my journey in art - from beginning to current

acrylic on canvas
24x24 in.

I come from a folk art background and painted in that style from 1988 through 1999. I showed and sold my works at various art shows and shops in Minnesota during those years. I co-owned a consignment gift and home decor boutique in Hastings, Minnesota. I also taught community education classes and conducted seminars for artists and artisans desiring to create a career in the creative arts industry. In 1999, I decided to take some time off from my artistic ventures to concentrate on my personal life, which at that time was going through great change.

Beginning a new journey and chapter into the world of art started in 2004. I was feeling more grounded than ever and missed the process of painting and felt this was the best time for me to re-pursue my passion in the arts. I wanted to completely change my artistic thought process and start something fresh and mentally unfamiliar. I had always been interested in abstract art from an early age, so instead of continuing in my familiar folk art style, I decided that this new artistic chapter would be one that would encompass the abstract form. Instead of jumping in head first and reinvesting in all the necessary painting supplies I began studying abstract art form from an academic view by reading about color, line and artistic movement.  I did sketching along with writing and thinking about what mediums I would like to use. I also thought a lot about what type of artist it was that I wanted to develop in to. I wanted to have a plan on how I would pursue this new direction - both from the perspective as an artist and as a business. I knew that abstract art form was the direction I wanted to take. Every time I looked at abstract art I would feel this excitement and be drawn into the pieces as if I was inside looking out - a feeling that still excites me today.

In 2005, I started developing my portfolio and establishing my style in traditional studio art as well as the digital medium. Acrylic paint is my first choice; I'd start there and often ended up mixing mediums or different elements into my vision. In the fall of 2006, I curated my first solo show at a local Dunn Bros. where I exhibited mostly drawings & paintings, some digital art and photography.

I was enjoying my experimentation with digital art so in 2007 I started to incorporate and focus on this art form a little more. This form of creativity allowed my internal vision to go beyond the paint brush and experience art from the lens of a camera or the bed of a digital scanner. I found this both challenging and rewarding to be limited to the addition of digital texture, color or purposely placed objects via computerized technology. I also discovered that my creative thought process was greatly enhanced with the ability to generate this type of art because I had the pleasure to undo and redo as I wished - I found no other form of art so forgiving. But as I continued to develop my artistic process, digital art was replaced by painting and is now just a moment in time that allowed me to experiment with line and color. It was, and still is, an important tool in continuing my development as an artist.

Between 2008 and 2009 I started experimenting with color more than shape and wanted to paint texture with color. My vision was to create in such a way that when a painting was viewed one would actually see or imagine the texture without physically touching. I developed my process of layering color upon color using only pallet and painting knives. This began my first organized body of work titled "SqUaRe" (U R Square) a series of paintings void of line on 8" x 8" paper. This eventually led to my body of work titled "GreY MaTTer", where I began working on exposed photo (rc) paper, other papers, canvas and board. This series was as much about the definition of grey matter as it was the color grey - I continue to this day adding a painting here or there to my "GreY MaTTer" series because I feel there is no end, and by its very nature and intent will always continue to be an ongoing study of the term for me. I eventually added line to my color process using the movement of music as my muse. My body of work from my Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left series reflects this shift. This is also the point at which I started to become very interested in American abstract art between the years of 1945-1955. I felt that this time period of art saw a shift that really was hard to define in verbal terms; there seemed to be a definite statement about social change. For me I have this image that this was a time of being rebellious and that there was an extreme change or direction that art was starting to take. I noticed that many of the artists during this period had quite different styles that really were neither abstract nor expressionist, which intrigued me so much that I decided to study this period a bit more in depth.

I was painting quite a bit between 2010-2012. Along with much experimentation and jumping from one thing to another I completed two bodies of works “2010-It’s A New Decade” and “Another Generation 1945-1955” This period of time I felt propelled me deeper into my passion of abstract art. 2010 was the beginning of a new decade in this 21st century, a time in which so much was changing in our world. So I continued to focus on my experimentation with the "feeling" of color, line and movement to create a visual texture in my work. But I couldn't stop thinking about abstract art of the past and in particular art of the mid 1940’s to mid-1950’s. I had been so taken with this period of art that I decided to develop a series around this topic. Titled "Another Generation 1945-1955", I wanted to incorporate my "impression" of abstract art of this time frame as I remembered seeing it when I was young, and how it affected my thoughts (as an artist) of abstract art in present day. My goal in that series was to blend a past with a present and to fuse a generation of art from two different decades in two different centuries - which I feel so lucky to experience.

I continued to develop in my style of abstraction working by incorporating the structure of words. For me, words as it turned out, developed into a driving force of energy that produced an end result of movement via color. During this time, my visual and audio awareness of certain words manifested into a structure of color and/or energy. A conversation or particular set of words exuded a certain energy which then became the movement of color used to create a painting. Conversations, lines in a song, a single word displayed on a bill board, blog or book, become my inspiration. When I saw or heard a word or phrase that summoned this energy of color I would write it down or sketch an idea. Just like writing a story, I would piece all these words together and build from there until I eventually had a competed painting and a title for a painting.

2018 has brought with it a bit of a change in my artistic process. I am constructing my paintings with more of an architectural concept. I plan my work by constructing shapes and forms, laying them on the canvas and building from there. My color pallet, while still important, consists only of a few colors, as my focus it to build and layer shapes as if I were constructing a building or designing a space to live in. I place skewed and off-center lines in an attempt to disconnect the flow, yet these awkwardly placed lines seem to balance and connect the space in an oddly exciting and enticing manner. I especially am enjoying the space I am creating within the work, the void - the comma, or period, that pause to breathe in before starting the movement again.

I am as committed as ever to this artistic life that I'm journeying on and as I continue to grow and develop my craft I also continue to live and write my story.

Conquest, journey and self-discovery . . .

For me, it’s not so much about the conquest as it is about the journey that I travel to get to my destination, whatever or wherever that may be. I believe in order to truly experience and discover one’s self means to transform from the inside out. It is important to take time to know and understand your limitations and truly explore yourself in honest rawness; because no greater or rewarding journey can be made than the one of self-discovery by breathing in every moment and living every breath!     ~T. Young

click here to read T. Young's
Artist statement - movement & thought - how I create



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