The representational works in acrylic and oil of Nashville painter Brian Tull capture ordinary moments and reflections from an era in American life that holds great fascination for the artist – the 1930s through 1960s. It was in these decades, notes Tull, that innovation swept American design: “I have an interest in industrial design from this era, from kitchen juicers and toasters to mid-century modern housing and automobiles. Every innovative design today was spawned by something from that era, which was the high point of design. By contrast, so much today seems cookie-cutter.”
Tull’s paintings – which often feature the female figure as protagonist – range from graphic-oriented works suggestive of the American Pop Art movement of the 1960s, with images rich with unmixed color and bound by hard edges, to true photorealism using original photographs as source material and demonstrating significant technical ability. Tull says he finds photorealism particularly interesting because “it makes the viewer notice things that they wouldn’t notice in real time.”
“A photograph freezes movement, even reflections,” he adds. “Painting in this style also forces me as the artist to think beyond reality and really study the roots of the subject matter I’m painting.” Tull quotes the famous British pop artist David Hockney, who once said of photorealism: “Both the photograph and reality itself are being called into question. But, what the hand, the eye, and the heart can do and paint can never be replaced.” Photorealism is a well-suited vehicle for capturing the ordinary, mundane moments that occur with little notice or fanfare, but are nonetheless revealing in their narrative on the times.
Tull graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Alabama in Florence, Alabama, where he studied graphic design, painting, and sculpture.