Trending in Art: The Return To Traditional Techniques

In our personal lives we are turning off the Internet and deleting the monstrosity of social media, instead spending the weekends reading newspapers and enjoying the company of friends.

The sales of eBooks have dropped 16% as we are once again favoring to read a good old-fashioned paperback book. The same is true of the art world. We have 3D printers and digital painting at our fingertips, but it is the artists that are returning to traditional techniques that are making waves.

The “old-fashioned” way of art is making a comeback, and artists are enjoying the process of creating beautiful art. Let’s take a look at a few online artists who are doing just that.

John Gordon Gauld 

John Gordon Gauld has been very active on Instagram with his “painting a day” – @johngordongauld. But when it comes to his incredible still life paintings, Gauld certainly isn’t taking any shortcuts. In fact, Gauld prides himself on using traditional techniques from the 14th Century, creating beautiful images that have been inspired by the Old Masters.

It often takes him a month or two to produce a single painting, focusing heavily on the color shifts and the reflections. This attention to detail is what can give his still life objects an intense realness. His subject matters however, still remain deeply contemporary—in interviews he has said that he is painting a slow and deep history.

Oliver Peck

It’s not just painters and sculptors that are returning to traditional methods of creating their art—tattoo artists are also using old techniques in their craft. These ways of turning the human body into a work of art will be lost, if they are not passed on to the next generation of artists.

Oliver Peck is one of these tattoo artists that is always pushing the boundaries of American Traditional tattooing, both through his original designs, but also the techniques he uses. This is important for the continuation of the art form, because it is so incredibly personal to each human canvas.

For instance, let’s take the incredible 102-year-old Fillipino tattoo artist Whang Od. She has been tattooing for her whole adult life, and hasn’t swayed from using traditional methods. Returning to the roots of the art form mean that that art form can always continue to exist and evolve. Like Oliver Peck, tattooing without gimmicks means that a simple and personal message of art can be passed on.

Hilary Harkness

The paintings of Hilary Harkness have often been compared to the surrealist artwork of Salvador Dali. The construction of her pictures are quite incredible, created from a painstakingly attention to detail. It is her research process that has made such a difference to her commercial success as an artist.

Rather than looking to new technology, she spends her time at museums, intensely studying how other artists layer color and apply brushstroke techniques. From early Renaissance and the Old Masters, Harkness uses her extensive art history knowledge to broaden her own paintings.

The Takeaway

Each of these talented artists—John Gordon Gauld, Oliver Peck, and Hilary Harkness—prove that using traditional techniques isn’t a step backwards when it comes to creating original art. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: the old has yet again become a new movement.

Lewis Mitchell

Lewis Mitchell is a freelance writer from the U.K. who specializes in technology and Internet niches.