lunedì 4 agosto 2008

Interview with Lee Roswell

q)What is your name?

a)Lee Harvey Roswell.

q) Where do you live and work?

a)I live and work in San Francisco, Ca., though my girlfriend and I have been planning a move your way, to Italy that is, possibly mid-2009. But who knows?

q)What is your creative process like?

a)These days most of what I do starts a quick, very crude cartoon drawing. Just getting the idea down. I might have specific people in mind for characters, and then I go about finding appropriate locations, wardrobing the models, and getting them to understand the scenario (their actions and motivations), and the scene is photographed. From there I do some further adjusting on the computer, and take it onto canvas, redrawing things and building up an image with my oil paints.

q)What is your current favorite subject?

a)I find influences eveywhere. No lack of points of curiousity. Lately I've been finding a lot of ideas in Buddhist teachings, particularly the many books published by and about the Dalai Lama. So, concepts like interdependence and shifting perspectives, those sorts of concepts, have been active in the creative process.

q)How long does it take for you to finish a piece?

a)Anywhere from a single sitting to a month or longer.

q)What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?

a)I don't know what my greatest accomplishment would be. Probably something totally unrelated to painting. Maybe just being here, pushing myself further, and finding some happiness in my work and what I do. I don't think the artistic process is inherently a means of happiness, so if you can set yourself in that direction that's a good start. It's important to give your work 100%, but it's also important to create happiness for yourself and others.

q)Are there any contemporary artists that you love?

a)I really like Mark Tansey's work. He's got great technique, beautiful compositions, and his concepts are both brilliant and full of humor.

q)Can we buy your art anywhere?

a)The best place to buy my work is straight through me at There's also Justin Giarla of the Shooting Gallery in San Francisco,

q)Anything that people should know about that we don’t??

a)Yes, there is plenty you need to know, but you are not ready yet grasshopper. No, kidding. Nothing comes to mind.

q)What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?

a)Advice... Great works of art do not come easily. So, creating a strong self-criticism towards your work is needed. You may also find that you have to eliminate certain aspects of your life that serve as extra baggage to make yourself equipped for the level of commitment required. I don't even answer the phone for days on end if I need the time. But with that in mind, I also recommend developing a commitment to those aspects of life not so much directly related to painting but that make you a healthy being (physical excersize, making yourself helpful to others, and so on). It's easyto lose sight of that in all your disipline.

q)What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?

a)I'm compelled in what I do, so if frustration has my energies flagging, I might turn to another project temporarily, and come back to the troubled area later. Sometimes backing up helps.

q)How do you describe your work to those who are unfamiliar with it?

a)I'd tell someone who was unfamiliar with my work that I try to paint the meat and bone of human existence, which has a lot to do with suffering... and comedy.

q)What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?

a)I'm self-taught, which means I wasn't taught by an elite of teachers, but by a wide array of sources. Daydreaming has been incredibly instructive, pouring through books, being observant in the presence of others in the trade, contemplating those two eyes in my head and how they work. My training has been life. And I'm still an amateur.

q)Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?

a)Air is a hard one to imagine living without, but no, there's no tools or materials I couldn't live without. Art is not essential to survival, though survival in it's more precarious moments could be called an art.

q)Who are your influences?

a)Well, painters obviously, and of them I love the Baroque painters, I really admire a lot of the futurist, surrealist, impressionist, cubist movements, ect. ect. Beyond painters, I'm very influenced by classic literature. I love theatre and film and photography. Comedians and humorists. It's a fairly bottomless subject the more I think of the things that have influenced me.

q)What inspires you to create?

a)Just the sense of being part of creation. Monkey see, monkey do.

q)…your contacts…


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