Geoffrey Gersten reimagines historical leaps of faith as points of design-driven connection and reflection. His process, a delicate dance between planning and intuition, results in canvases at once considered and carefree” – Katy Niner, Independent Arts Writer
Geoffrey Gersten (b. 1986) is an internationally represented painter based in Scottsdale, Arizona. After early success as a CAD designer for Honeywell and Boeing, he began painting professionally in 2007. A self-taught artist, he learned to paint from privately studying old master techniques for many years. In his early work, Gersten was inspired by surrealism and the idea of painting Dream worlds or expressing the concepts of dreams and visions. “We live in the present, but we think in dreams,” he is fond of saying.
“My beginning with anything that looked like art was not intended to be art. In school, I hated the structure of classes, but I loved geometry; meticulously formulating and arranging shapes was the only thing that piqued my interest. After school, I worked for Honeywell, then Boeing, doing CAD drafting. But after two years, I felt bored and unfocused, so I quit. Within another few years, I saw an old image inside an encyclopedia which prompted a zig-zag streak of inspiration. I was looking for the word “electrolysis” and, while flipping through the pages, came across “etching.” Its accompanying illustration was an etched copper plate from which a print was being pulled. It looked like a typical drafting drawing, so natural to me, so familiar, but one that had been shuffled. All of the lines were out of place, creating something entirely new and different—a work of art. An endeavor to create an image representing a deeper truth, which we specifically call art. This was my eureka moment in life. I was in my mid-twenties and had never painted before. But in that moment, I suddenly realized that my interest in geometry and my interest in CAD all hinged on design. So, I just started painting. Those early canvas were total chaos, but I loved painting so much, I just kept going. I pulled my hair out for 10 years, educating myself, learning over time. I didn’t know what I was doing, didn’t know good from bad. I persevered. Now, it feels like a miracle that it’s worked. Well, sometimes it’s a miracle. Other days…maybe I figured it out just a little bit.”
Always aware of working beneath the “great host of witnesses (the old masters),” Geoffrey’s signature style developed into a confluence of abstract expressionism and photorealism. His most recent canvases draw directly from images, people, and motifs from 19th century photographs juxtaposed on any text, design, and color determined entirely by feeling. This spontaneity is the dynamic factor that thrusts a painting beyond mere representation, solidly into a truly expressive work of art.
With past exhibitions spanning the US as well as Taiwan, and Madrid, his work has been more widely collected each year. Geoffrey’s paintings can be seen in respected galleries in the US, and in prestigious collections and art fairs around the world. He has collaborated with Mark Parker (Nike CEO) and Warner Music.