Technique Tuesday – Art On Art!


Years back, student Angels Gazquez Espuny of Spain interviewed Art a few years back for a school project. The title was “The Artist’s Psychology”, and considering that Art has made his Photography As Art seminar a continued exploration into the subject matter in the years since, it seemed like a timely re-post! Enjoy!

  • From your experience, what is art and what is an artist?

A true artist is an individual who creates from their soul be they a musician, writer, dancer, sculptor, painter or photographer etc…They have a need to express themselves in a creative way, revealing a part of themselves in the process. To restrict their creative outlet, whatever it may be, whether they sell their work or not, is to imprison their soul.

Art is a journey, for both the artist and the viewer. An artist will grow and mature over time. Myself, I began with a more realist approach to my painting and photography and have trended towards a greater appreciation for the abstract as I have followed my own journey. The same is true for the viewer. At one point in your life you may not ‘get it’ when you look at another’s artwork; perhaps it is too abstract or unusual; but later in life you may return to these same pieces and see them from an entirely new perspective, appreciating them in a way you couldn’t have before. Everyone sees and interprets art from their own experiences. It is because of this that you can’t simply define “art” or an “artist”, each is an ever changing and growing interpretation for the individual.

For me personally, the highest form of art is something that enriches the viewer and speaks to them evoking an emotional response from within. I fill my home with art, both my own and pieces I have collected during my travels all over the world. Some are highly prized pieces such as centuries old Native American baskets but  they run all they way down to simple indigenous crafts I have picked up for a few dollars. I have even transformed my yard over the years into a work of art inspired by the Chinese paintings of the Haung Shan landscapes.

I am an artist, I have been since a child. It was when I was a young boy in middle school the teachers, upon seeing my paintings, were so moved, that they actually paid me for my work. It was right then that I knew I would make a living selling my art, my creations, and I have followed that path ever since. My roots are set deeply in painting. I went to the University of Washington receiving my degree in Fine Arts and I saw this as my path. It was only in my 20s that I would transition to a photography and make my name as a wildlife photographer and in my journey, now at 60 years old, I find myself returning to my roots as a painter more and more.

  • Why and what motivates you to create, what do you normally create?

As I said before, I am an artist and I have that same drive inside me that all true artists feel which continues to motivate me even after nearly 40 years. When I return from a trip my mind is instantly seeking out the next opportunity – whether it is with my camera in the field, a studio session, or time with paint and a brush, as an artist I will never rest.

I have always been a strong conservationist, even as a child. I grew up spending more time outside than inside exploring the woods near my home in West Seattle, Washington getting to know every bird, reptile, mammal, and plant I could find. At a young age I could see the need to protect and preserve our fragile natural resources. I strive to capture the natural beauty in works of art with the hope that it will inspire the viewer, evoke that emotional response, to see the need to preserve and protect our diminishing resources.

In my career as a photographer, I first began photographing animals and landscapes and that is perhaps what I am most well known for. Over the years, traveling the world, I was fortunate enough to encounter the elusive animals that inhabit the remote corners of our planet, and at the same time I got to know and appreciate the indigenous people that inhabit these lands as well. Their culture in many cases remains intact as it has been for countless generations. Getting to know these cultures, fostered an appreciation for the beauty of their approach to life and balance with the planet. With a career spanning over 30 years, I have images in my archive that can not be replicated today as cultures give way to outside influences.

Traveling the world I have also been exposed to a wide variety of religions and practices giving me an appreciation for the beauty you can find in each. Over time I have found myself bringing home more and more creations around culture and religion from these travels.

Lastly, as I get older I find myself drawn more and more to the abstract. The photographs you find me taking today are less often about the grand scenic landscape and more often about intimate details, abstracting the elements in the natural world to tell a different kind of story, but one rooted in the same motivation for protecting and preserving the natural wonders of our planet.

  • Do you think an artist is born or grows with age?

I believe both statements are true. One is born with certain passions in their soul. No matter your level of physical fitness, if you don’t have a passion to climb mountains, you won’t be a mountain climber, that is a drive I believe you have deep inside of you and an artist’s drive is no different. You are born with this drive to create though not necessarily the talent to pull it off, for talent comes with time. This is how an artist grows with age. Some may be self-taught, others classically trained, and it’s the rare exception that may be inherently talented, but even with those, I would argue that you can see their work grow and transform over time as they follow their journey.

Whether your art form is photography, painting, music, whatever…talk with any artist and they will tell you of a journey where they grew as an artist, honing their craft, focusing their talents, changing with time and improving with each creation.

And I continue to evolve, I have taken photos in the last 3 years that I never would have seen just 5 years ago – at 60 years old I continue to get better, look objectively at my art, improve on it and move forward, never stagnating. I will be growing as an artist so long as I am still able to create.

  • Do you have any reference artists & what inspires you?

I am inspired by the works of many classical and contemporary artists. You will see direct evidence of influences from Jackson Pollack in my work in a composition showcasing the random line and chaos which can be found in nature. I have also long admired the work of dutch artist M.C. Escher. I have photographs that I explicitly composed with his repeating geographic patterns in mind such as the repeating black and white of a tightly composed image of penguins in the artic. As I am photographing in the field, a scene will unfold before me reminding me of a particular artist’s style and I will compose my image drawing upon this style.

