Welcome back! Thank you, so sincerely, for your continued interest in this blog and in local art! Your support is more than appreciated! (I will stop shouting now.) I hope you enjoyed Blaine’s full-length interview. I also hope you will continue to check up on his latest work and continue to send him your support. After our in-depth discussion on his three featured pieces, we moved to the kitchen table for a quick-fire round of “20 Questions.” Informative and riddled with humor, I found it impossible not to smile throughout this short interview. I hope it makes you smile the same! Without further ado, here we go!
“It’s like watching Forrest Gump…” — Blaine Flores on creating his art.
1. What is your preferred medium? Why?
“Oil painting on canvas or gesso board. I like the blending capabilities of oil and the looks of it.”
2. If you weren’t a painter, and still wanted to express yourself artistically, what do you think your medium would be?
“Music. I like music.”
3. Are you a musician as well?
“Amateur (laughs.) I play the ukulele, the accordion, but I don’t play that much.”
4. How long have you been an artist?
“I started painting in 2008.”
5. What does being an artist mean to you?
“I think everybody is an artist. Everyone in the world. Everybody has some kind of a thing they can do that can be artistic, I think. If some of them just haven’t found what they like to do yet… and like, welders are artists, you know what I mean? Because art is not just painting and drawing, it’s a lot of things. Music and dance, crafts and hobbies. Apparently, make-up is an art now… hence all the tutorials. (laughs) I’m just kidding. So art is a lot of things.”
6. Do you remember your first piece?
“I think it was my parent’s wedding picture when I was 5. It was a lot of squiggles for the lace and squiggles for the hair… probably a hand-turkey (laughs)… a unicorn.”
7. Do you still have it?
“Yes, it’s in a box. I want to auction it off.”
8. What inspired it?
“I liked to draw and I liked Mom and Dad’s wedding picture.”
9. What is your most recent piece?
“The Bitterroot Barn in Corvallis, MT for my cousin’s wedding. It’s a historic barn in the valley of the Bitterroot mountains. It’s more realistic than whimsical.”
10. Where else do you find inspiration?
“I like painting the past more than anything. I’ve always been drawn to vintage buildings and always liked antiques. I’m just drawn to history. I’m trying to make it come alive again. I want to start painting more people because I haven’t done much of that, yet. I’ve only painted the Queen, my spouse, my Grandma and now the new one.”
11. Favorite artist?
“Robert F. Morgan. I love his style. He paints how I want to paint. Like old scenes…”
12. How has that artist contributed to what you do?
“I like to think that I am trying to do for Billings what he did for Helena and Montana in general. Paint historical images from photos and bring them to life with color so you can maybe see what Billings looked like back then. He did Virginia City, He did Coulson…”
13. If you could give any piece of advice to a young or fresh-starting artist, what would it be?
“I would tell them to experiment with all different mediums and see what they like best or all of them or just paint what they love. Find their style, their little niche and expand on that. Apparently, mine are like dreams (laughs).”
14. What is the best advice given to you as an artist?
“I never really had advice (laughs). Probably the best mentor I had was Dorel Hoglund, my high school art teacher for two years. She would encourage you to express yourself any way you wanted, related to the assignment. I think she was ahead of her time in her teaching, because she made every person of every walk of life feel like they were, like, a master of their art. When she critiqued you, it was always positive. If you had something to work on, it was still presented positive.”
15. What do you hope people take away from your art?
“I hope they enjoy it. I hope they can get a glimpse, on some of mine, of the past and that it comes to life. I hope it brings joy when you look at it. It’s nothing crazy colorful. I try my best to make things look realistic, like you are looking at it, I guess. That’s where I get frustrated, when I try to look at every little detail, but then I keep going (laughs).”
16. How does your work make you feel as you are creating it?
“It’s enjoyable as you go to stand back and see how it’s progressing. You get excited when it turns out how you want it to, but get frustrated when you can’t get something but then you do so you get excited again. It’s like watching Forrest Gump, you’re happy, you’re sad, you’re pissed, and at the end… a feather comes into the room and you are complete (laughs).”
17. How does your work make you feel, then, when it’s complete?
“It feels good, it’s funny though. When I think I’m done, because oil takes so long to dry, I’ll pull it out and be like, “Oh…” and see something I want to fix or add and then do that for three or four nights after I think I’m done. So then it’s like Forrest Gump again.”
18. What are you working on now?
“I’m working on a beautiful, Native American dancer. It’s a young woman in a beautiful, leather and beaded, traditional dress. It has a lot of flow to it.”
19. If you could work with any other local artist of any medium, who would it be? Why?
“I’d like to watch Tyler Murphy paint (laughs). A landscape, because I don’t have a ton of landscapes and it would be fun to learn. Because he’s really good and I think I’m very amateur. Like, I don’t use knives and a lot of other techniques and it would be fun to learn that. I like his style. It’s the kind of art that I like. I’d hang it on my wall. You’re admiring of other artists and their styles and I think every artist thinks, ‘Oh, I wish I could do what they do.’ I think I try to get too detail oriented. Like, you see some artists with huge strokes of color, and they do little strokes here and there, and you see it’s a hay bale. I would try to do every little piece of straw and get too frustrated and want to start over (laughs). I just want everything to be there. It’s a learning process.”
20. If you could give this interview to any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
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Thank you for coming back around to learn a little more about Blaine and his work! “20 Questions” will be tradition with all our featured artists, with each list of questions differing in bits from the last. Seemingly, not everyone will have the same answers or even provoke the same questions. I hope to keep you interested and informed on what is going on in your local scene!
Be kind. Love, love, love. Sharing is caring. Stay gold.+