MY INFLUENCES
For a long time now, I've admired art and other artist's ideas and processes. I admire many of the great masters and artisans of the past. I'm influenced by people who view the importance of art in cultures and society, and use their art to express themselves or just find comfort in actively tapping into their creative side. I like art that is bold or pretentious, and I like artists that have no fear of critique as do most New York artists, 100 Notable New York Artists. I like art that is political, conceptual, performance, mixed media, and tries to redefine itself, and breaks through barriers. I respect tried and true structures much like I respect music theory and the church modes, but I also like no rules, no principles, and abstraction. In my new series I purposely set rules for myself, because I felt that I was lacking discipline not only in my art but in my life as well. Rules like; a limited palette, equilibrium, continuation, primary colors, Earth tones, monotone, and only famous people that I think are cool. It is hard sometimes as an artist to limit yourself to parameters, but sometimes we have to in order to produce something of worth.

I respect visual artists like Picasso, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, etc., artists that achieved success in their own time, received recognition, and made a living selling their art. I respect artists like Stevie Wonder, Don Knotts, and Paul Newman who have achieved success and have entertained and given us so much. Do I only respect artist that make a living at it? No, I respect anyone who spends time tapping into their creative side, whether it be for religious reasons, personal, entertainment, political, or just for simple pleasures. The important thing is to tap in and see what is inside to uncover, the artist can then decide if they want to share it with others. An art teacher once told me that I must, "Take responsibility for my work." I agree to an extent, as do we all have to take responsibility for our actions, but sometimes I can't control what comes out, so when that happens I refer to what another teacher told me, "As artists we must learn how to edit ourselves." This is true we must edit ourselves just as a musician does, or someone making a movie, editing is all part of the process. We can't show everything. I am related to the famous musician and lesser known visual artist John Mellencamp, who does edit himself all the time. I know this for a fact, because I've been in his 14 car garage and have seen paintings of his stacked on their side from wall to wall, brilliant paintings that will probably never see the light of day, let alone be seen by you and me. I know he is the same way with his music, their are probably more John Mellencamp songs cut than released, and that goes for most musicians. I'm very much influenced by Mellencamp's music and his paintings. I'm influenced by Pop Art, mostly Andy Warhol, and his prints of celebrities like Marilyn, Judy Garland, and his wild ideas about commercialized art, Campbell Soup cans, and the whole late 60's party scene at The Factory. One of my favorite impressionists is Paul Cezanne. I particularly like his portraits of people, and his very gestural style, in a lot of ways his paintings remind me of John Mellencamp's or vice versa. I really like Picasso's blue period , I know people say it was a psychological period because he got syphilis, but I find those paintings to be full of expression. I like the Idea of monotone, and a limited palette, I guess to most people blue is a mood, but to me blue is the essence of life, ocean and sky. Last but not least, my favorite portrait painter is Rembrandt, his use of tint and shade is a model for the rest of us, learn all you can from him.

We live in an image polluted society, art is everywhere and if you don't believe me just look at this list of artists I found on the internet AskART.com, I'm not on the list so you know their are millions more like me out there as well. My goal is to make a living as an artist, and to give the world a piece of me.

~Cameron Bentley

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