WKP Artist Spotlight: Grant Neegan
Grant Neegan is a Visual Artist who has dedicated a great deal of time strengthening his artistic abilities. Working predominantly in oil paint and charcoal on canvas, his work expresses themes of bold contemporary stylistic techniques that pushes the boundaries of traditional painting and forms an organic style of modern abstract Impressionism. As an Indigenous artist from Constance Lake First Nation he is now working towards trying to make a name for himself in the Northern Ontario creative community.
As a featured artist within 'Urban Indigi-Nation,' a group exhibition at the WKP Kennedy Gallery in partnership with the North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre, we interviewed Grant to learn more about himself and his artistic practice.
What inspires your art?
Old artworks from past masters of oil paintings and illustrations inspire me.
How do you start a piece, and what steps do you take in your process?
To start off a project, I tend to sketch a little detail on how I want it to be and then I search for interesting photos that resemble the sketch. If it's a larger project I make colour studies to make sure the artwork is ready to put on the canvas.
Is there a specific medium you enjoy working with the most?
I prefer oil paint and charcoal because I think that it resemble me as an artist who’s studied from old masters and illustrators. The medium is a strong base and works well with portraits and figure work.
Tell us about your studio set-up.
Fortunately I’m a full time artist and I have my own space to create my work. It’s filled with old canvas and things that inspire me.
How do you define success as an artist?
Art succession is a big thing that varies from artist to artist, but for me I would say it’s the little wins along my art journey. Things like compliments and people purchasing my work are big milestones.
Are there any artists that you look up to or who influence your practice?
There are hundreds of artists that inspire me and influence my work. From old masters of oil painting such as John Singer Sargent and Diego Velázquez to illustrators like Norman Rockwell and Ferenc Pinter.
Is there a specific work you’ve completed that you are the most proud of?
There have been multiple paintings and drawings that I’ve been proud of, but there’s a lot of work that’s been building to those few works. Some I’ve been completely fine with leaving as is.
Do you have any advice for new and emerging artists?
Dedication and commitment play a big part in it becoming self-sufficient. Also the love of the craft will have you stay longer in this profession and it allows you to enjoy it more.