Dr. Liston Bochette, III – “Ambassador of Olympic Art ” – 1996 Sport Artist of the Year
Bochette’s training as an athlete prepared him for dedicated work as an artist. Bochette describes how his athletic focus influences his artistic pursuits. One can hear the similarities between the disciplines required for both fields and the understanding that fine art can last longer than fleeting moments of athletic triumph.
“Concentration cannot be wasted on non-contributing events or activities. Today’s athlete is often forced to sacrifice the simple pleasures non-athletes take for granted: vacation, casual friendships, popular diets, free time, etc. The elite athlete is perennially at risk of injury, isolation… Perhaps that is why they are so exalted when victory is theirs. Yet as so many come to learn, victories are brief, and the public’s memory can be even briefer.” ~ L. Bochette
Bochette’s painting style exhibits strong elements from the Symbolist movement. Essential to Symbolism is the presence of an idea that is independent of the scene pictured. Many of Bochette’s paintings are intended to convey aspects of the Olympic ideal. The scenes contain characters who symbolize parts of this ideal. The picture becomes an allegory of Olympic striving for cooperation and excellence. Symbolist paintings display objects of the external world in an emotionally altered style that includes the feelings of the artist about the subject. The paint may be applied in loose washes and distinct segments that can approach Abstract techniques; however, the content remains representational and subjective. Colors and lines are used for their symbolic meaning. Often the perspective is flat, and the objects seem to float like dream images within an obscure, foreshortened spatial field.
Several brilliant French artists’ works contain clues to key influences on Bochette’s painting style. Gustav Moreau and Odilon Redon are considered the major fathers of the Symbolist movement in painting. Bochette’s work contains many similarities of style to theirs. Marc Chagall’s monumental works contain many related elements that Bochette admires, such as a floating panorama of dreamlike figures and broad washes of color. In an interview with United States Sports Academy Curator of Art, Robert Lord Zimlich, Bochette mentioned the romantic, almost naïf illustrations by the English artist William Blake as influential on his style.