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Ever since I moved to NYC nearly 30 years ago, after completing a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the city has been an enduring source of subject matter and inspiration for me. Most of the images on this site are executed in egg tempera, an ancient medium that was widely used for altarpieces during the late Middle Ages and which had a resurgence in a range of secular works by American artists during the first half of the 20th century. Several of the WPA-era artists who contributed to this wave became my mentors later on, and much of what I’ve been able to accomplish is a result of their guidance and friendship.
Egg Tempera is paradoxical medium. It embodies the qualities of both fragility and permanence. The slow meditative process of layering the delicate brushstrokes which make up the surface of a tempera painting has the effect of imparting an intimate stillness to even the most active composition. I and other contemporary painters have found this medium of Byzantine icons to be equally well suited to secular urban scenes. These make up a large part of my work. In my NY paintings I’ve attempted to note not only the clutter and eccentricities of daily life but also that which is timeless and universal in a fast-paced environment.
New York: America’s great metropolis. Its architectural bones are enormous; its pace of life so fast that the human panorama goes by in a blur. But for artist Doug Safranek, New York is a city of details; human, structural, neighborhood, intimate. His egg tempera paintings are exquisite evocations of the city’s smaller glories amid its gigantic mass.
Born in 1956, Doug Safranek was raised in Spokane, WA. He eventually went east to attend Boston College, and afterwards pursued his Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Two of his professors at Madison, John Wilde and James Watrous,