What is your favorite medium to work in as an artist?
I had discovered acrylic paint. I can’t think of a single greater medium for me. Here is why I love it so much- It is water soluble and easy to clean up. It’s strong as all get out when dry and comes in every color imaginable. Can be mixed to any shade or combination of color. Has no strong smell. And In my mind had triumphed over traditional materials like watercolor and oils when I found out I could silkscreen with it. Years ago I was using another medium- not paint but polysynthetic Mylar chips. Which in the art world is known as “glitter” And I love the glitter as a medium because it is not a paint. Yet it is a medium.
Who is alive today that inspires your work?
There are a lot of artists I could list- piles of them actually. And you’d be surprised to discover that NOT every artist I get inspired by is a pop-art artist- no.. not at all. There are a lot of present day NYC city photographers and artists that after seeing what they have done, have inspired me. A few people who come to mind are the likes of Joel-Peter Witkin for his darkness in photography; The Starn Twins for masterful use of photocopies and their stick and staple constructions. Also William Wegman for his joyful sometimes charismatic style. I met Wegman years ago while he was in Ohio. And there are others like Dale Chihuly the glass artist, Jeff Koons, Shepard Fairey and Banksy make the list also.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
My answer is simple “To make things whole” We create. We alter, we change, and we are the pulse of fashion, the new, the now, the changing of something that keeps pressing forward in the society of humanity. We are the ones who decide for others who can’t create art what they can see, wear, listen to, feel, touch, and experience. I make- you enjoy.
What role does the Artist have in Society?
The term Artist is so broad that we have to look at the role part first. At one time say during the 1500s, artists were the rock stars of their time, like in the days of Michelangelo. This is when painting and stone and clay was the only medium to record life. Nowadays, artists are shapers. We shape the world. Go back again and see that in those days, the artists and painters “recorded” life- and we have new ways of doing that today so, artists have different roles. I see artists as entertainers. Artists help create entertainment.
What has been a moving experience that relates to your personal artwork?
My childhood is loaded with strange experiences. I look back on these experiences to be inspired. One of the greatest moving experiences ever was in high school in 1988. Our art teacher named Mr. Devine showed slides of modern artists. He went through the humdrum of role of call art and then- I saw it. There in front of me was ‘100 Campbell Soup Cans’ in a single frame. Fireworks went off in my head. It was so moving that I spent the rest of my high school art days finding out more about who was Warhol, and how he made that art. Thus, why I became a printer.
What’s your favorite artwork by another artist, living or dead?
Now anyone who has seen my work mentions just one man. However, I will try to leave his name out for a moment for I want to shine light on another artist you might be surprised about… My favorite artworks by other artists is Hans Holbein who painted The Ambassadors in 1533. He also painted Henry VIII, 1537-1547 and many more.
What is the biggest challenge you face professionally?
Just trying to be. I teach English in Korea. I love my job, but as all of us know we would rather spend our days creatively and not academically. I do teach art at our college. I teach a basic art history course with activities to explore one or two artists and what they do. However, the challenge for me is to be BIG in art. Meaning I want to create large works, that involve many people and use wood, metal and cement- do to the lack of everything in Korea- space and time namely- one can’t always make these things. The other challenge is I don’t have a car. I don’t drive in Korea and being a working artist getting things to and from places is a challenge in itself.
What person, dead or alive, would you invite for dinner?
Living would no doubt be the Diva Annie Lennox. I have been infatuated with her since 1982. And I have so many questions to ask her. Actually, and this is a confession I am in love with her. Fan or not, I am in love.
What kind of risk and sacrifice, either creatively, or in your work, has had the biggest effect on your life?
—– I like this question. When we say 1.) “work” I wish to include in this the newest phase of my artistic life- the portrait photos now being created every 6 months with DJAC photographer Alla Ponomareva. The 2.) “risk” was getting to create something that might fail. The risk has paid off incredibly. The 3.) “sacrifice” is 6-8 months of work creating conceptional ideas, drawings and creating props and costumes to fit the photo. I know the photographer, she is a trained professional and her work always nails the concept image in my head each photo-shoot. These photos so currently named “The Seven Christophers” at present. These works are in fact the sum of your question complete. Risk, sacrifice and work combined. For anyone who has seen the works, you can see that it’s not just a sit down and click, we are done, here it is deal. No. There is a massive amount of work in each session. Works of art that involve months of planning. Each piece is getting more complex. The lineup of this risk, sacrifice and work series is 1. Christopher himself, 2. The Victorian 1888s, 3. The Evil Prince, 4. The Tudors, 5. The Herbologist, and now 6, The Curiosity Shop. The next and final image would involve the future. Each is extremely special to me for they are a segment of my life. A doctor from Nepal once said and I quote “How many Christophers are inside of you?”
How do you know when a work is finished?
When you can’t add anything more. The piece starts to speak back to you and say “I’m full”.