“I’ve discovered that art is life. Searching for the meaning of art is the same as searching for the meaning of life. “
Born and bred in Monterey, California, Warren Chang (b. 1957) graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1981, where he earned a B.F.A. in illustration with honors. He thrived for two decades as an award-winning illustrator in both California and New York, when he transitioned to a career as a fine artist starting in the year 2000.
Chang has become renowned for his art since his transition to fine art 12 years ago, earning many awards and honors, which include induction as Master Signature member of the prestigious Oil Painters of America, the largest organization of oil painters in the United States. One of only 50 to receive this honor. His awards also include Best of Show awards in the Salon International in 2003 and the Raymar Contest in 2009. In addition his work has been profiled in many publications, including the covers of American Artist and International Artists magazines accompanying his articles on instructional painting. Now based in his Monterey studio, he is an inveterate and popular teacher, currently affiliated with San Francisco’s Academy of Art University.
His work can be categorized into two main categories of biographical interiors and his paintings of fieldworkers. His interest in interiors reach right back to 16th century artist Johannes Vermeer, and include subjects of self portraits, family, friends and students in the interior environments of his studio, classroom and home. His intent is to create mood and emotion through his manipulation of light and use of close value relationships and subdued color.
Perhaps best known for his paintings of fieldworkers from the Monterey County area, this subject harkens back to such forerunners as Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Jean-Francois Millet, Winslow Homer, Eastman Johnson and Thomas Hart Benton. Chang depiction of unidealized fieldworkers are unsentimental, yet at the same time celebrate the human spirit. Chang admits being inspired and influenced by the novels of John Steinbeck; books he read in his youth as well as the general ambiance of growing up in Monterey.
A 112 page monograph book on his work was published by Flesk Publications in 2012. This handsome coffee table book covers the majority of his paintings since his transition to fine art from illustration in 2000, with essays by art dealer Steve Hauk, New York social realist Max Ginsburg and the president of the Allied Artists of New York, Thomas Valenti. Chang’s commentary on his own paintings can be found throughout the book.
Gallery 1 – Warren Chang