Friday, January 16, 2009

My interview -Part 1

I was interviewed today, here is Part 1

1. What do you do in Art? (oils, chalk, pencil, canvas, etc.)
I can paint in Oil, Acrylic or watercolor. I often work in a category called mixed media, where I combining watercolor and acrylic or acrylic and molding medium. The molding medium is really thick, and can be sculpted, I use this to build up an area such as a tree and it's trunk, to give a 3D effect.
2. When did you begin studying Art?
It was all self study. After I had been painting for a while I started getting in some really good shows that were all in major metropolitan areas, Chicago, Detroit, etc. I was painting barns at the time. I found out quickly that a large city is not the place to sell a country landscape. I needed to paint a more contemporary style or I was going to lose a lot of money. I love painting abstracts now, but in the beginning I had no appreciation for them and didn’t understand the style. So I got a stack of art books and studied what other people had done. At the very first show I took these new abstracts I won an award. The National Museum of Sport Art in Indianapolis purchased the painting “Your Outta Here”, a baseball abstract, and put it in their permanent collection. The feel flowing nature of painting abstracts, loosed me up as painter and even transformed my landscapes. Before I started painting abstracts, I would draw the paintings out in detail and then paint the painting. Now I paint landscapes in the same manner that I would paint an abstract. Usually, no drawing at all. I start with a basic concept, Tree On a Hill. I just start painting and react to what’s happening. The Tree On a Hill, may end up as a Tree On a Hill, or it might turn into a tree by a river or an abstract, or a snow scene. It’s like looking at an ink blot until you see something in it.
3. What kind of Art courses have you taken?
Art Marketing, never any painting classes. I have found that well over half of the people making a living in the art and craft market, are people who discovered they had a talent, and turned it into a living. Most of them are not formally trained. Many of the people with art educations become teachers. You have to be a bit of a gambler to pursue art as a career.
4 Why have you chosen Art as a profession?
Growing up in a extremely dysfunctional family, my career choices were limited. I would have had to pay my own way though school without any help of any kind, financially, emotionally or otherwise. So, I didn't grow up wanting to be anything, I was just trying to survive growing up with some semblance of sanity. When I painted my first painting at the age of 27, I knew I wanted to do it for a living.
5. Why did you choose this particular skill?
I didn't choose art, art chose me. I didn't particularly like art when I took it in school. I remember doing a research project in the 6th grade where you got points for researching all different kinds of topics. One of the categories was, "Artist and the name of the painting they painted". You got 2 points for every 20 that you could find. I don't remember any other category, and I found a lot of painters, so I think it struck a cord. I have a second recollection of seeing some original seascapes in oil, and thinking it was groovy (it was 1969)
I never gave art another thought until the age of 27. I had a back injury and had to lay on the floor for 4 1/2 months (bad idea, medieval doctors). I was off work for 7 months. During that time, I saw the painters demonstrating on PBS and I had an epiphany. Five months later I had sold my first painting.
6. How often do you practice your Art skills, and do you participate in any kind of training to improve your skills?
I paint daily when I am not traveling or doing the business side of art. In a pinch, I will paint in the hotel or at the art show when I'm traveling. Painting is the best teacher. If you are not afraid to experiment. You build a knowledge base through actually doing, that you can then draw from. Knowing something in your head and actually being able to do it, are to different things. You have to figure it out by trial and error.
7. Are you involved in a professional organization within your field?
There really aren't a lot of organizations to be involved in. We artist tend to be solitary souls. There are national societies, like the National Watercolor Society, but they are really just juried shows. If you jury in 3 times, you are a member and you get to put NWS after your name. The local groups are mostly people who love to paint, but aren't trying to make a living at it.. There isn't anywhere where I can meet with my peers. The friends that I have at Art Shows all live in different states. I may see them 1 to 4 times a year at a show. There is so much traveling that it would be real difficult to be actively involved in any kind of consistent manner.

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