MP: What made you decide to become an artist and how old were you when you knew?
I have been involved in some sort of creative activity throughout most of my adult life. However, I did not get involved with the visual arts until about 10 years ago, initially as an art lover and soon after as an art maker. This side of me was unleashed after a serendipitous meeting with an artist while on vacation in Vancouver, Canada. Her own artwork and identity as an artist served as a tremendous inspiration to me, one that continues to this very day. I first focused on book binding but this very quickly evolved into other art mediums. What started out as a hobby has now become a necessity and central to who I am.
MP: You are the brain-child so to speak behind “The Pulse”. Please share with our readers about this great project in case there is someone out there that has missed it.
The Pulse is an ongoing, online project that I sponsor on my blog The Altered Page. Its purpose is to foster greater connection and communication between artists with a web presence and both other artists and art lovers. It is an opportunity to “take the pulse” of the web-based, primarily mixed-media, artist community. And it is a way to be introduced to new artists and get a more personal view of current favorites. The Pulse started in January 2008 with a survey of 35 artists. Since then it has grown significantly. There have been two additional editions, including a second survey beginning in August 2008 that included 95 artists. The survey results remain available on my blog or in a printed zine. I am currently hosting a large collaborative art project, The Disintegration Collaboration. When that is complete, the fourth edition of The Pulse will go live.
MP: Do you have a favorite medium or technique that you use a lot in your work?
Being primarily a mixed media artist, I use quite a few different materials and techniques in my artwork. Favorite one? Well in terms of medium/material, I would have to say paper and acrylic paint. In terms of technique, that would be distressing in all its forms…sanding, scratching, inking, tearing, aging, and the like.
MP: What advice would you give an emerging artist?
Two things come to mind that might at first seem contradictory. First, maintain a sense of play and a willingness to learn by experimenting with as many forms of art as possible, especially those that initially may intimidate you. Second, and perhaps more important, stay true to your creative instincts and create the type of art that comes from within you.
MP: Do you have certain times of the day or night that you find your muse is at its best?
I think I am most productive late at night. I am more focused, it is more quiet, and I always seem to get a second wind. When night comes, I have put aside the needs and stressors of the day and I feel at one with my artistic voice. In addition, I am a runner and I often find that I feel most creative on long runs. In fact, artistic ideas emerge and blog posts sometimes seem to write themselves as I run.
MP: Your recent works have been influenced by a recent trip. Tell us about it and how it has influenced your current works of art.
I live in New York City which is an endless source of inspiration for me. But I often take vacations in settings that are quite different. I find that my time away from the energy of the city is very inspiring. My last two trips have both had significant influences on my art. My trip to Greece, where I had a once in a lifetime chance to climb Mount Olympus - on the night of a full moon no less - infused my work with more nature themes. In addition, the sense of vastness and space I experienced at the summit has influenced my backgrounds.
My trip to New Mexico also had a strong impact on the themes of my art – more religious imagery in both concrete (icons) and abstract (crosses) forms. Also, I was completely smitten by the colors and textures I found in Santa Fe and often look to these memories for direct inspiration.
MP: If for just one day, you could be anyone from anytime in history, who would that be?
Tough question. No one single person comes to mind. But I do know that I feel most alive when I am (1) presented with a challenge that requires me to extend myself and be somewhat out of my comfort zone and (2) faced with a situation that carries a sense of mystery and maybe even some risk. The satisfaction and excitement of discovering that you can be successful when confronted with situations or activities that make you dig deep and find “what you are really mind of” is unbeatable. For this reason, I think I might want to spend the day as an explorer in history.
MP: Are there artists whose career you follow?
Well, I am a huge fan of art blogs and spend a lot of time visiting a great many. So in a manner of speaking I am following the career of every artist whose blog I visit. There are a number of living artists who I admire greatly and who serve as inspiration for me, but I wouldn’t say that I follow their career to closely. These include Antoni Tapies, Anselm Kiefer, and the Japanese photographer Masao Yamamoto.
MP: Do you have an affinity for any of the art masters of yesteryear? If so, who and why?
When I was young and went into a museum I would always head straight for the Impressionists. I was mesmerized by Monet. But now, I would go straight to exhibits that included work by Rauschenberg, Cornell, and Basquiat. The work of each of these artists resonates deeply with me. They all created artwork that was unique, ground breaking, heavily layered, and filled with detail.
MP: Do you have any upcoming projects/books/events/etc. we can look forward to seeing in the future?
In addition to continuing with The Pulse, I have several, large scale, collaborative projects in mind that I will be introducing on my blog. More of my work will soon be featured on a number of websites and in both online zines and paper publications. And as a next step in my development as an artist, I am discussing the possibility of both teaching classes and exhibiting my work.
MP: Is there anything you would like the art world to know about you or your art that we did not cover in our interview?
I see the artwork that I make as an expression of who I am and a reflection of my view of the world. To me, art, much like people, is deeply layered and textured. There are often things under the surface that cannot be seen but are equal in importance to what appears as the outer layer. There is beauty to be found in imperfection. My use of found objects and materials that are used and distressed is based on my belief that our own personal history makes all of us who we are. I want to capture that in my art as well.
Images courtesy of Seth.
Seth, thanks for a great interview and sharing your some of your outstanding artwork with our readers.
I apologize for the off centered artwork as well as the different fonts and sizes. Typepad had a mind of its own and I finally gave in!