Walter Rane is a prolific painter and illustrator. He received a BFA from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and embarked on a career of a freelance book and magazine illustration. He expanded into religious works and gained prominence for his LDS-related pieces. His work has appeared in the LDS International Art Competition seven times. Rane and his wife live in New York City.
Tell us about your art career since you moved back to New York. I currently live in New York City. My wife Linda and I moved here about two and a half years ago. This is our third time living in the city, we actually met and started our family here and the city continues to pull us back. One of the reasons we are here now is to seek new opportunities to show my work and make new connections as I continue to grow (I hope). This may be working; I am involved in a couple of shows that I hope will lead to more. Other reasons for living here include the museums, galleries and over all creative energy that is here. We moved to Oregon, from Connecticut, about 20 years ago as my illustration career was fading. We also wanted to be near my wife’s family while our children were growing up. While in Oregon I started painting for galleries and did some teaching. Then the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called to see if i was interested in doing work that could be used in visitor’s centers, temples, and other church buildings. I was, and I have done many. The Church owns about 90 of my paintings. They are often used in church publications as well being displayed in buildings. I continue to do work for the Church but am also looking for new venues.
You once wrote, ‘Art is communication. That’s what art is. If I’m trying to express something that is important to me I’ll do whatever I want’. I certainly believe that art is personal expression of my feelings and convictions. That is why commissions can sometimes be a difficult since you are being asked to express the ideas of someone else. I may have been referring to the fact that I think the finished artwork is what is important not the process by which it is made. Although I primarily use painting as my mode of expression (and at this point I rarely use anything but oil paint), I don’t feel bound by the medium or any particular technique. My purpose for painting is to do something that the viewer will find engaging, something that will open a door in their mind and there will be an exchange, a connection that maybe cannot be verbalized or had in any other way.