Alann J. Boatright — ARTIST


Alann Boatright


Interview with artist Alann Boatright —

1. Who are you and what do you do?
My parents named me Alann J. Boatright, though I simply go by Alann J as an artist. I paint robots involved in everyday situations that we humans find ourselves in. Working, relaxing, playing…


"Life is a Beach"

“Life is a Beach”


2. Why art?
It is just something innate within me, that comes out like oil oozing out of an old Ford. I was made to leak this stuff. I just have to do it.





3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
I got caught by my parents drawing on a bulletin during a church service when I was quite young. I was drawing a car and was unconsciously making motor noises as I drew. I had the drawing snatched from the top of the songbook I was using for a pseudo desk and shown to my dad. I knew I was going to get in serious trouble when we got home. Turns out quite the opposite, dad LOVED it! He recognized it as a 57 Chevy. He worked for GM so he was happy as a clam about it.

"We've Heard it all Before"

“We’ve Heard it all Before”


Then in the third grade we were all asked by our teacher, Mrs Moore, to write a short paragraph about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wrote that I wanted to be either a comedian or an artist. When she read mine, she said my mouth was not big enough to be a comedian, so I went with artist and have been calling myself that ever since.



4. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
Well, I’ve been all over the place in my painting past, always photo-realism, but different subject matters over the years. There have been vintage cars rusting away in fields, old architecture, vintage gas pumps, some portraiture of famous people, but recently my focus has been on robots. I find that you can say a lot with a robot that you can’t say with people or things. You can speak politically, racially, socially, for causes, against causes, you can paint the headlines right out of the newspaper and people can see it, understand it, and accept it easier than they could with cold reality. I mean who paints a bathroom scene as a way to point out that toy companies sometimes go to far in their efforts to make toys safe? I may have some explaining to do when people see the painting, but in the end, they are laughing even harder than when they first took notice of it.


"Unusual Suspects"

“Unusual Suspects”


5. How do you work and approach your subject?
Very quietly, so as not to alarm it. Sorry, that’s the comedian part of me again. I guess the answer to that would be that once I have the idea in my head, I bounce it off my wife. She is the best at telling me if it is a good idea or not. Sometimes I am truly out in left field with some of the ideas. Anyway, I don’t always listen, but the ones she has given the nod to, or laughed out loud about, seem to sell better than some of the others that I did without bouncing it off her first. Usually the ideas come to me from things going on in the news. Oil spills, sea turtle populations, stolen Warhol paintings, presidential debates, and a host of other sources. I take longer drawing the concept over and over than I do painting it. The paintings are a blur of activity. i rarely stop to eat, I can’t sleep well, I paint fast and furious trying to stay ahead of the ideas that want to be added in as I paint. It’s actually quite exhausting mentally trying to get it on the canvas before the energy within wanes and confusion sets in. When it’s done I sign it and set it aside, replacing it with a blank canvas on my easel so as to remind myself I need to move on. Believe me, I could spend a year on each painting if I didn’t take this step. The ideas build on themselves like a late spring snowball rolling down hill.


"Pelican Air"

“Pelican Air”


6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
That’s like asking what’s my favorite music. Difficult to put a finger on though I favor some over others. Leonardo Di Vinci for his engineering feats and draftsmanship, Salvador Dalí for his unconventional approach to everything he painted, Ralph Goings the realist, Chuck Close also a realist, I like street art, graffiti, Henry de Toulouse-Lautrec, Norman Rockwell, Kit Williams, Ansel Adams (photography), and a host of others. Clive Barker is an artist I admire as well. Truly inspirational to me just due to the volume of work he can do in a year on top of all his other duties such as his film directing, his novel writing, his business adventures. Through it all he paints near 500 paintings a year! BIG paintings, with LOTS of color! And… he still has time for tea! He has to be the biggest inspiration to my work ethic that has ever come along in my lifetime.

"The Ghost of Andy Warhol" Oil On Canvas

“The Ghost of Andy Warhol”
Oil On Canvas

Oh, and I gotta’ throw it out there for Arthur Knebel as well. He was my neighbor in Colorado and has since passed. But when I met him he was a retired Violist who was now painting non stop as an impressionist. He was 77 at the time I met him. After looking at the paintings displayed in my home he asked my why I painted with acrylics, instead of oils (as that was what I was using at the time). I told him it was what I had always done and was so steeped in it now with paints and materials that I could not afford to switch to oils. Oils, I explained, were far too expensive compared to the lowly acrylic paint I had on hand. The next day, I see Arthur coming up my steep mountain driveway with a big box of something obviously quite heavy. I met him outside “Arthur, what are you doing? What have you got there?” He smiled broadly and opened the box to reveal every imaginable oil color one could want. In 150 ml tubes no less! He gave me so much paint that I’ve rarely had to buy a tube of paint since. When he passed, his wife gave me the rest of his paints he had on hand, and to this day, some 6 years later, I have only bought two tubes of paint. Prussian Blue, and Titanium White. He tried, but never succeeded in converting me to an impressionist. I think about him every time I lift a brush.

7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
Laughter. Gut wrenching laughter. I love it when people laugh and point at it, especially when they poke the person next to them and drag them into it with them. I love that. And I love when people comment about the colors being so bright. I paint under the worst lighting on the planet half the year. My studio in Florida has the worst lighting you can imagine and still I get wows and comments about the colors. I love that. The studio lighting in Colorado is much better so I know better what it is I am squirting on my palette, I’m lucky they look the same in value and hue between the ones done in Florida and the ones done in Colorado.


"Another Spill"

“Another Spill”


8. What do you like about your work?
I like that it’s not work. I hope painting to me never ever feels like work. In fact, when I am painting I feel like I am cheating. My wife is in the kitchen cooking, or dusting the living room, or digging a stump out of the yard and here I am, listening to the Ray Wylie Hubbard on the surround sound and painting away without a care in the world like a 4 year old at day care.


"Crude & Unusual"

“Crude & Unusual”


9. What advice would you give to other artists?
Don’t feel like you have to paint WHAT everybody else paints, or HOW everybody else paints, or WHEN everybody else paints… just paint. Create and you yourself will be transformed.


"Nuclear Fission"

“Nuclear Fission”


10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
If you would have asked “HOW” I would have said “older”, but you asked “where” and that’s a bit more difficult. You see, I have painted since I was eight (49 years ago), but just now started showing in galleries and at events. So I am a bit of a late bloomer amongst my peers. I’d say that I hope to still be doing the same, except that maybe more galleries would be interested in me, and I will have learned the proper way to hold a wine glass by then. Who knows, maybe I will be able to buy another wheel barrow by then.




Alann Boatwright

Alann Boatright