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Honest and Animated
Scott Hutchison is presenting only five works in his gallery show ''Animated Portraits''
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Scott Hutchison is presenting only five works in his gallery show 'Animated Portraits,' currently showing at The Waddell Art Gallery on the Loudoun County Campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

'There are only five pieces in it, actually ó but thereís over 200 paintings,' he said. The animation in Hutchisonís works is a combination of traditional painting and digital technology. Dozens of paintings will portray one aspect of the artistís face ó an eye, his lips ó and alter slightly from one panel to the next. If theyíre combined digitally into sequential images, like some are on small LCD screens, they become like an oil-painted cartoon.

Hutchison, a resident artist at the Arlington Art Center and an instructor at The Art League, said his work 'I Donít Know' is a series of 42 paintings of his mouth that, when viewed together, move almost like stop-motion animation.

'Itís kind of like a flipbook, but itís digital,' said Claire Huschle, executive director of the Arlington Art Center. 'Heíll do hundreds of digital portraits and then itís like animated oil paintings.'

Itís not traditional animation, as Hutchison said he prefers the detail of each individual painting rather than the quick frames-per-second of the traditional medium. Rather, he sees his paintings as interactive for the viewer.

'Itís nothing you can really touch,' he said. 'You can see, in your mind, the animation play.'

Frequently, that animation is a window into the artistís mind.

HUTCHISON GREW UP in a small Iowa town, receiving a bachelorís in painting from Drake University in 1995 and a masterís from George Washington University in 1999.

Huschle said having Hutchison, 34, at the Arlington Art Center is an example of the Centerís dedication to present diverse artistic talent. In his case, she said, Hutchison is combining a classic medium in oil painting with new technology.

Hutchison is also an adjunct professor of drawing at George Washington and an adjunct professor of painting at Georgetown University, along with his work as a faculty member for The Art League in Alexandria since 1997.

'Itís pretty isolating in my studio. [Teaching] has helped my artwork, because I have to work out of pieces verbally,' said Hutchison, who now lives in Fairfax.

His isolation is also due to the fact that Hutchison doesnít interact with many models and collaborators ó the majority of his art is in self-portrait, and self-examination has always been one of his aims.

'For me, Iíve always seen art as being that, whether Iím painting a still life or even painting someone else. Itís something I do alone; since Iím along in my studio, the best model was Ďme,í' he said.

'I take a break when the model takes a break.'

HE STARTED HIS current body of work, like the pieces showing at The Waddell Art Gallery, back in 2003. The galleryís curator, Donald Depuydt, took part in a show with Hutchison at the Arlington Arts Center in 1999 and invited Hutchison to have his pieces at the NVCC Loudoun campus, located at 1000 Harry Flood Byrd Highway in Sterling.

Before his current work, he painted a series of striking female nude portraits and went through a phase exploring the relationship between metal, machines and man ó a science-fiction influenced collection that was partially a reaction to the technological boom of the 1990s.

Now, with a focus on identity and introspection, Hutchison brings his own body into honest focus in his art.

'In some of the ways Iíve presented myself, you need to put the ego aside. I donít present myself in the best way,' he said.

In his paintings, which can be viewed on, Hutchison presents unflinching and exaggerated portraits of his own body.

Self-examination comes naturally, he said, but there are still some personal barriers heís yet to break down.

'Iím still working through that. Iíve painted nude models before, Iím not to the point where I feel comfortable doing that with my own body,' he said.

Text and image by Connection Newspapers, USA

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