Friday, August 3, 2012

BONUS ARTICLE - Paul Yanko - Seminal Work

Form All Form - 60" x 60" acrylic on canvas - 2005
Paul Yanko

Artists who work long enough and seriously enough can always tell you about a particular work or series of works that have been seminal to their total body of work.  The work may be important based on theme, process, construction or any combination of the elements that go into making resolved work.

I ask Paul Yanko to tell me about a seminal piece.  If you missed the full profile I published about Paul, check HERE to read about his work.

Form All Form - detail

Siminal Work

PAUL:  I selected Form All Form as seminal because it is among the first paintings that I completed after relocating to SC in the summer of 2004.  Although I had been working with similar types of media and processes in Ohio just prior to the move, I feel the final outcome of this piece was uniquely influenced by a set of circumstances presented by my new working environment.  

Having the physical distance between my former colleagues and faculty advisors in the Cleveland, OH area was liberating.  Many of them knew me as a student and then as an emerging artist within the community.  It was easy to feel self-concious when attempting to evolve work beyond the set of influences that I had received as a graduate student at Kent State University.

Concerning this particular painting, I feel that I was finally able to "push back" prior influences and undertake a new direction with confidence.  I directed my focus on refining the use of masking techniques that remain integral to my working process.  I also began to use acrylics and acrylic mediums exclusively at this particular point.  My palette was undergoing some change and shifted from the use of intense, saturated color toward the use of pure white and more heavily tinted mixtures.  In retrospect, I could not have made this work in my former studio in Ohio.  My mindset would have been very different and the work would have evolved along a very different trajectory.

Side Story

This painting was almost destroyed by basement flooding that occurred during our first summer in SC.  The bottom six inches were submerged in a slurry of water and red clay.  My work had been "baptized" and I feared that every summer would entail placing our belongings on buckets and bracing for several inches of rain.  Now we're hoping for some sustained rainfall.  In 2006, the piece sold to a couple living in Sarasota, Florida and is part of their personal collection.


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  1. Thank you, Terry, for this bonus article. It was interesting to read that moving away from Ohio was liberating for his art.

    1. You just never know what the aspects are in our lives that impacts our work the most! Thanks for commenting.