Art critics aren’t paid to stare down the artist’s initial seconds into their work and guess what may come. Millions of possibilities could spring to life in an audience, if there were, in fact, bystanders in a painter’s solitary studio. What could that first stroke become, an eyebrow, the beginning of night, the mistake that’s later painted over? Ryan Hopkinson and Andrew Stellitano—two artists with focuses in photography, installation work, and art direction—decided to evaluate and explore the idea in their series Strokes.
The project came to be by way of a chat about how and why certain art pieces, painting specifically, could be defined by movement, style, or history. From there, the dialogue evolved into deeper curiosity, ultimately asking, could you define a piece of work from the very first paint stroke?
As Hopkinson explained to It’s Nice That, “Each stroke is completely unique and handmade. We tested a varying range of materials to find the most flexible and durable, as we wanted to flex and skew each stroke at will. I think the hardest part was getting the texture looking correct. We needed to delicately apply each look to create a diverse range to sculpt and then shoot.”