Recently I was asked a series of questions as a part of feature .... below I will repost my specific Questions and answers....... because while answering them I felt like I discovered a few new things about my process (and self)
...SO I want to have them here as a sort of reference marker.... 10 years ago would my answers been the same ? 10 years from now...
before I post my specific results , I encourage you (whom ever you are) to check out the other artists interviewed as well.... I think having different artists answer the same set of questions (a few of the questions were artist specific) revealed a lot about the drive to create .... and the place Art ( for lack of a better word ) lives within us ...
kesbet.deviantart.com/journal/ check out the entries that begin with the words " Tea Time With... "
_________________________________ here are my results______________________
1. How long do you make art and what encouraged you to even start?
I think most kids draw, and work on creative projects, but they grow out of it….. with me, I did the opposite… I became dependent upon that creative time.
…. However, if I had to pick a specific moment , I think it would be when I started to keep my journal.
I was in Junior High (about 11 yrs old… I am 43 now). I was lost. I felt awkward, and isolated, and lacking in any kind of potential.
I started keeping a Journal around this time. It was full of drawings, fantasies and complaints about my life …. It was --- escape, pettiness, and self indulgence…… a security blanket, and an invisible friend …. Eventually it became the way I found a context for myself within the world.
I think of my art that way, I feel like I am always sorting out, breaking down, and working out the tangled elements of both myself and the things outside.
2. Could you share some insight of how your typical workflow looks like?
hmmm… I have a sketchbook…. and I pick up a pen and just start drawing ….
I don’t really plan …. Often I don’t know what It will be when I start I just let one line inform the next . I follow shapes and whims…. Then once I am hooked by the drawing, obsessiveness takes over and I insanely peck at the piece during free time, meals, television, and hours I should be sleeping.
I feel a huge drive to keep working on it …… sometimes beyond the point I should stop.
I am driven by tactile experience, repetition and whatever thought is swirling around in my head.
So… sometimes stepping back and thinking about a viewer is difficult for me…. I do not have inherent sensibilities involving composition or color use, readability ….. those sorts of formal things are all afterthoughts for me. (I can get by but…)
I do understand and recognize that there are useful tools for communication I need to submit to…
(for balance) ...Sometimes I create a forced structure so I Have to step back and look at what I am doing and keep the audience in mind. (a few examples) I apply a time limit… crop a splayed out barf pattern of an image so that it seems like I had a focal point…. limit myself to only line work or limit my color pallet…
In that way I am able to (sometimes) wrangle the nebulous mess that is in my head, and tame the chaos a bit……….
---I feel like when I use the word chaos there I am giving myself too much bad ass credit …. I am not that punk rock….. it is more like meandering confusion than being too wild to be tamed LOL.
3. Let's imagine you are your own viewer, could you describe your art in three sentences (or less)?
hmmmm… I think 3 words.
4. We all have favorites of all sorts. While speaking with artists we often ask them to give an exaple of other artists who they admire and take inspiration from. But, I'm not that type. Rather than that, could you give three examples of words you particularly like? They can be from any language - but provide their english translation, please. If you like to, you can explain why they are so special for you.
I love the word Fuck …. it can be so many things….. Caustic, enthusiastic, if used quietly- tender. I like the sounds of the letters… I like how it sits in our culture…. I like it’s abrasiveness… I just like it.
Whisp…. it sounds like a magical tendril….
Viscus…. it sounds deep and slimy and raw to me …. it hits some primal part of my brain, and it makes me bounce between thrill and disgust.
5. There is a purpose in everything, every artist has some hidden agenda. We all create a piece having something in mind, which not nesesserily is what our viewers see in the end. Some of your works are very abstract and enigmatic - which I love. But I was always curious what you, the creator would say about your own piece. Could you pick one of your works and help us understand it better?
Wow… this one is hard… I am usually surprised by the results when I finish…
This is my favorite recent piece… I felt like I was in tune with my pen while drawing it.
I don’t think of my work in terms of the final image. I can deconstruct it with formal thoughts after I am done. …But I can’t say I composed this element here, to provoke emotional responses from the viewer there.
I would actually say that the audience wasn’t really in my head at all … Many things that seem like design elements are actually for me… not intentional visual tools.
I think of the lines and how they connect like a map of my emotional responses. You could start in one spot and follow the line to see the sweep of my thoughts.
The box or frame around it is not so much ornamental as a capsule to regionalize and focus my wandering impressions. Like a fence, it keeps stray thoughts out, relevant ones in.
And, the different areas of pattern respond to the different ways I reacted to the dead bird on my lawn… There is some go-to fill …. I am embarrassed to say but when drawing this I thought (or felt… since my thoughts wren”t really full sentences ) about death … rot … the life that will come from it… the life lost … the empathy I have for endings…. the compassion I have for those who are left behind….
I chose this piece specifically though because something kind of neat happened while drawing it….. the teeth… those vicious little pike teeth….
While drawing the head, I thought of the last frozen expression stuck on the birds face…. but when I started to flesh out the beak my focus turned to the bird consuming its’ share of life in order to survive…. and before I realized what I was doing I had drawn teeth…. I wasn’t too sure why but then I realized that my thoughts had been of the birds culpability concerning ending other life to continue his own.
so (I guess) that’s why the teeth popped up.
I enjoyed the experience of drawing this.
6. We discussed a few times how dreams affect our art. Could you share with others here, what makes them special for you?
I am older now …. and have been having fairly mundane dreams. However, that was not always the case.
There have been long stretches of my life where I feared sleep.
The skin between the dream world, a world that in most cases felt
horrible and twisted, and the waking world is very thin for me…
Occasionally I see and feel things generated by my sleeping brain while awake and those minutes feel like hours.( for example) There are horrendous moments when someone is holding me down and I am unable to breathe …. times when things are crawling under my skin… times when I feel that I am responsible for gruesome acts of violence….or wake up clawing at myself because I believe I am on fire …. I could go on…. but in general…. it aint good….
However, my patterns seem to come from these moments as well.
Just as I am waking or falling asleep I will see trailing and swirling patterns dance through the darkness or creep across a patch of sunlight coming through my window.
I believe my drawings are connected to those moments held in limbo, between my cognizant self and dreams.
7. In your art there are a lot of skulls which obviously represents one of the symbols of death. We may not admit that, but death is still a taboo, something we don't discuss about unless we are forced to. What fascinates you in skulls, are they an allegory of death or you look at them differently?
It fascinates me that humans are the only animals aware of the inevitability of death.
There is an insanity created by this knowledge. There is a weight to death that sits in the shadow of every moment for me.
When I see a skull… I enjoy the image, it has a sort of positivity for me.
I have been drawn to skulls since I was a child.
I don’t know that I would say my attachment to them is solely because of the overwhelming power of death… I have other associations with them as well….
they seem substantial to me … Skulls are the hard protective vessel that holds our brain… they are the firm structure our meaty faces are attached to …. they are somehow for me --- rawness and truth if that makes sense… death is in there, but they are also about who we are when everything is stripped away.
It is rare for me to say this but the image of a skull sometimes makes me feel connected to people …. LOL, like I am one of them or something