As a lifetime student of art, the list of artists inspiring me is a long one. You’ll find all the usual suspects such as Salvador Dali, Renoir, Van Gogh as well as more contemporary artists such as Keith Haring, Jacob Lawrence, Mark Toby… To visit my library at home would provide you an understanding as it is filled with art books spanning the centuries, it would be far too difficult to try and list everyone I draw from here.
Additionally I am also influence and inspired by the original artists, those who left their art on rock and cave walls 10-30 thousand years ago in Australia, southwestern US and the caves of Spain and France. They were true artists abstracting their subjects, suggesting movement and exaggerating their features. They were not simply recoding exactly what they saw, they were creating art.

Lastly, I am inspired by the beauty of nature. The intricate designs you find everywhere you look, from a curled fiddle wad of a young fern to the beautiful colors in the wings of a McCaw. This is why I keep doing what I do, I love nature and all her beauty and I want to share this with everyone in the hopes that they too will fall in love and understand why we need to protect this precious gift.

  • Do you consider yourself an artist?

Absolutely. Art is my passion and I have been following that passion my entire life.

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Where’s Art? Episode 4 – Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Episode 4 of Where’s Art is here! This one is a little longer than previous installments, with more insight and photographs from my most recent trip to Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park. I’ve been coming here for so long that it’s difficult to pare down my thoughts on this location and the way it feels to be back. Glacier Bay is a trip I look forward to making every year – so much so that we plan them well in advance. Click here for more information on how you can join me on my next trip here in 2018.

In case you missed them, you can check out all of the episodes of this segment so far on the Where’s Art section of my multimedia page. We have some exciting new ideas in store for this segment in the future!

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Photography As Art – Podcast

 

If you’ve been contemplating attending my full-day Photography As Art seminar in a city near you in 2017 and would like to know more about it, my podcast with Rick Sammon is sure to give you the insight and motivation you need to sign up! We are now less than two weeks away from my next appearance, this time in Atlanta.

Take a listen, and then sign up to join me in one of the following cities!

March 5th – Atlanta, GA

March 11th – Seattle WA (deluxe edition with special meet and greet at my home the evening prior to the seminar!)

May 7th – Portland, OR

May 13th – Scottsdale, AZ

May 21st – Memphis, TN

June 4th – Toronto

June 11th – Chicago, IL

June 18th – San Francisco, CA

June 25th – Washington DC

And if you’re looking for more great podcasts with me, check out this recent interview with Skip Cohen.

 

 

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Wanderlust Features

In the past few months, Wanderlust Travel Magazine did a series of articles with me. You can see them all here, including “5 Tips for Taking Great Photos of People.”

Enjoy!

Wanderlust Interview

5 Tips for Taking Great Photos of People

Photographs From the Edge Gallery

Migrations Gallery

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Interview with Candid Frame

candidframe

I recently recorded a lengthy interview with Ibarionex Perello of the Candid Frame. Listen here.

Follow Ibarionex on Facebook

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Iserlohn Interview / Earth Is My Witness Exhibit

This is the last weekend to see the Earth Is My Witness exhibit at the Städtische Galerie in Iserlohn, Germany. On June 2 it reopens at the Stadtmuseum Schleswig, and I will be giving a live presentation on June 3 to discuss my work!

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Cheating Death for a Photograph

Indian rhinoceros, Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal
Indian rhinoceros, Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal

Read incredible stories of near misses from photographers Mike Arzt, Don Smith,  and Paul Moon, as well as an account by yours truly of a run-in with an Indian Rhinoceros while working on The Living Wild.

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Bare Essentials: Master of Photography Collectors Edition

Read my interview in the latest edition of Bare Essentials

bare essentialsThe tools may change, but the skill of a master storyteller is timeless.

Technology has changed our communications in unimagined ways—allowing us to capture a story as it unfolds, using innovations of creative wizardry, portable, affordable, advanced in every measure. And the ubiquitous nature of our digital era means anyone, anywhere can be a storyteller. But, there is more to this ancient craft than simply point-and-shoot. To evoke sentiment, inspire change, and unveil hidden truths about a subject, one must master certain skills.

In this two-part collectors edition, some of the world’s most iconic ‘Masters of Photography’ share their secrets and explore the skills that define a truly exceptional storyteller. Lessons that span a lifetime contribute rare and timeless insights on how to impact change, express emotions and compel empathy through the lens. Life has many facets and each demanding a different approach. Our experts advise on all genres of photography, be your passion adventure, wildlife, or culture, there is something here for everyone.

The thread that connects us to this wide and wild world of ours, is strengthened through discovery and a growing knowledge of the workings of nature. I invite you on a journey of discovery spanning the globe with masterful storytellers and their stunning images of life on earth. I hope it inspires you to BE curious and never stop exploring!

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Interview in PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine Issue 100

Photo plus logoThe new-look PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine goes on sale now worldwide. It includes an 8 page interview with Art by David Clark.

Subscribe to PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine before June 15th and you’ll get their entire special 100th issue (not just the 4 pages shown here) plus the Ultimate Canon Handbook for free! That means you’ll get 14 issues in a 1 year subscription, wherever you are in the world.

CAN100.profile-1 CAN100.profile-2

 

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Tales By Light Premiering May 24th!

 

Last year I traveled extensively with cinematographer Abraham Joffe and the Untitled Films Works crew, filming in East Africa, Papua New Guinea, Alaska and here in Seattle. This work has come to fruition in “Tales By Light” produced by Canon Australia and National Geographic Channel.

I am a featured photographer along with Darren Jew, Richard I’Anson, Peter Eastway and Krystle Wright.

The series premiers May 24th in Australia on National Geographic Channel. (See the media release for more information.)

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