a conversation with the artist
His work is evocative of something akin to a dream sequence or perhaps even the memory of a place. It is his breadth of understanding of the science of his craft but, also, his passion for the creative process that allows for the creation of work that feels at once modern and vintage. Design Related was given the opportunity to hear the thoughts and opinions of the artist.
Design Related: Please define the term, "designer" and how it relates to your artistic identity and your work.
I would define such an individual as one who investigates and responds to the science, theory and practice of seeing creatively. From my perspective, the approach to solving a mathematical problem is similar to painting a complex image. Recording behavioral interactions of a species in the field is very much like drawing the shadows, mid-tones and highlights from a live model in the studio. The difference that separates us is in the ability to see and respond creatively to what we are recording. This difference is the important factor that makes us designers, artists and creative individuals out of the millions of people who look for ideas on a daily basis.
DR: In what ways do you feel that your experiences of living in multiple cities, your scientific background, and/or your role as a teacher inform your work?
I do have a background in science and was on a path to a possible medical career before deciding that my creative thinking was suited more towards the creative arts than medicine. The transition from the sciences to Fine Art Printmaking was a natural progression. I was able to maintain the technical process while also being creative. In some ways, it gave me an advantage over many students who were still complaining about taking a basic math course while I was trying to persuade the professor that finding the molar strength of the acid was a more logical measurement to etching a lithographic stone over summoning some mythological print god. Living in multiple cities has not only given me a vast wealth of images and experiences to work from, but also the diversity of communities and people have informed my views and relationships in the creative world. Having lived in areas of both low and high density populations I have gained more respect for the environment and how we impact our living spaces which comes back to my need to create images of landscapes.
My role as an educator in the arts has had an enormous impact on my work and my relationship to the creative process. As I take a participatory role in teaching where the studio/classroom becomes a reciprocal learning environment for both students and instructor, I’m always learning more about the creative process as well as how to communicate my ideas effectively.
DR: You have developed a way of working using the combination of traditional printing processes with the more modern digital format. How do you feel that this hybrid of technique plays a role in your execution of ideas?
I think the process of printmaking and the search for solutions to disappearing commercial products have greatly informed my use of traditional methods in combination with digital formats. While the experiences and research from past and present locations start the process of creating the images in my landscapes, the direction I choose to use these images is in direct relation to the supplies and mediums that I have access to.
DR: Your work is extremely evocative. It has a sense of history to it, and feels vintage even when the subjects are so obviously modern. Each piece seems as if it has a story to tell. How do you achieve this?
I try to create some sort of history or story by selecting certain passages or sections of a landscape and then placing them into a seamless collage. Sometimes I have a photograph that I just crop to a specific area and drastically change the way it gets transferred to the paper or canvas. Use of color and composition have always influenced the way I choose and create my final selections. Under saturated colors mixed into fields of gray are starting points in my work. I also think my selection of images always have objects or shapes that relate to historical places or experiences even though they might be from modern developments.
DR: How do you stay motivated?
In my personal experiences, motivation is a difficult thing to maintain. When I’m in the middle of working, I could go for hours without noticing that I missed eating or that the sun is about to come up after thinking I would just finish one more section six hours ago. Keeping that kind of work habit would be wonderful if I were able to afford to just stay in the studio and produce. In the real world, I have bills to pay on a monthly basis and income from a creative field can be scattered at times. Add on some large student loans from a prestigious art school and you have guaranteed yourself another job to balance with the art practice. I was lucky to find a career in teaching art & design. With that said, all the energy that goes towards teaching is less energy for motivation to produce work. Like everything else, its always a search for the right formula to fulfill daily necessities while keeping motivation on a steady path.
DR: As an artist, how do you identify success?
Success can be defined in so many ways. Having a show at a gallery, getting your image on the cover of a book, or seeing your name listed on the credits of a published work can all be signs of success. I’m starting to look at success as having the ability to live every day of my life as a creative individual. Success to me is having the ability to reflect on how lucky I am to be able to teach and practice art & design while not having to participate in a daily nine to five job, where 15 min. breaks and racing out of the office to beat rush hour traffic have become standard rituals.