Dave Saunders - Creative Spotlight: In history, art evolved to meet the needs of cultures, social evolution, and storytelling...

1) Where were you raised? Can you paint a picture of your childhood?

I was raised in Hawthorne, but my heart lies in both the New Jersey coast and New

York City. As a child, my parents and grandparents would share their love of travel,

museums, and nature with me, which in time turned into my love for learning about

the history and culture associated with artworks. I also spent a lot of time with

fantasy realms, growing up with budget-friendly Nintendo products; a major part of

my aesthetic tastes stem from the beautifully illustrated 2D and 3D worlds found in

Nintendo software. All of these real and artificial places hold so many memories for

me, and I often revisit them now to remind myself of these experiences, and to share

them with others.

SilkCity copy

2) Did you always create art as a kid, or did you come to it later in life?

I’ve been creating art as long as I can remember living! I may have grown as an artist

since I was young, but I still have the same soul and ambition that I had back then. I

hope to never stop growing as an artist, and learn as much as I can from those

around me.

3) which artists have influenced your work? Why and how?

Earlier in my life, I would site names like M. C. Escher, Ken Sugimori, Shigeru

Miyamoto, or Réne Magritte. All four of these artists strived to utilize the bizarre,

unconventional, and innovative to create something that was new, unheard of, or

challenged the default tastes of their artform. However, the more that time passed,

the more I took in inspiration from the things around me, in addition to traditional

art creators. My influences now include individuals who fall into categories such as

writers, game designers, programmers, actors, musicians, photographers,

printmakers, hardware designers, or album cover designers. Taking inspiration

from as many people as possible has broadened my ability to see promise and

interest in much more subject matter for the basis of making art.

4) any other influences (people, places, ideas)?

I love nature, but not in the way most people would expect. Things like biology,

outer space, the world, plant and animal life, molecules, anthropology- I find the way

they all work together to form a working universe fascinating! Furthermore,

humanity has utilized these building blocks of the universe and created our own:

society, culture, architecture, arts, fashion, language, aesthetics- I like to break down

and hone-in on little ideas of each of these huge concepts, trying to gather

inspiration from the most uncommon places.

5) tell me about your practice—how do you generate ideas, what medium do you use?

I form ideas either on a sketchpad using pen, or on the fly with scrap paper. Not

being able to erase prevents me from getting hung up on details, so I can rough out

an idea without hesitation. At this point I move to digital, either by an on-screen

recreation or a direct scan. Working in Adobe Photoshop, I make my idea come to

life, either by using resources from previous projects or imagebanks, or doing

something entirely from scratch digitally. When I’m not working on the computer, I

also carefully capture photographs and sketch in my notes- while I prefer digital, I

do find enjoyment in working these other mediums, and with enough time and

effort, I have produced works of the same quality as the digital art.

6) is your art more concept-driven or image-driven?

My work is more image-driven. Although I value concept, I find that once the work is

in the hands or eyes of the viewer, it is them who decides what they are seeing.

Thus, I try my best to make sure the emotion or message I intend for them to receive

is woven into the work as much possible.

7) why do you make the art you make?

Inside myself, I have a desire to create. Like the need to sleep or breathe, it is a

function I need to fulfill. Neglecting it leads to feelings of unhappiness and

dissatisfaction. While I can get inspired to make art for projects, make a gift for

others, or have commissions and deadlines to fill, I feel best when using art as a

personal challenge. Making personal art serves to fill my need to create, form, and

imbue life into my work. It’s the most fulfilling task I can partake in.

8) does your art influence your life, and vice versa?

Of course! Observing the world around me as I go through life gets me a lot of

uncommon ideas, especially for dynamic shapes or styles of forms. I study colors

from the environment and places I visit, always looking around for new

combinations and palettes. Inversely, a lot of the research I do before I make an

artwork bleeds into my life. Time periods, people, techniques, and locations all end

up being relevant across both my daily life and work. My tastes, experiences, and

ideas jump back and forth between my art and life constantly, making for an exciting

linking of inner-self and outer-world.

9) what do you think about the notion "the lonely artist"?

A lot of artists tend to be introverts! While this may not be always be the case, My

personal experiences have led me to believe that this notion is correct. Not everyone

sees value or merit in different forms of art, and that lack of understanding can lead

to people viewing certain artists or artworks as eccentric or unusual. On the

contrary, that difference is something to be celebrated, as seeing something

uncommon can be interesting!

10) does your art connect you to the world in some way, or does it help you navigate the world?

Art has always helped me form connections with people. In a way, those people I

connect with help me navigate the world, and also help me navigate my own self. In

turn, I help them- so it all works out.

11) do you make art for yourself or other people?

I make finished, polished work for other people. I practice, study, and make

experimental art on my own. A lot of the time, I’ll turn experiments into finished

works, and then use them as both teaching tools and exhibition work. While I enjoy

making art for myself, I feel that making gift art for others is an excellent way of

thanking them for what they do, and it makes them happy.

12) what purpose do you think art serves today?

In history, art evolved to meet the needs of cultures, social evolution, and

storytelling, sure—but since the world today has changed to be so interconnected, I

think art has taken a more contemporary, expressive role. Anyone with a smart

device or a computer can record video, take pictures, or create drawings. Art has

become integrated as a form of personal expression, by being an intimate, unique

recording of events and moments that an individual experiences. The fine arts and

visual works of humankind will always be historically and socially relevant due to

the place they have in history, but it’s nice to know that art is now personally viable

and emotionally accessible to anyone, too.

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