Thursday, April 19, 2012

More Secrets Revealed!

The countdown is on! In a mere 14 days, Seth Apter, author of The Pulse of Mixed Media will be in Vancouver! WOOHOO!! I am really looking forward to finally meeting him in person. To celebrate, I thought I would share with you some of the "secrets" Seth unearthed about me that weren't published in the book. Seth asks the best questions!

Here we go!

 One thing I have never shared with the art community is…

One art camp… *grins* Seriously, I am an open book and I wear my heart on my sleeve. If there’s something I haven’t shared, it’s probably because no one’s asked yet.

What is your secret dream as an artist?

If I cop to my secret dream, then it kind of puts it out there, doesn’t it? Would it be terribly cliché to say that someday, I would like to walk into a bookstore or a library and see a book with my name on the cover? Before I was ever an artist, I was a writer. When I was a little kid, I attended writers’ conferences and my poetry was published when I was a teen. All of this led me to believe that when I grew up, I’d go into journalism. Funny how things turn out-I took a single art class in high school, which I didn’t enjoy very much (the teacher would come over, grab the paintbrush out of my hand and paint on my canvass-ARGH!!) and here I am some 20 odd years later, creating art every day. Who knew? Now it feels like marrying the two worlds would be the natural thing to do. I know in my heart I have a book or two in me; the question is whether those books are destined to make it to print or not. We shall see. I believe that everything in my life always unfolds exactly as its meant to.

Have you ever received artwork from others and reworked it to make it your own?

The only time I’ve ever reworked another person’s piece of art was as part of a collaborative project. Linda Woods (Author of Visual Chronicles and Journal Revolution) sent me a couple of her art postcards. The idea was to take them and alter them however I chose and send them back to her. One was a mixed media collage of a pear (which she uses as a symbolic representation of herself) and the other was a photograph, shot through the rain-soaked window of a NYC taxi. It was an interesting exercise and I enjoyed working on something that was just for fun. I believe she has the altered postcards posted on her website.

 What is one current trend that you wish would go away?

Printed packing tapes, tissue tapes and Washi tapes. (Washi tapes are Japanese printed masking tapes) It’s terrible. This stuff like artistic crack-I can’t stop buying it. The colours and patterns are endless. I blame Teesha Moore for turning me onto it. She posted photos of her collection on her blog and that was the beginning of the end for me. I’m hopelessly addicted. *laughs*

 In your opinion, is creativity built-in or learned? Or both?

Wow! That’s a really good question! Personally, I think all human beings have the innate capacity to be creative. It’s paramount to our survival as species and how that creative energy manifests is unique to each individual. I think the learning comes in when we seek to strengthen a particular aspect of our personal creativity by gaining knowledge from mentors or seeking out a formal education. People often claim they aren’t creative, but I think it’s just a lack of vision on their part. They may be very gifted in a way that’s not traditionally seen as being creative-the sciences come to mind. It’s seen as a very right brained thing and yet scientists are called on to find workable solutions for very complicated and often very technical problems that require an incredible amount of creative thinking to solve. If you've ever watched the movie Apollo 13, you’ll understand exactly what I mean.

 How has the Internet changed your artistic practice?

The Internet is what led me to embracing my creative self. It’s been the conduit for connecting with other artists and opened up amazing opportunities to contribute to the artistic community. I’ve been able to work on numerous projects, with an incredible array of very talented artists, which I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. I keep up-to-date on current trends, techniques and projects via the blogs I read daily and I do a good 50% of my art supply shopping online through independent online stores and marketplaces like Etsy.

 Do you enjoy working more intuitively or by carefully thinking through your process?

Most of the time I have a rough vision of what the project is going to be and then, as I begin working, the art just makes itself, which is the best way I can explain it. Sometimes it’s very close to how I pictured it in my mind’s eye and sometimes it’s gone off in a totally different direction and the finished piece turns out better than what I had anticipated. When I get out of my own way and just let the art happen, I feel that I produce my best work.

 Do you create art to work through inner issues or is studio time more of a distraction to keep from facing your problems?

Art has saved me so many times. In January 2004, as I was grieving the loss my beloved Gramps, I was invited for the very first time to do artwork for publication. The timing could not have been better. I spent hours working on pieces for the book with the stereo cranked up and I would be absolutely sobbing while I worked. I’d begin working right after breakfast and from there, I’d completely lose track of time. Time felt oddly suspended when I was in the creative groove. Working towards a publisher’s deadline gave me a sense of purpose at that difficult, sad time and helped me work through my grief.

In late 2007, when I was going through the process of being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, (a life altering, incurable neurological disease) I once again turned to art for comfort. It was a real struggle for me because I lost all the feeling in my hands at that time and could barely manage even the simplest of tasks. It was both frightening and frustrating. Ultimately, the loss of feeling in my hands became permanent. It took almost a year to adapt to the extreme numbness, but I really feel that by pushing myself to keep creating, I was able to retain dexterity in my hands.

I don’t know how much time other artists spend in their studios, but I am in my studio every single day. It’s the first place I go when I get up and it’s the last place I am before I go to bed. I think for me, creating art is absolutely essential to my well-being. It allows me to feel like there is a small measure of normalcy, in a life that’s been turned upside down by MS and on the most difficult days, it provides a way for me to express feelings and emotions that there are simply no words for.

 What do you think your preferred art medium says about your personality?

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” 

The other thing I wanted to share with you is that Seth  is the cover guy on the latest issue of Somerset Studio! He's also featured in an Artist Profile and there is a review of  The Pulse of Mixed Media in there as well! It's so great to see someone who works so hard and gives so much to the mixed media community have this type of recognition. He is most deserving.

 On May 3rd, Seth will be having a book signing and launch party as Le Marche St. George in Vancouver at 7 p.m. You can not only meet Seth, but also a number of contributing artists from the book, including Patricia Larsen, Leslie Avon Miller and ME! There will also be an art exhibit, Con Leche with works by the Larsen Family (Patricia, Janaki & Klee) and Seth Apter. 

Mark your calendars and come join us-it's going to be a great time!


Anonymous said...

Great responses to these questions!! And isn't the article about Seth fantastic. Have fun at the book signing!!

Seth said...

Thanks for sharing your responses to all the questions...and for spreading the word about my visit to Vancouver. Looking forward to meeting you!!