Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Interview with Bart Powers

Q)Something about you…what you want…

A)I really want to create and grow as an artist my entire life. To create work that people will enjoy. If something I do takes someone's mind off of there bills or problems in there life for a brief moment, than I will have done something. I also have this vision of work that I would like to achieve someday. I have not come close as of yet and I probably won't. I always think of something my uncle told me as a young boy when I would help him do roof work. I told him I was scared. He replied that the day you are no longer scares is the day to get off of the roof because then you would be in danger. I feel it is the same way with your work as an artist. The day it is safe or you are no longer scared you are in trouble. What are your main goals when you create? When I create my goal is good comosition, something that really flows like water from a fawcet. Also something that is hopefully different and unusual. Something showing my perspective and hopefully giving the viewer something entertaining and engaging. I want to tell a story with one image. I remeber as a boy seeing a carnival midway poster. It was for an exhibit to see the frog girl. The poster had two beautifull girls playing beach ball. they were bathing beauties that looked as if they were from a 1950's pin up. In the center was this figure of a girl. The two girls who were beautifull were passing the beach ball to themselves, excluding her from the game. She was bald with webed hands and feet. Her ears were pointed and she had a rough scaled skin. This image made me feel so greatly for this girl I thought of her image for weeks on end. In retrospect this image showed how what is different is usually cast out. This image was so very powerfull on so many levels. It attracted me to the girl who was unusal and from a sexual aspect it frightned me as a child. This is art and what I hope to acheive with every painting. I never do though. If I do it with 10% in a lifetime well then this would be an achievement. Do you rule by any tendency in your creative work, or you only follow what comes in your mind? I really have no control on the outcome of my work. I work from a rough thumbnail sketch and the work always takes on a life of it's own. I used to labor over illustrations years ago but they became exercises in masicism. It's like letting a horse out of the barn to run free. When this happens I am much better served. I just want to keep things loose and freeform. How has the internet and your website helped you spread your artwork to a wider audience? The internet is a true gift. A real blessing. It would have been impossible for an artist to reach the audience he or see can before the internet. I have been able to reach gallery's much quicker and have better communication. Prior to this I would mass mail photo's and slides. It cost so much and regular mail was so slow. Months went by before there was a response.

Q)How do you define your style and how would you describe your art to someone who could not see it?
A) I would describe my style as a combination of cartoon and realism. Playing with shapes and warping perspective. A sort of abstract circus poster.

Q)What materials do you use to realize your creations?

A) I used to illustrate with Bic disposable black pens and design markers. The old type, which came in metal canisters and were benzine based. I began to paint with oils in 2000. I illustrate rarely in black and white and mostly paint.

Q) What is your favorite a) taste b) sound c) sight d) scent e) tactile sensation?

A) All of them.

Q) What are you doing now…your current projects…

A)I am working on a series of ghost paintings now. Based upon my own stories and legends. Making up my own folklore. It is being done in oils and they are all black and white.

Q) Do you listen to music while you’re creating and what do you listen and what do you like to listen?

A)I love music and listen to it all the the time. I like anything and everything. I am currently listening to Brian Eno, his early 70's works like here come the warm jets. Mid 70's Bowie when he worked with Eno. Frank Zappa, Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, and the Beastie Boys anthology, before and after science. Also an 80's band Plastic land Do you draw influences from a wide range of artists, musicians, books…? Yes, actors also. I really like the artwork of Tamara De Lempicke, Comic book artist Jack Kirby, William Hogarth and woodcuts from old books. I have a friend who collects old books and he lets me go thru his collection when I am at his home. It is a real gift. I like so many early eighties late seventies punk rock bands. The energy and sound was amazing. I really was always influenced by singer Nina Hagen. She uses her voice on so many levels. I recently aquired a book called The Art Of Imagination. It is a 700 plus page book featuring the best of horror, fantasy and science fiction art. It was used and the best bargin book I ever purchased. I am also heavly influenced by silent movies. Directors like Fritz Lang, F.W Marnau and G.W Pabst. I also am a big fan of actors Lon Channey and Louise Brooks

Q)Name 3 things you couldn’t create without?

A)God, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression .

Q) Where have you show your art…?

A)I have been with the Ann Nathan gallery in Chicago since 1992, and have shown there every year. I also work with the Duff Lindsay gallery in Ohio and have started to work with the Henry boxer Gallery in England. I have had work shown in the Halle St Pieree in Paris in 1995 and this year in and exhibit of Chicago area folk artists. In addition i was very fortunate to have my work included in the permenant collection of the Art Brut Museum in Lusanne Switzerland.

Q) What haven’t you done yet that you definitely want to try someday?

A)I would love to travel. I have not been anywere. I suffer from Agorophobia and it is difficult for me to go out. I only go outdoors for what I have too. I would love to see the ocean and other states and countries. I also want to sculpt with clay.

Q) How important is self-promotion for an artist nowadays?

A) Self promotion is very important. I am not good at it. I do it to survive as an artist. The computer makes it much easier but it is still difficult

Q) Would you say that your work consciously reflects characters and situations found within your daily life?

A)To an extent yes. But the bulk of my work is of imagination mixed with past memories

Q) Favourite book?

A) I have many, but I would have to say two are tied for number one. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Animal Farm by George Orwell .

Q) Designers/Artists you admire?

A) I really like the designer Ramond Lowey, Frank Loyd Wright Auto designer Wayne Kady, Artists are Tamara De Lempicka, William Hogarth, Jack Kirby, Religious Art, Art of the ancient world, Egyptian, Roman, Greek, Asian and so much other art. Like the great musical composer Duke Ellington said, If it sounds good it is good, if it looks good it is good.

Q)Your contacts….e-mail…links…



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