Please tell us about your relationship with art and how you got started?
The love of art and creating has been with me since I was young. I drew a lot as a kid and spent hours designing and building paper worlds with my sisters. I had a garage band in high school and dedicated myself to writing songs and playing music. After schooling, I worked outdoors for many years and fell in love with nature. Eventually, the desire to create art took back over and I started painting landscapes and throwing art shows with friends. I have been on the art path ever since.
Your use of color is very much impressionistic, what motivates your combinations, and do they signify more than the setting sun’s impact on the passing road?
Color contains so much emotion and depth within it. I try to mix, combine, and relate the colors to each other in a way that brings the viewer into the painting. Color can be a great way to give a sense of time and place to the painting. It helps to create depth, feelings, and movement within the work. I am hoping the use of color helps the viewer to imagine themselves there at the moment, and fill in the world that is flying by, slightly out of focus, as they go down the road.
What have you found attracts people to your work the most, and how does this make you feel?
The subject matter of driving down the road, my use of color, and certainly some of the locations that I have chosen can be very nostalgic and enjoyable. Being the Artist of the work and having all that self-doubt that goes along with the act of creating things, it makes me very happy to know people are attracted to my artwork. I almost see and appreciate the painting more knowing that someone else does.
Your landscapes and roads are devoid of people, is there a reason for this?
My idea behind creating these landscape paintings was to try to break down and dissect the world around me into all lines and colors that together would still add up and describe what is there. This meant that the structures, people, and all the nature that is there were reduced to the line and color that best could represent it. I also wanted to create an experience where the viewer and painting can share their own one on one relationship. I want the painting to pull you in and down the road, giving the viewer a window to escape in.
Do your images have a deeper meaning? Such as a reference to the journey of life, or the movement towards the unending horizon? Please enlighten us.
I feel like the metaphor of driving down the road and watching the world pass you by is something that a lot of us can relate too. That desire for an adventure, the excitement of exploring a new avenue, having neverending wanderlust, riding into the sunset, taking the long road home, discovering the backroads, going on romantic cross country road trips, and making your own way through this journey of life that we are all on is an experience that we share.
Solitude and loneliness seem an unspoken part of your work, but also life and joy through the process of reaching a destination, can you explore these topics further for us?
I am happy that all of those emotions are coming across through the paintings! This road we are all going down can be very lonely at times, whether you are in a car or alone at work in your space. I wanted to capture and express some of those moments, embrace the solitude and feelings of uncertainty of life but also show how beautiful the world is at the same time.
Your style would work very well as vector art and as a digital representation, have you considered using computer technology to recreate your landscapes?
I think it would be very fun to start playing around with different forms of digital art. At the moment I still have a lot to learn about using the programs, and I still feel like I have a lot of good paintings to make. However, I would definitely love to animate my art and see what I can do with it digitally.
It seems that you drive a lot. What is something profound you have realized or contemplated while driving that others can now learn from?
All the roads along the way are paved differently, the color of the asphalt and concrete will keep changing, you can get lost along the drive but as long as you’re willing to look under the hood you can also find your way and get to see the end of some of these beautiful backroads.
All images with courtesy of Grant Haffner