Saturday, 16 December 2006

Interview with Scott Altmann

Q) So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?

A)Name :Scott Altmann
Age: 29
Background info: I am a freelance illustrator and gallery painter

Q)How did you get started making art?

A)I was drawing since I could remember and really liked creating imagery that demanded alot of
my imagination. I am pretty bad at everything else, so I felt like this was my only option if I wanted
to excel at anything in life.

Q)How would you describe your art?

A)Subconscious symbolism

Q)Who is your biggest influence, both art and non-art related?

A)I have tons of influences -and some influence more some days than others. I will list just a few:
Rembrandt, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Arthur Rackham, Alphonse Mucha, Dean Cornwell, Gustav Klimt,
J.W. Waterhouse, John Singer Sargent, Jon Foster, Brandon Kitkouski, Winsor McCay, Heinrich Kley.
Non art-related -would have to be my wife and son, nature, anxiety, sleeping disorders, coffee, lack
of coffee, and good music

Q) How do you approach the creation of a new piece... how does everything come together?

A)Each piece is different, and I try to keep it fresh by not falling into any one routine or method. With that said, there are certain
things that I do that seem to work for me. I try to sketch as much as possible, and more from my imagination than reference.
It's the idea generation that I am searching for. I can always get reference later if needed, but that initial energy is very important
to try to capture. It's really a searching process for me. My mind often feels overloaded with ideas and imagery- so the hard part for
me is to be an editor. Scrapping the weak ideas, and trying to pinpoint the ideas that are more powerful. This is a difficult task because
there's no manual or a way to measure a good idea. Technical matters on a painting can be scrutinized, but ideas either fail or they succeed.
My hope is that I can draw the ideas that will resonate the most.
If a worthy idea surfaces, I then try to refine it - compositiion, lighting,
drawing issues and so forth. Once that is complete I proceed to paint the image.

Q) What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?

A)Oil paints without a doubt. I feel the possibilities and effects of oils have the greatest range. The amount to learn
with oil paints is just limitless. Everytime I paint I learn something new about the medium and how potential the paint has to offer.

Q) What is your favourite art related web site?

A) - great source for technical information on oil painting - lots of great images in their "Classics" section with works my McCay
,Kley and many more. is a nice way to check out what is happening as well. - Tor Publishing's Art Director, Irene Gallo keeps a great blog on many things
happening in the illustration world. She's really on top of it, and updates usually more than once a week.

Q) Is your work all hand done? Or do you use any computer tools to help out?

A)For my illustration work, I sometimes do that digitally for speed and convenience. It also saves money on
art supplies!. Even then I assess the job, and if I feel it would work better in traditional oil paints, I will do bust out the brushes and linseed oil.
For digital work I use Corel Painter and Photoshop with a Wacom Intuos 2 tablet.
All my personal/gallery work is done by hand- traditional oils.

Q) What, in your opinion, are the best and worst places to exhibit artwork?

A)The best places to exhibit - I'd like to think that when you find a gallery where they support your individualism and
their client base is receptive to what you do.
The worst place - For me that would probably be a crafts fair! It really depends on the individual I suppose.

Q) I'm always interested in where an artist find their inspiration. Where do you find yours?

A)My biggest inspiration without any doubt is my son, Dylan. Besides being the closest thing to an angel I have ever seen he
has illuminated my entire being and world in just the 2 short years he has been alive.
I am really just inspired by everything that I either observe or encounter. It can be the smallest thing from my cat
trying to catch a fly on the other side of the window, or a trip to the beach with my family.
I also collect art books, and they provide me with constant inspiration (and sometimes frustration as well.)

Q) How are the reactions on your work in general?

A)For the most part it has been really positive, especially the more personal work. At a gallery opening I had, I was shocked
to have people come up to me and let me know how much my work had affected them. It is really a beautiful and powerful
thing when an image creates this visceral energy.

Q) What are you doing when you are not creating art?

A)Sketching...oh, wait. To be honest I have little or no free time at all anymore. I usually am just playing with my son or
trying to spend some family time. I also play guitar when I get the chance.

Q)What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?

A)A unique voice- and one that resonates to large audiences. Technical competence is important, but the real
power in art in lies elsewhere. I also see alot of art being enjoyed by certain "scenes" , and it seems that few have
the ability to create art that crosses over to many different types of people.

Q) Do you believe that a person is born with a talent to produce art or can anyone can be taught?

A)I do believe natural talent is a factor, but it's just part of the puzzle. To get the complete picture, you need intelligence, drive
and a healthy amount of guts. I do believe anyone can be taught to draw and paint realistically. You might not be Rembrandt, or
Velazquez - but you could learn to create a competent work. There is a little science to art, and there are really no secrets.
Creating something beyond that is another issue.

Q) Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?

A)With me, all my work has a timeline of about 2 months maximum before I loathe it. I am extremely hard on myself,
so I am ready to burn most work as soon as it's off the easel.

Q) What are some current/upcoming projects you are working on or excited about?

A)In a more general sense . I have been really thinking about my technique and to try some new approaches, mostly
concerning paint application. Also I have been feeling really ambitious and look forward to doing more involved compositions
this upcoming year. I got a lot of ideas filling up this small head lately.

Q) What advice would you give to younger up and coming artist?

A)Be stubborn, individual, independent, strong, and honest with yourself. Work yourself to the bone, but then make sure those
bones have some fun once in a while and enjoy the things that make you want to create art in the first place.
Q) Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?

A)Oh my - I would have to list 1000 artists, It seems every week I find another artists that I think is great.
As for galleries, I'm really impressed with the mentality and professionalism of Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles, CA.

Q) Do you need others to tell you they like it before you feel validated?

A)Not at all. Compliments and critiques are great, and I think important to listen too but only to a degree.At the end of the day it is
my judgement that matters.
Q)Tell us a little about some of the different types of jobs you've had over the years, before/while doing what you do now. For someone who is starting out in art, how would you recommend they go about making a career out of it?

A)Oh man - where to start?! After college I worked at the Frick Collection in NYC, in their basement. I was in charge of inventory of the bookstore, and I also organized and put together slides for their collection and lectures. I also worked at a high-end party/ flower store where the art department created props, and centerpieces based on certain party themes. After that I did some graphic design for a local college. That's the short story, but soon after that I became a full- time freelance artist.
For someone starting out - just completely love what you do. You don't always have to love the result, but love the struggle, and process.

Q)Your contacts….E-mail…links



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