Hillel Selznick is an abstract expressionist artist living and working in New York City. Nature's colors and shapes inspire his work, as well as his own imagination. His paintings are in private and corporate collections throughout the US.
Hillel has been drawing for as long as he can remember. Like many artists, Hillel Selznick started painting representational watercolor before realizing he needed a change. He made the jump to abstraction and never looked back. Today his focus is less about reality and more about strong design and color.
Can you describe abstract art to those who have difficulty understanding it?
Hillel Selznick: My abstract art is about taking what I feel or see in my mind and putting it onto a surface so others can see it. In abstract art, many people will see different things as their imagination takes them to different places.
What made you choose abstract as your creative style?
Hillel Selznick: I wouldn't say that I chose it, but that it chose me. Since my imagination and emotions were so large and strong, I couldn't fit them into a subject, so I ran wild with them.
In what ways has your style evolved over the years?
Hillel Selznick: My first paintings were very timid, you could see I was holding back, but when I let go, the best came out.
Whenever I look at photos of my early work, I am amazed at how my expressions have evolved over time. One day I hope to incorporate actual figures into my work instead of just representations, and I believe that over time as I continue to stretch my artistic muscles, I will be able to accomplish that goal.
Considering abstract art is non-representational (without identifiable shapes or figures), where do you acquire your inspiration?
Hillel Selznick: A lot of my inspiration comes from my emotions. As my collectors have learned, I paint in certain ways when I am feeling certain things, so my biggest inspiration is the normal motion of life and the emotions that accompany it.
The beautiful people in my family inspire me every day. Also, I am very inspired by nature and music. My work is influenced by the colors I see in my mind associated with every emotion that I feel, every crescendo in music, and every breeze in the wind.
Can you describe your creative process?
Hillel Selznick: My goal is to learn something new every day, or to push myself a little further each day. I paint every day.
The choice of paint felt right to me. Additionally, I have experimented with other materials and mixed media to achieve my desired effects.
Sometimes I do studies if I'm curious about something, but usually I just dive into a project and see where it goes. I have been known to splash, drip, pour, apply with unusual instruments, or use only my hands to complete a painting by the end of a paint day. Sometimes it takes only minutes for me to paint, other times it may take days.
Through color and composition, abstract art evokes a lot of emotions. Would you mind sharing how you use color and composition in your pieces to evoke emotion?
Hillel Selznick: For me as an artist, color is simply a source of inspiration. There are different reasons and emotions associated with each color. Using colors in my work helps me express my feelings, and I choose colors that sooth, calm, excite, and inspire me.
Through my works, I aim to stimulate the viewer's imagination and stimulate their emotions. When I create a piece, I hope that the person who is intended to receive it will be left speechless because they have connected with it.
When it comes to creating abstract art, what do you find most challenging?
Hillel Selznick: The art I create doesn't pose many challenges to me. There are, however, some challenges I face explaining it to people who don't comprehend abstract concepts.
Is there anything you wish you knew before you started painting abstracts?
Hillel Selznick: What an addictive job I would have. There are times when I am inspired to paint and wake up in the middle of the night with an urge to do so.
Can you tell me about your greatest difficulty as an abstract artist and how you overcame it?
Hillel Selznick: Until now, my greatest challenge has been learning not to let the ups and downs of my business affect my confidence.
When sales are low, or the economy is slow, it can be difficult not to think that your work is not good. Being a self-representing artist can also be challenging. Once you overcome these hurdles and remain confident in yourself as an artist, things begin to get easier.
What is your pricing strategy for abstract pieces?
Hillel Selznick: I found this one difficult. It is my goal to make my work affordable for everyone.
In addition to making a decent living, every artist wants their work to be shared with others. In the end, I have to pay the bills, so if I could paint and share my work without selling it, then I would be able to take care of my family.
My price structure is based on my desire to make my pieces affordable to everyone, from people living in small apartments to large corporations.
You can learn more about Hillel Selznick’s art at www.hillelselznick.com.