Seven years ago, PM360 decided to start featuring original artwork on our annual Greatest Creators supplement. We asked the very talented artists in this industry to send us their best piece of original art and then we picked our favorite for the cover. Then we thought: Why should we have all of the fun? And Art Attack was born. Now, in addition to picking our favorite for the Greatest Creators cover, we place all of the submissions online and let the industry pick theirs.
This year, that is “Kurt Cobain” by Sean Kinney, Associate Creative Director at Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide, a WPP Health & Wellness company. And, funny enough, Sean was also the winner of our first annual Art Attack. We asked Sean what it feels like to dominate this contest in its early going and to share his process behind his work.
PM360: How does it feel as an artist to know your work resonates with people as a two-time winner of this competition?
Sean Kinney: It feels great. Painting has always been something very personal for me, very much meditative and stress relieving. I created this piece just to do it—and never could have expected such a positive reception.
This time you won for your portrait of Kurt Cobain. Last time it was for Johnny Cash. Why did you choose these musicians?
These paintings can take months, so for me to be motivated to see them through the subject needs to be something I’m passionate about. Johnny and Kurt are two very inspirational people to me. I am into music, so this go around I was trying to learn some Nirvana songs on the guitar. After some frustration with learning, I decided to switch gears and paint instead. Maybe next I will do a painting of Eddie Vedder.
What is your process like for approaching these portraits?
They were both very different. The Johnny Cash painting was a much looser and faster painting. The Cobain painting was almost a self-imposed challenge. I typically do not paint photorealism, so when I went into this, I wanted something that had depth of field and a range of textures that would prove to be technically challenging. I spent a couple of hours a few nights a week over the course of six months.
Are you working on anything now that people should keep an eye out for in next year’s competition?
Not as of now. This summer I am focusing on getting outside and being active when I can. Also, I am currently working on a really exciting product launch, so that has been the focus of my creativity for now.