Today we’d like to introduce you to Courtney Haney.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I can’t remember a time in my life that I wasn’t madly in love with oil paintings. My earliest memories are at my Great-Grandmother’s house, flipping through her art books from the 1960s. I had favorites, of course, Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergere. I would spend hours staring into the waitress’s eyes in that painting. It also helped that my Great-Grandmother was an oil painter herself and had paintings throughout her home in addition to the art books. I was only five years old when I began taking art classes and by the time I was eight, I was working as an art model to gain enough experience to be allowed into the advanced class where they taught oil painting. However, I grew up and got involved with other things. I eventually went off to college at Santa Clara University, where I was planning on becoming a History major. By the end of my Freshman year, there was an opening in a Basic Painting class that fit into my schedule. It filled a GE requirement, so I signed up. Very quickly, I found myself staying in on the weekends so that I could live in the painting studio. My Professor, Kelly Detweiler, quickly caught on to how much I loved the class. Eventually he came up to me in class and gave me the best piece of advice I’ve ever received, “If you love something as much as you love painting in this class, you have to pursue it. Life is too short to not do what you love.” So, I did what every parent fear, I switched my major to Art & Art History. I would continue to take classes from Kelly and another painting professor, Ryan Reynolds. They introduced me to Classical Atelier, the Bay Area Figurative Movement, and Funk Art. My work still combines techniques and ideas from all three of these movements. At the end of my junior year, the Department of Art and Art History awarded me with the Mary F. and Gerald P. Sullivan Fund in Aid of Tuition. It is considered the highest honor that the Department can award a Studio Art major. Since then, my paintings have been published by universities throughout California and are owned in both private and public collections. After college I moved back to my hometown of Los Angeles and have been living in the Los Feliz neighborhood since 2015.
Please tell us about your art.
I’ve spent the past ten years specializing in figurative oil paintings. My current series on the subject, was inspired by a trip to Portland where I was able to make a pilgrimage to the Gambling factory (this place is essentially a candy story for oil painters.) The experience reconfirmed to me the importance that color plays in an artwork. Once I arrived back to LA, I immediately began a new series that focused on only using color to convey emotion. I wanted to focus my efforts on depicting loneliness, isolation, and depression. I felt these people were getting left out and forgotten about with the direction that social media has taken. The color and light of the paintings uses symbology of the Chinese Garden, females are shown in transparent layers (water/ yin), males are shown in opaque layers (rock/ yang).
Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
I was introduced to Janet Wolff’s work “The Social Production of Art” back in college. That book has had a lasting effect on how I view and think about art. For that reason, I believe that an artist can’t help but to be connected and influenced by their society’s cultures, morals, and values. In my own work, I don’t directly confront the political issues around us, but more so focus on the emotions that that they drive us to. After the results of the 2016 Presidential Election, I found myself in constant anxiety and stress by staying connected to the news and social media. I used painting as a way to reconnect myself to the physical world and detox myself from the unnecessary anxiety of the 24-7 news cycle.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My work is currently on display at Caffe Vita in Silver Lake. Additionally, you can visit my website courtneyhaney.com to view the entire collection or follow me on Instagram @comrade pepper. All of my paintings are available for purchase through contacting me via my website.
- Website: courtneyhaney.com
- Instagram: comradepepper
10 x 10 oil paintings on wood panel.