by Marion W. Weiss, January 2012
While this winter will bring diverse images of the Hamptons, one that is sure to be familiar are the farm trucks sitting in the snow, almost looking like bears that are hibernating. Dan’s Papers cover artist Scott Hewett hopes that the scene (“Trucks in the Snow”), which he painted last winter in his neighborhood, will evoke the sense of actually standing in front of the trucks. Even so, another sense is also operating: Hewett’s method of applying color, which plays tricks on the eyes. Many of his other paintings convey the same idea, particularly a luscious orange with its red, orange and pinks sprinkled with green. A Pepsi Cola bottle top with its sparkling dashes of reds and blues gives an ordinary object aspects of the extraordinary as well.
Q: Explain the process of putting on color that you seem to favor.
A: When I’m using a gel medium, and I glaze layer-on-layer, the color bounces off the canvas. You’re not just looking at one color; you try and make the colors translucent.
Q: Where does this idea about color come from?
A: In high school, my art teacher taught me about imaginary color. For example, when you look at landscape, you let yourself go and see colors that other people don’t see.
Q: After high school, what other art training did you have?
A: I went to the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and studied illustration, but I took painting classes, too. Then I got an internship at Stride Rite shoes. They offered me a full-time job. I then went to work for Reebok, where I designed shoes for 15 years.
Q: Was that interesting?
A: Yes, since I designed shoes for celebrities, like the golfer Greg Norman. But I always had a passion for painting, so Reebok let me work from home, which was out here, and I started painting in 2001, too. I did really well when I had my first show.
Q: What were some of your subjects and styles when you got back to painting?
A: I painted trucks, gas pumps; my style was very decisive when it came to applying paint.
Q: How have your style and subjects changed in the last 10 years?
A: My colors are getting bolder now; my images are very graphic. They border on illustration, but they also seem impressionistic. As far as subjects, I do landscapes, which are graphic as well: close-ups of waves, areas like Lazy Point and Napeaque.
Q: You also play in a band called The Realm, I understand. Is playing the drums similar to painting?
A: Drumming and painting are similar; you make movements on canvas and the drums. Drumming uses all your body parts, of course. The idea of rhythm is similar, too.
Q: How about designing shoes? Is that similar to painting?
A: In design, I was always looking for trends, the next idea. In painting, I am looking in my camera or at a spot, looking for the next thing. When I was doing research in New York for designing shoes, everything inspired me. Observation is very important.
Q: When do you not paint, when you take a break?
A: You have to take a break if you become obsessed about your work. That’s when I put down my brushes.
Q: What else do you feel about the art profession?
A: I think it’s a hard profession. You have to have a thick skin. When you hang your work on the wall, you are hanging yourself. But you have to paint for yourself.