Mixing materials in art is a common practice. Finding the right combination and making them work in unison is what defines a true artist. Painter Brad Kunkle has found the perfect combination of oil paints and metals, specifically silver and gold, in his series entitled Light & Leaf. His beautifully composed paintings use silver and gold to accentuate different aspects of each image.
Being that these metallic elements add a literal shine, a sort of interactive installation is formed out of oil paintings. Depending on where the viewer stands, in relation to the painting and its light source, the image will have a different appearance. We were in such awe of how Kunkle utilizes the precious metals in his pieces that we needed to know when and how he started employing this technique. He kindly responded to our inquiry:
“I use genuine gold and silver leaf in the oil paintings. The surreal nature of the leaf was a missing element in my work that I had been waiting to discover and that happened in 2007, at a time when I was getting by doing decorative and house painting. I was working on a project with a client that wanted his office walls gilded in copper, so I leafed all of the walls in copper. As I stood in front of them, it just hit me. This was the missing element in my work. The way light reacted and the way my movements interacted with the leaf was completely beguiling, and I wanted to create paintings that allowed people to feel this same surreal sense of space and time. It was difficult to find someone using gold leaf in paintings, so I just started reading and experimenting to develop my own techniques. I’m very confident with my process, but there’s still a lot to learn, which is very exciting to me.”