Everyone has their own sense of style, from how they dress to how they speak to how they write. The list can go on and on. Artists, through their work, express their own unique perspective and style. Now, you can not look at one piece from an artist’s portfolio and say, “Hey! His style is ….”. It doesn’t work like that. Style and perspective are developed over many many years and can be seen across various works. So, for example, let’s look at the style of Edward Hopper.
One of Hopper’s most famous works, which we discussed in the last post, is Nighthawks. In the painting, you can see how Hopper uses various light sources and angles to move characters either into the background or foreground. For example, the man sitting by himself at the bar looks a lot darker in the picture than the rest of the characters, while the bartender and couple sitting on the other side are very well lit and distinguishable. In addition, the outside surroundings of the bar are very dark and poorly lit. Your eyes are drawn into the diner, and directly to the couple.
Now, let’s take a look at Night Shadows, another Hopper painting. The same principals of style apply here. In my opinion, I think that this painting is less about the character, but the fact the no one else is around. We as viewers feel almost like we are stalking this man from the rooftops as he is walking to his destination. Once again, the use of the light source, which is greatly exaggerated (which can be concluded by the shadows), is meant to highlight the street and vacancy of the area, rather than the lone person on the street.