As two hands work through bright, primary oil paint, sculpting and melding it across canvas, an ethereal image forms. The artist experiences the work in an organic, almost primal way, becoming physically linked to their creation, bearing all that makes them as an individual, down to their fingerprint.
Brooklyn-based artist Iris Scott has gained great popularity in her career as a professional finger-painter, creating massive, vibrant oil paintings and marketing herself on social media. Her work reflects her unconventional upbringing by hippy parents, as well as her unique, barrier-breaking mentality on art.
Scott’s elimination of the use of brushes in her work and subsequent teaching of her methods makes it that much easier to take part in the creation of fine art. She embraces a technique that is simple, natural and taboo by conventional oil painting standards. In addition, Scott uses her website to make her prints affordable and easy to purchase, intentionally working to make fine art accessible and part of the lives of the masses.
To further her mission, Scott seeks to share her painting technique with budding artists, offering instruction through online tutorial videos and her book, “Finger Painting Weekend Workshop: A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Brush-Free Works of Art.”
Scott’s success, both in spreading her technique and capitalizing on her work in an atypical way, might be taken as an opportunity to stop and reflect on the progress, as well as the limitations, of the contemporary world of fine art.
As we break the boundaries and conventions of culture, our innovation and open attitude should extend to art. In many ways, art seeks to speak for the public but often comes from the hands of the rich and privileged, who are able to study art in a traditional, often eurocentric setting and is largely consumed by the rich and privileged as well.
The work of artists like Iris Scott and the efforts of modern artists to create art that acknowledges the lives and the realities of the vast majority of people, whether in method of creation, accessibility, subject matter or in Scott’s case, all of the above, is effective and important to the progress of contemporary art.
By supporting and participating in the progressive art market, we can work to further a progressive attitude in the world of fine art. If we establish a progressive attitude in the art world, we can grasp and spread progress to the masses as well.