USA: Charles Samuel Wait – Drag Painting Techniques

Art is interesting, can be a medicine which is working therapeutically on inner emotions and finally doing art possibly becomes a deep passion while expressing yourself. The painter, photographer and writer Charles Samuel Wait started painting around 2010 basically to cope with life struggles. After becoming a hobby the art is now part of his life and developing his bright way. Meanwhile the enthusiastic artist creates amazing works with drag art techniques, he is a nature photographer and published as well the book “A Venture Into”.  Not to forget: His deep connection to coffee! Likewise in drinking as well in preparing, he even gave already life shows as a barista.

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We spoke with the creative artist from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina in an interview and Charles told us about the history of his art and how he is doing his amazing work. You can listen to the podcast below, the conversation is as well written down in the following part.

How would you describe your art and what you do?

Well mainly the style of my art is based on an abstract expressionist section of art. The use of colors and techniques to apply to the canvas is what I mainly like to do. It´s very interesting to start with a blank canvas and use different techniques to express yourself. With drag art which is primarily the type of paintings I do, it consists of a creative technique of lay down paint and then expressively dragging it across the canvas so that it fills up your canvas. By this I am creating new forms and just some different kind of figures on the canvas. But drag art is just one interesting technique of art which can be used to express paint on the canvases. There are geometric patterns and geometrical fills which I do as well which includes kind of taping the canvas. Through the canvas there are then tape lines and with this I am adding geometrical shapes and also different fillers. So I can fill up the canvas and it´s very interesting to even begin abstract expressional work, because it´s so great. Especially when it´s transferred from the central hub of Paris to New York back in the atomic age. It´s very interesting and very interesting artists have been doing it during that time as well. And I like to express that kind of artwork.

I really like the way you document your painting process. You have little photo series about the making offs. But first I thought these are just the steps till it´s finished, but then I realized that you kept on going and changing the colors.

Yes, thank you. I try to document each piece as I go. I take a picture of the blank canvas and then I keep on dialoging and cataloging each as I go with each photo.

Which are the materials and paint you use? You mentioned canvas, but do you paint as well on other materials? And which kind of instruments are you working with?  

Primarily I use cool stretched wool canvases right now. I had a stand back when I was younger doing graffiti work on walls and brick or cement. My main objects I use are mainly a squeegee which I use for drag art. Then the geometrical fills I add for certain paintings are actually done by hand and with tape lines to get the right feel to the picture.

It´s abstract, but as well in all the abstract there are some structural formations. Especially when you work with the tapes. Do you know as well techniques with wax? When you put on a lot of different wax and then you can scratch off the material and get the colors below.

I´ve never actually tried that. I have seen it done before. It´s interesting.

As well you are  a photographer. Tell me a bit about this area. How would you describe your motifs?

Well yes, there is also photography. The family of my mother´s side is from the mountains. And it´s very picturesque. A lot of my photography is dealing with nature. It´s my only true love. About nature, you know, it can´t be expressed, it´s always changing. So that´s primarily the photography I do, it´s about nature.

You have a nice mix between photography and painting, but you do as well some kind of close ups with fashion accessories and lounge style ingredients or just heaps of different coffee products.  

Yeah! Coffee is one of my biggest passions! I taught myself a lot of skills about making macchiatos and cappuccinos or espresso beverages and stuff like that. I kind of taught myself and I had already small gigs as a barista. Coffee is something I am really passionate about. A barista is a bartender for coffee.

You published as well a book. The name is “A Venture Into”. What is this about?

Right. The book is self help and poetry. It´s a kind of a work of a year´s work. I catalogued it together into a book. I basically took the writings from a year and put it into a book. I didn´t try to express it, but I figured out publishing it and would see how it goes with it. I wanted to include artwork as well on my book just to express the different aspects of writing and creating art.

But would you say mainly you are a painter? So painting is your main art field?

Well, painting is something I do more than writing. But writing I have been doing longer than painting. There are just different scopes of technical sides to what it will go. Writing is a little bit different than creating a piece of artwork.

Did you have exhibitions yet?

No, I haven´t done it yet. I am working on commission works. That started a couple of month ago. As far as the scene goes here in a view points it´s very interesting in the Downtown areas.  But I am new to Fuquay. But also I have already seen pictures, it´s very cool, it´s very interesting. But yeah, an exhibition, that would be very cool! That would be a new and very unique experience.

When did you start painting?

I started painting nine years ago as a way of cope with structural things that were kind of off in my life. It started off as a kind of a hobby, but over time it built into something. I painted regularly, I painted off and on in the earlier years like eight years ago. Just randomly, not trying to build skill or anything. But over the years I practiced different techniques, I started viewing art more and it became a really big passion. So it became very interesting to see how it´s effecting my life because it brought a lot of pleasure.

It´s a passion to you, but it is as well a kind of medicine which you could use to express inner feelings and put it into artworks. It can be a helpful method to cope with problems.

That´s right. It´s a very great way to express inner demons or inner emotions you have. A lot of self help comes into that. When you bottle stuff up over time then it as a tendency to cause you act out in certain ways. Expression is very important and painting is such an expressive way to let yourself create and to learn about yourself. One thing I would like to tell or teach if people are listening to the podcast is this: Struggle is very real and it´s very important to focus on yourself in certain times. It can be tough to try to make it in the job or try to do things for others when yourself isn´t in line.

And art can help.

Yes, right. And viewing art is an own act in its kind. You gain certain emotions from people´s artworks and also painting as an artist is very influential to oneself, because you are also building a skill over time that you can see changing. You can see it developing.

It´s always subjective and if you do it, it´s something you have done. So you can always be proud of it and it doesn´t matter how it looks because it´s your art.

Right. And you know, you can look at it over years past and see how you have grown and see where you were at this certain point in time.

When you look back how would you describe the development of your art? Compared to your earlier works, how did it change?

Well the work you have seen and I posted earlier is an example of drag art. And originally I would do vertical lines of drag art to finish the piece of maybe a polis whip or a splatter on it. But the piece I just finished the other day, I used different patterns to rout the canvas when the paint was drying to create a field. Then I added some geometrical lines and stuff like that. I take there something original painted and then I start making something new on top of it.

Do you as well work with three dimensional material or elements? The arrow paintings look very plane, but some of your others look like there must be a lot of paint on it and it gets structures coming out of the painting.

Yes, there are different techniques you can do which can appeal to the eye. Adding layers of paint can build a texture and give a foundation. You can try your best to create a three dimensional image just with a paint brush, but it´s tough.

You mentioned before graffiti, so you did graffiti as well? Or are you still doing some mural art?

This started off with simply drawing graffiti images and graffiti designs on paper in high school. And then, this is funny, my parents allowed me to graffiti my whole third floor room. I got a bunch of friends together and we tagged and graffitied the entire room. Graffiti was always something I was interested in. I haven´t done it that much often, but it started off even before painting. Even before that I started doing graffiti.

In some way that is as well a piece of the puzzle. It´s as well part of the art you are doing now, it´s all connected through a development.

Yes, right. It´s all part of the learning process and building yourself as an artist. There are different avenues you can take for being creative.




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