As an artist, I am committed to the furtherance of our great European art and culture, where the goal is to re-achieve the glory of the past, without directly re-creating it. My interest spans different domains of music, painting, prints, engraving, sculpture, and architecture. At some point, I became truly engrossed with the idea of capturing nature within the 'frame' of human cognition, with the intention of creating a perfect harmonious integration of elements. This, I found, brings a unique sense of gratification and appreciation in the viewer, and more importantly, stirs the imagination. I have been strongly and indelibly influenced by traditional European principles, which can give the artist the means to create a highly individualistic and influential product.
I have always had a special appreciation of painting and printing, where the challenge is to effectively present the illusion of a three-dimensional scene in only two dimensions. I have studied and been influenced by such artists as Allston, Anderson, Bagetti, Bellini, Bellotto, Bierstadt, Boisselier, Boldini, Bosch, Cammarano, Canaletto, Cassett, Cassett, Chardin, Chernestov, Frederic Church, Clausen, Cole, Constable, Cooper, Courbet, Cuyp, Dadd, Danby, De Gubernatis, de la Tour, de Nittis, Fortuny, Harnett, Heade, Hobbema, Hodges, Limbourg Brothers, John Martin, Master of Saint Giles, Musscher, Netscher, Onderdonk, O'Neil, Peto, Theodore Robinson, Ruebens, Ruisdael, Sargent, Segers, Turner, van Eyck, van der Heyden, van Guyen, van Ostade, van Ruysdael, Vroom, Voogd, Wiertz, Wilson, Wisinger-Florian, and Zuburan. I have also been influenced by my wife, Cassandra Sporer, who is a fine artist in her own right.
It is not surprising that I became involved in photography at an early age, being fascinated by the ability of film to capture the highly detailed nuances of reality. I intensified this pursuit of this subject as time went on. I sensed that photography's full potential would only come when the image matter from the negative could be fully manipulated, and when the inherent limitations in film could be compensated for. This, I discovered, could be accomplished through the judicious and customised use of various computer tools. I take the photograph as the basis of the artwork, and through various manipulations, I take the image to a higher level, so that it becomes fine art expressed as a print in ink.
I have taken images in a variety of conditions and contexts, in England, Ireland, and France, as well as the Northeastern US. I have taken the greatest care to attain excellent composition, which I believe is of paramount importance for a high work of fine art. My landscapes often include prominent historically important, if little-known, landmarks which give weight and drama to the scene.
In addition to my interest in the visual arts, I also have an abiding and deeply ingrained interest in music. My musical ambit spans the period from 1200 to 1800, with a particular focus on the music of the 'Baroque' and 'Classical' Periods, that is, from about 1500 to 1800. The music of this period has tremendous elegance and taste, which unfortunately has been completely lost in subsequent periods. If one were to objectively study the extraordinary qualities of European instrumental and vocal musical works, and, no less importantly, examine the superior design and craftsmanship of European musical instruments (especially the king of all instruments, the harpsichord), there would be no doubt that the sophistication and refinement of European music has made it vastly superior to that of any other continent. Because of the arrogance of the modern period, there are a multitude of outstanding and exceptional Baroque and Classical works that have gone unperformed and unpublished since 1800. I have collected and played thousands of these works; the authors are too numerous to name here. My study of these works has opened a new vista on music of the traditional period, allowing me to develop special performance abilities, and to learn how to sight-read the numerous examples of keyboard music written in the old clefs, something only a few musicians can do.
My own musical talent extends to playing keyboards instruments. I own a magnificent reproduction of a Giusti Italian single-manual harpsichord, a type of instrument which has a unique sound of truly transcendent qualities. Through my studies of music, and the actual experience of having played hundreds of pieces on my harpsichord, I have found that the musical score cannot be viewed as the 'final' form of music, rather it is the actual performance of the score on an instrument that gives the music life. It is hearing the actual sound of the instrument that delivers pleasure. Thus, no musician can really 'hear' the music in his mind just by reading the notes, appreciation comes by played the score on a proper instrument. In this regard, we should note that the vast majority of composers in the traditional period (before 1800), were highly proficient musicians (harpsichord, organ, and violin being the usual instruments). Compare this to the situation since 1900 where most 'composers' in the art music field were not musicians at all. The difference is that a real musician must hear the music to be fulfilled, whereas an academic 'composer' can be satisfied with seeing his 'music' in the form of small circles and lines on a piece of paper. Consequently, because the traditional composer was a musician first, he provided the performer (his colleague) with ample opportunity to add his own ideas to the final product. The realisation of traditional music is, therefore, both an intellectual and emotional process: first, the performer must know what he wants to express in his music, and then he must articulate his feelings through a disciplined use of his hands and fingers. Physical strength and dexterity, the requirements for playing the complicated (and tedious) piano music of the Romantic period, are not the dominant factors. The traditional masters understood that the musician performer must be able to connect with his instrument, so that it becomes an extension of himself. The light touch and the brilliant, resonant tone of a well-made harpsichord allows the musician the greatest latitude in expression, so that the structured progressions of individual notes and chords are fully perceived and enjoyed.
There are many exceptional musical works that have never been republished, since their original edition, and many other that have never been published at all, and remain in manuscript form. I have been collecting these works for many years, and have built up an extensive library of keyboard works from the so-called Baroque and Classical eras. Some of the many composers that I admire and play: JL Adam, M d'Auenbrugg, CPE Bach, JS Bach, C Balbastre, CS Binder, G Boehm, L Chaumont, M Coelho, AL Couperin, F Couperin, JB Cramer, J Eberlin, JG Eckard, E Eichner, JH Fiocco, JJ Froberger, B Galuppi, M van den Gheyn, JW Haessler, CF Hurlebusch, H Jadin, JC Kellner, JK Kerll, L Kozeluch, J Krieger, JG Lustig, FW Marpourg, C Moyreau, G Muffat, G Platti, J Pachelbel, IJ Pleyel, JH Roman, H Scheidemann, A Soler, JF Sterkel, J Vanhal GC Wagenseil, JG Walther, M Weckmann. And to dispel the myth that the British had an inadequate musical culture in the 18th century, we could name these fine composers: J Alcock, S Arnold, C Avison, R Barber, J Beckwith, W Boyce, J Burton, P Cogan, T Ebdon, M Greene, W Jackson, J Keeble, J Jones, W Russell, J Sheeles, JC Smith, J Stanley, Elizabeth Turner, J Worgan, T Wright. Note that most of the music written by the aforementioned British composers remains unknown, even to many British scholars and musicologists.
These are some of the ways in which I am bringing to realisation my vision of refinement and higher culture. The great artist much make the all-encompassing dedication to Idealism: to create great enduring Art, who take the slow, methodical careful approach. They who seek to create work that goes far beyond the ordinary, will truly not be forgotten. We must therefore emulate the great artists, who over many years patiently built up experience and knowledge, to deliver those masterpieces that will endure forever as icons of a glorious culture.
Paul Dennis Sporer