I was born on the Gulf Coast where my father was a Navy pilot. When I was very young, he taught me about cloud formations and atmospheric conditions. With this knowledge, I spent much time gazing skyward, using observation to better understand the nature and behavior of the great beyond.
First in Florida and later in my adopted home of Arkansas, I spent the quiet daylight hours wandering in the woods surrounding my home. I imagined myself to be an explorer in an untouched wilderness. Often, this fantasy was broken by evidence of humanity; tin cans found cast away on the forest floor, a communications tower jutting skyward from the horizon, or a contrail left to hang silently in the sky by a passing airplane. These early experiences informed the content of my later studio practice, as subtle depictions of humanity’s presence serve as the backdrop in many of my works.
I taught myself to paint, and received no formal training in my medium. I primarily work with oil paint, though I often experiment with different materials and techniques specific to each desired outcome.
In my work, I often present narrative elements. These are crafted in an open-ended way, allowing the viewer to interpret them from his or her own perspective. Still, certain elements remain undeniable.
It is purposeful that my work not stagnate in the reimagining of a certain image or theme, but that the themes within my work are born, mature, and wither as knowledge is gained of a subject. Use of metaphor, symbols, and codes are often used as a scaffold by which I begin transcribing a passing memory, thought, or question into a realized cultural artifact.
I think of painting as a psychological process: coming up with an idea in the subconscious, then putting that into a conscious form, which other people can interpret and understand through the lens of their own personal experiences and perspectives. I want to be able to communicate what is unspoken. It is my belief that art can give people hope and further human understanding, regardless of the language spoken by the viewer. That’s why I paint.
Guy W. Bell (b. 1980) is a visual artist and painter living in Arkansas. Born in Pensacola, FL. Bell’s early childhood was spent looking skyward, watching a never- ending procession of fighter jets soar over airbases on which he grew up. As he entered adulthood the habit of looking toward the great beyond did not wane.
Though receiving no formal art training, Bell’s leisure time was consumed by learning the practices of painting, drawing and sculpting. After graduating college with a business-focused B.A. in Liberal Arts, he painted and wrote about art in his spare time. Finding a responsive audience when displaying work, Bell chose to pursue a full-time career as an oil painter. Bell’s first year as an artist was spent in the studio. He set to creating an initial body of work united by the theme of understanding light and it’s effect on surface and atmosphere. Later, his work shifted from simply rendering a scene or individual, to seeking to convey the intangible aspects of a scene. Narrative elements left open to viewer interpretation also became a mainstay of his catalog. As he continued his practice, his work gained acclaim both both for depicting deeply rendered sky-scapes as well as incorporation of evocative imagery.
In 2013, Bell’s piece “Cain & Abel” was selected for Crystal Bridges Museum Of American Art’s “State Of The Art” exhibition. It was shortly afterward that Bell set to creating the world’s first levitating stone sculpture, titled “Ascension”. It debuted in 2014. In 2015, Bell opened DRAWL Southern Contemporary Art, a gallery representing great artists from across the Southern region of the US.
Bell’s work is displayed in public, private and museum collections throughout the United States as well as in private collections in an additional thirteen countries. He has been mentioned in Beautiful Decay Magazine, Art Forum, Artillery Magazine, VICE Magazine’s Creator’s Project, Artists & Galleries of the South Magazine along with many others.