With thick painterly strokes and a fearlessness with color, artist and history aficionado Joshua Flint knows his way around melding the mystery of the past with bright, unexpected jolts of contemporary style. Flint employs a technique in which he repurposes vintage photos, digitizes them, and applies his own painted patterns over them. His Neo-Impressionist paintings are oft inspired Degas and Manet, specifically the latter’s “notion of modernity with constant instability,” as the artist describes the Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe painter.
Capturing sentiments of romance and freewheeling carousing, the surprising quality of the photographs are their true Frankenstein nature, brought together under the surgeon-like and collagist skill of the artist. The photos underlying his swatches of color enhance the vintage photos with new meaning, imparting a gracefulness to the artwork so as not to lampoon the past.
In speaking about the series, Flint describes the dimensions of his creative process to The Creators Project. He says,“We live in a sea of images with viral videos, memes, and the copious amounts of social networking that everyone does. Digital technology has made time travel possible. Anyone can view photos or videos throughout recorded history in an instant. I’m always seeking photos to add to my organized collections. These collections are reservoirs for constructing the paintings, acting as a kind of scaffolding to layer my ideas on top of. I find them all over: online public archives, digitized museum archives, through social media platforms, in vintage shops, from family members, simply wherever I happen to find them."
After consulting a store of images, Flint may find something that catches his attention. Eventually, he applies his chosen to a digital medium, where the artist will experiment with a single image until inspiration eventually hits him.
“While I’m working digitally I’ll produce studies and drawings as I’m thinking through various aspects of the design. I use traditional tools like gouache, watercolor, acrylic, or any type of dry media for these sketches."
He continues, “there is nothing smooth and consistent with my approach. Many times if I have the starting point of an idea I’ll go right to canvas and let the act of painting take over and guide me along the way. Ultimately, I’m looking for fluidity of thought.”