Friday, March 23, 2018

As an artist, it seems like the landscape is ever-changing from simply the tools, to the aesthetic. I intend to be an artist that never wants to stop learning, and as such, I find more and more interesting artists everyday. Each artist has a unique insight and point of view, no matter the experience level. New views help open my mind and teach me there are many ways to utilize my skills and I hope that sharing our stories will help others in the same way. I believe there are many paths on an artistic journey, and each interview will help to show the stories of the artists that tread them.

Today we'll be interviewing Steven Russell Black.

Kaminski: Firstly, as always, tell me a little about yourself. What got you into art? What keeps you perusing it? Is it something that you always saw yourself falling into?

Black: I've always been interested in making art for as long as I remember. [What keeps me pursuing it is] A continual drive to get better, be more clear in the presentation of my ideas, and overall improving the craftsmanship of the finished art relic object. [Falling into?] Yes. Never really wanted anything else.

Kaminski: A majority of your work (at least what I've been exposed to) is macabre or dark fantasy - is there a reason that you're drawn into that subject matter? And for that matter, what are some of your favorite subjects to draw / paint in that realm? Why?

Black: I'm drawn to that genre in part because of the kind of work I was exposed to as a kid.

The first books I really enjoyed reading were stories of Jason and the golden fleece. Greek myth's monsters are the best and later I would ride my bike to the local used bookstore and buy used Stephen King novels, My favorite was The Stand, with Bernie Wrightson illustrations, those where some powerful seeds as a 13 year old. 

My favorite creepy things to draw are the beauty in decay. If I can get you to say that a severed head is beautiful because of the way I designed the page and how delicate the painting, then I win. That is my favorite moment. When I've made the ugly or horror beautiful.

Kaminski: I agree fully. I think there's a certain beauty to be found in the decrepit. I wonder if this is part of the reason that the mainstream populous is so heavily into the post-apocalyptic. I feel like that's what the genre is all about, searching for beauty in the run-down.

Your pieces seem to evoke that feeling, but with a certain sensitivity to each stroke. I'm somewhat familiar with your full approach to your creative process, but what's the process like of jumping back and forth between medias? Do you ever find it jarring or is there no real difference between them all?

Black: I've found my voice and mark making. Switching media isn't really too jarring when the muse is the same. My marks are mine regardless of media.

My marks are mine regardless of media.

Kaminski: Awesome! I feel like that's a point that many fledgeling artists forget - that the media doesn't control them, they control it.

I bet this is a question you get asked pretty frequently, but when did you first discover you were a professional artist? What was the transition going from hobbyist to full-blown artist?

Black: Am I? I don't ever feel like I've made it.

Kaminski: I notice that you're a regular contributor to Every Day Original - what's that process like? What brought you two together? Are there any perks or pitfalls you find with submitting to curated galleries? And in that vein, what other places do you typically submit to - and also your thoughts on those specific places?

Black: Marc Scheff asked me to join before it was a thing yet. So I've been in there since the start.
He asked me on Instagram.

The perks are being a part of a select group of artists that the curators have faith in and push your work. That is a great support system. Especially for artists who spend much of their time alone. Or at least I do.

Kaminski: Speaking of potential for gallery entrance: Are there any particular tips or tricks you'd have to recommend to a newbie artist to get up-to-snuff, so to speak?

Black: Work everyday on getting better in every way. You have two jobs as an artist: Make good work and get it scene.

Kaminski: That's definitely the truth!

If not under any sort of NDA, do you have any projects you'd like to promote / talk about? What keeps Steven busy these days?

Black: Currently I'm finishing some long overdue commissions and clearing my plate to tackle my own deck of Tarot cards I'll be producing in the fall of this year.

Kaminski: I always have this pull when I'm working on other people's projects that I feel the most drawn to my own voice. Over time of course the voice overtakes me and I at least have to thumb and concept the entire time I'm working on someone else's vision. The result of this, of course, is learning to prioritize and make smaller, attainable goals.

This brings me to the last two questions, which are pretty commonplace final questions, but:
What goals do you have set for yourself for the immediate? And the long term?

Black: My short term goals this year is to paint more, I've gotten known for drawing but it was always the long term goal to start producing large scale painted works.
Things that look good in a museum setting.


Kaminski: I'd say you're well on your way! And finally, what's the best piece of advice you've received OR what's some advice you could give fellow artists?

Black: Be a good one of your kind. Don't compare yourself too much to others who have very different goals. Define your playing field and do good work.

Kaminski: Pretty sound advice! Thanks for giving us some insights into what makes a Steven tick, it's been great!


Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Steven Russell Black.
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You can view this interview, and many more, HERE.

You can find view more of Steven Russell Black's work at his ETSY:

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