Friday, December 9, 2011

Artist Interview: Steven Allen Sewell

What is your name:
Steven Allen Sewell

Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist: 
I am occupationally trained. No degrees. Nor can I say I'm self taught. I was just fortunate to have worked with some really good artists in the mid nineties who contracted work for corporations like Disney, Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe, Victoria's Secret to name a few. The company I worked for was called X Designs in Columbus, Ohio. We called it the Art Warehouse, about 40 artists from various backgrounds working together under one roof.

What is the style of your pieces:
I would call it contemporary American impressionism, since I seem to be too impatient a painter to achieve realism in the truest sense. Even though I have been able to achieve a degree of realism, I tend to fall more in the category of impressionism.

What is the medium in which you work:
Strictly oils. I just like the way they feel. I like to work wet, don't like the quick dry of acrylics. Watercolor is a medium thats tough for me. I just like the satisfaction oils give me when I work.

What started you on your path as an artist:
Old school signwriting. Before there was computer generated vinyl lettering.  People wanted art along with lettering, and since I seemed sort of naturally inclined, and the job demanded it, they got the art, and I got the practice. It became very diverse, because I was "forced" to paint just about everything from apples to zebras. As the years progressed, I "accidentally" graduated into mural work, and eventually work on an easel. At first, I didn't want to bring my work home with me. But as I got older, signwork grew less, and the easel at home just sort of took over.

What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your life:
Freedom. The freedom to work for myself, doing what I love doing. The freedom to express myself, put my feelings about life out there in the world for others to see, and hopefully benefit from in some way. The satisfaction of seeing how my work has evoked emotions from the viewer. I love to jerk people's heart strings.

What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in:
Clay, oil based clay. Going 3d. The way it feels to my fingers, hands. I was afraid of that for a long time. But then someone brought me 5lbs of water based clay, and I shaped a horse lying down and from then on I was hooked.

Do you have art showings, and if so what are they typically like:
Never had an art showing in my life. Don't know what that is like. 
Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in:
 No. I'm a blue jeans and t shirt kind of guy, and just about everything I have in my closet has paint on it.

What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist?
That blank canvas stare. Searching for inspiration and not finding it. I'm getting better at delving into my past experiences to come up with fresh ideas. I hate painting pretty pictures. I seek to make some kind of statement in my work these days.  In short, that "tortured soul" syndrome.

What is your favorite sandwich of all time:
LOL. Really? That would have to be a footlong Spicy Italian on Italian herbs and cheese bread with everything, oil and vinegar, and LOTS of salt and pepper.  Oh I get it. We are what we eat. Guess I should be doing Italian art.

Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they:
Yes. Age has granted me more free time to paint. I've also matured somewhat over the years to the point of taking my work more seriously.

Who is your favorite artist alive or dead:
That would have to be the great illustrator Norman Rockwell.

What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in person:
Wow, hard question, since I've seen so much art that evokes my own personal emotions. Again, that would have to be Norman Rockwell's Americana. As far as a single piece of work goes, I would have to say an original Remington or Russell.

Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work:
I'm just gonna be honest. Out of one mule 2 dogs and a cat, not a single one of them has ever given one of my paintings a single glance. I painted "Hambone", showed him his portrait. But all he did was just run around in circles and pee on the rug. Does that mean he liked it?

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share with us:
No, if I did I would. I am hoping to arrange a showing in Guthrie, Okla in 2012.

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