Reason or Not
The Colors and Patterns of Artist Stephen Hall
By Alex Starace
South Florida Opulence had an opportunity to speak with Hall about his “Future Nature” series, how he got his start, and his thoughts on the creative process. He came to the interview charmingly flustered, explaining that he’d been in a different mental space, totally lost in his work of painting a hummingbird.
Once settled, he described his interest in drawing as a child, and all through high school. However, despite this, he explained, he didn’t consider a career in the arts until he was on a Kibbutz, where it was suggested that he hang his drawings in the dinning hall, to give the room some cheer. Soon thereafter, a New Yorker arrived, saw the work, and exclaimed that he was an artist. He was surprised – and all of a sudden it seemed possible. Not long after, he left for the East Village.
Hall’s style, which is evident in even his earliest works, reflects his interest as a painter. “I like the fact that I’m playing around with perception of depth using light and color,” he said, “I feel I’m continually evolving, but using this same vocabulary to explore different avenues. It was pretty early that I said, ‘Okay, this is going to be mine. I’m going to use this language.’”
Hall got his idea for the Future Nature series while in Spain, where he was painting a commissioned piece in situ, at a collector’s home. The collector, a keen scuba diver, happened to have a chart of Mediterranean fish. As Hall explains: “And I went, ‘That would be really cool to paint’ … and I also thought [images of fish] would be easier for people to look at and get drawn into the colors and patterns and shapes.”
When asked about how he chooses his patterns, Hall used Shark and Shrimp (Hummingbirds) from the Future Nature series as an example. “In the shark painting, I saw some aboriginal paintings [with] an abstracted leaf pattern . … So I lifted that particular shape, adapted it, and put it in the background. Sometimes there’s reason and sometimes there isn’t.”
Reason or not, Hall’s patterns and images combine to form complex, arresting art; whatever his next project may be, it’s well worth following at www.stephenhallart.com.