2009. Further responses will be posted as they are received.

by Robert Waldo Brunelle JR. , president NVAA

While researching my little book about the History of The Northern Vermont Artist Association I made the startling discovery that very few "Vermont" artists are actually Vermonters! Although I can trace my roots in this state back to 1750, most of my fellow NVAA'ers, both past and present (including the founder of the NVAA, Harold Sykes Knight), hailed from what we old Vermonters called "down country". They were, and are, all flat landers!

I suspect the reason most of those transplanted Vermont artists paint bucolic landscapes is because the landscapes back in their native lands have all been paved over. "Vermont is what America used to be" as the bumper sticker says, and all those urban sophisticates from the big city come here to ski, fall in love with our precious countryside, and decide to move up here when they retire. Which is why Vermont may have one of the highest per capita populations of artists, making it a rather competitive market. Vermont is a great place to make art, but a hard place to sell it!

I suppose the "Vermont Style" would be all about nostalgia. Artists who want to make cutting edge political statements using all the modern art techniques eventually find themselves shipping their work to New York City. Art that is sold around here is for rich tourists to hang over their designer sofas back home