“I clearly and seriously believe the human form is the highest and most meaningful subject matter to consider for art”
Les Satinover is an American figurative artist whose primary concern is “to capture the figure, primarily male, through this prism, evoking strong emotions for the viewer in the encounter of Flesh and Form”. Even though idealized male figures stand out in most of his paintings, also landscapes have an important presence. He moved to Austin, Texas, a few years ago —from North Scottsdale, Arizona—, and this change of environment had an impact in his creative process.
His work is colorful, realistic, honest and beautiful. Satinover’s techniques show a background in art studies: in the 70s he got an MFA and a BFA degree in Painting and Drawing, and since then he has participated in several art shows and earned many recognitions. However, he worked for 36 years in a successful parallel career in corporate retail design. It wasn’t until 2012 that he retired and decided to work full-time on his own art.
In this interview, Les Satinover shares with PoseSpace how he got into art, which artists have inspired him, how Austin’s landscape has influenced his work and his thoughts regarding the male body in art:
When did you first know you wanted to become an artist?
My earliest inclination as a teen was exclusively creative leaning and I began drawing in pencil and pastel, graduating into watercolor (I received a junior high school summer watercolor scholarship to Cal Sate Northridge, CA). Before I could drive, I took my bicycle to the local library after school, poured over every artist monograph and art history tome, checked those out that met my interests in representational subject matter, and would go home and make studious copies. I intuitively selected great master work such as the still-lifes of Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, and the domestic interior scenes of Johannes Vermeer, that captured all the jeweled light and interior spatial evocations that stir me to this day. I simply remember that I ALWAYS felt that I would be an artist, so there were never any inner conflicts as a young man or frustrations in trying to settle on a purpose in and meaning for my life.
A few years ago you moved to Austin, has this new location influenced your work? If so, how?
This is a perfect question in light of my recent work and one that I submitted to you – wherein I incorporated my own self imagery and two models from your catalogue. The Austin Hill Country is simply resplendent with verdant landscape, rolling hills and oak and cedar trees, that are expressive and abundant. I painted my self portrait as a take on an artist with models in the natural setting of the beautiful Lake Travis area. The area’s sunlight, water and rocks is quite breathtaking and parallels my imaginative panoramic expressions of western landscape coupled with pairing forms in deep space. And Austin is also a hub of creativity, artistic expression and a certain degree of open-mindedness.
In an interview for LandEscape you mentioned that you want to “push for the acceptance of the nude form”. What challenges have you faced working with the nude figure?
I clearly and seriously believe the human form is the highest and most meaningful subject matter to consider for art. Throughout many centuries preceding the 20/21 century, in western art, male nudes as a classical subject was de rigueur and a large part of the canon and studio/atelier practice. I want to strategically bring back an acceptance of the male form particularly along with the appreciation of its beauty and majesty. That being said, there is still a social inhibition that attaches shame to representations of men without clothes. So, my work is honest, but not prurient!
Do you have a favorite PoseSpace.com model or book?
I can’t say that I do, however I think your service and quality in the provision of source material is invaluable.
Do you have any shows or activities on the horizon that you’d like to tell our readers about?
I was in a show late last year at bG Gallery in Santa Monica California.
How do you view the state of figure art in the current art culture?
I think figurative art today is expansive, rich, sometimes steeped in a classical pedigree, inventive, infinite in possibilities and exciting!
What advice do you have for amateur figurative artists who have a special interest in the male figure?
The subject matter is still a pretty tough sell to commercial art galleries, but I am fortunate in that selling it is not a dictate for the work I love and do.
I retired from a 36 year career in corporate retail design and went into my full time studio practice in 2012. I work entirely in service of my own vision without the financial requirement to make sales. Validation is an extra. What comes after that is fate.
Painting by Les Satinover (image shared by artist)
Les Satinover’s website: http://les-satinover.squarespace.com
Interview by Andrea Miliani