Featured Artist Larry Berko

Inspired by the culture and community in Maui, Larry Berko paints the ocean and beachgoers using paint and pencil. Visit his website to see more of his art.

 

"Water Study #171" Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 36" x 24" by artist Larry Berko. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Water Study #171″ Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 36″ x 24”

 

When you’re hell-bent on discovery and not simply practicing a honed skill to produce attractive images, painting can be an unsettling experience, with hours of confusion and uncertainty. I often find myself lamenting, “I haven’t a clue!” But ultimately this self-questioning is productive and the answers come. Skills and past experiences kick in and trigger the spark that allows the paintings to seemingly paint themselves.

 

"Launiupoko Noseriders #3" Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 72" x 40" "Launiupoko Noseriders #3" Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 72" x 40"

“Launiupoko Noseriders #3″ Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 72″ x 40”

 

My work is a combination of caprice and control.

 

"Launuikopo Noseriders #3" (detail) Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 72" x 40" by artist Larry Berko. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Launuikopo Noseriders #3″ (detail) Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 72″ x 40”

 

Facture—the composition and illustration of the past decisions that led to it—is important. A brushstroke, a patch of paint, ghost lines, a drip or scraped surface; each can be as significant as the carefully rendered.

 

"Walking the Board #1 (detail) Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 72" x 42" by artist Larry Berko. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Walking the Board #1 (detail) Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 72″ x 42”

 

Often, I’ll introduce a briefly sketched figure next to one that required hours of careful work. When I feel I’m getting too tight, I’ll crayon over or scribble.

 

"Water Study #199" Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 48" x 36" by artist Larry Berko. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Water Study #199″ Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 48″ x 36”

 

My approach might be considered a metaphor for life; what we can control and what we cannot. Order and chaos. The unexpected is as rewarding as the anticipated.

 

"Boards #2" Oil and Pencil on Paper, 14" x 11" "Boards #2" Oil and Pencil on Paper, 14" x 11"

“Boards #2″ Oil and Pencil on Paper, 14″ x 11”

 

The practice of adding or subtracting, through painting out, can either offer new opportunity or ruin the work. The risk evolves the piece and leads to discovery.

 

"They're Everywhere" Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 36" x 48" by artist Larry Berko. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“They’re Everywhere” Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 36″ x 48″

 

I am moved by the ocean and the people and objects on and in it. It is mostly exploration of the paint, though, that motivates me. The viewer should see the paint as much as the image.

 

"Water Study #301" Oil and Pencil on Paper, 14" x 11" by artist Larry Berko. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Water Study #301″ Oil and Pencil on Paper, 14″ x 11”

 

With my water studies I can play with color, line, and texture with less of a focus on form. Yet my work is not pure abstraction; it touches all that we associate with the ocean.

 

"Water Study #311" Oil and Pencil on Paper, 14" x 11" by artist Larry Berko. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Water Study #311″ Oil and Pencil on Paper, 14″ x 11”

 

The images of people serve, on a formal level, to introduce shape and a more complicated composition—a mixture of cultures, attitudes, and gestures—not the cliché surfer and a perfect, giant wave. The surfers in the Launiupoko Series, for example, aren’t the type to hoot for attention. They’re just some longboarders intent on their moment in the ocean.

 

"Launiupoko Noseriders #2" Triptych (detail) Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 90" x 36" by artist Larry Berko. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Launiupoko Noseriders #2″ Triptych (detail) Oil and Pencil on Canvas, 90″ x 36”

 

I was formally educated, receiving my BFA from Washington University in St. Louis, with concurrent studies in a university sponsored program in Mexico. I received my MFA from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

 

"Black Cargo" Oil and Pencil on Board, 36" x 30"by artist Larry Berko. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Black Cargo” Oil and Pencil on Board, 36″ x 30″

 

My home and studio have been in Maui, Hawaii, for the past twelve years.

 

Artist Larry Berko invites you to follow him on Instagram.

 

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Comments

  1. Larry Berko’s work is phenomenal! Thank you for all your great images. I am now following your website.

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