Artist of the Month: Clayton Mears

Ani Mathison, Staff Writer

A green- skinned woman preens with her hands behind her head and a provocative look in her eye. A colorful head stares out of the paper, it’s eyes dragging with emotion. An alien figure looks bemusedly at the viewer with big eyes. These are the works of senior Clayton Mears. Mears has been an artist for many years, and uses his observational skills and eagerness to draw as a way to get ahead.

Visual Arts teacher Donna Sartanowicz attributes Mears’ success as an artist to his eagerness and skill at observing.

“I remember when he started out here, he was just such an eager artist.” Sartanowicz said. “He was really skilled, he was really good at observational drawing. I think that that eagerness to learn and that active engagement in the learning is really key to doing well as an artist.”

Printmaking teacher Elizabeth Brennan commented on his process and how Mears works as an artist.

“He was definitely working in a very different way, and he just seemed so present and very mindful in his work, like there was nothing else in the room. When he works, he’s very focused.”

Sartanowicz was also impressed with Mears’ process.

“He has a real playful side to his process where he tries this and tries that. I think he’s a lot more playful and responsive during the process, which is great.”

Mears originally began to draw as a way to get close to his brother.

“the only reason I started drawing was because my brother was really good at drawing, and I wanted something that I could have to relate to him.” Mears said.

However, Mears doesn’t believe his art has changed him.

“It’s something I’ve always really been doing, so it’s hard to say if it changed me, because I don’t really know what I was doing before that,” Mears said.

Mears believes that one of the most challenging things about being an artist is honesty.

“I feel a lot of responsibility to be as true as I can as an artist.””

— Clayton Mears

I also feel like as an artist, whatever art form you’re using I feel like art is something to transform, you know, to change something, or to challenge an issue. So I feel like representation is a big thing, representing people or issues respectfully or in the right way. I think that’s very challenging.”

Mears believes that another challenge in being an artist is knowing when to finish a piece or idea.

“For me, I think it’s important as artist to know when something isn’t necessarily done, but when an idea is dead or over.” Mears said. “I think that’s one of the hardest things about being an artist is just having to decide if something is finished or when it’s time to move on to something, you don’t know how long you should stay on a piece. I think that’s something that I’ve just gotten good at over the years, is just figuring out when is something dead, or when an idea is something I can move on from, or when it’s time to put it away for a while and move on to something else,” said Mears.

Mears’ main inspirations for his work at the moment is living beings and textures.

“Right now, I’m heavily influenced by texture. That’s just something that I gravitate towards a lot, especially skin and bodies. Also just organic forms, in general are just something that just is interesting to me. I think it’s like a natural thing for an artist to gravitate to living forms,” Mears said.

“I just feel kind of a compulsive nature to document things,” Mears said.