Where were you raised?
I was born & raised here in Paterson, NJ
Can you paint a picture of your childhood?
As a kid my mother emigrated here when she was 21. She ended up having 3 kids, my brother, sister & myself. We grew up in rough neighborhoods with little money. I remember sometimes we would live 2 family’s (aunt, uncle, & cousins) in one apartment. Things weren’t so easy then but looking back it makes you appreciate life a lot more.
Did you create as a kid or did your come to it later in life?
I believe I always had an artistic side to me since I was a kid. I always did good in art class growing up & also drew sketches on my own time. At one point a few years back I even tried out painting on canvas with acrylic paint.
Which artist influenced your work? Why & how?
Well in my line of business I’m considered part of that 1% group. I make custom furniture using locally sourced trees & an epoxy. As far as influenced, I would say there’s 2 companies that I follow on social media LuxEdge & Black Forrest Wood Co. In my opinion I believe they're are on top of the game. I get certain ideas from them but just add my own twist to it.
How did you get into this art?
Believe it or not I started this as a project to help my girlfriend renovate her tattoo shop. She needed new counter-tops for her shop. We searched the web for different counter-tops/ideas & came across the epoxy river tables. We both instantly fell in love with the style. I started doing tons of research on YouTube on epoxy river tables. The more I saw the more I was intrigued. Me being good with my hands I thought id give it a shot in making the counter-tops for her shop rather then spending the money & getting someone else to do them. Wow was I in for a big surprise. It was a lot tougher than I expected. It took a lot of time & tons of patience. At the end it was well worth it, the counter-tops came out amazing especially for it being my first time experimenting with epoxy. During that process of making those counter-tops I would post my progress everyday on social media. My followers & other random people fell in love with it. I started getting requests for tables, counter-tops, cutting boards, you name it. So I decided I run with the wave, resigned from my job & here I am 1 year later Owner of SAC Luxury Designs!!!
Is your art more concept-driven or image-driven?
I would say for the most part my art is more concept driven. I deal with a lot of clients so we sit together & collectively come up with a concept of what they want. They shoot me their vision & I bring it to life. Then you have some that will just leave it all up to me. That's when I have the freedom to really create.
How do you make your art?
The process of making a river table(epoxy table) can be quite long. Depending on the size, it can take 3-4 weeks to make a table from start to finish. First, is figuring out the thickness, width & length of the table. Next, we decide on which type of wood we would like to use as well as which color of epoxy you want to go with it. From there you have to make a waterproof mold for the wood & the epoxy to sit in during the curing (drying) process which usually takes about 4-5 days. After that we DE-mold the table(remove table from mold), cut off all the edges to have clean cuts, surface the table with a router(level out both sides of table), round over the edges(make them smooth), sand the table down from 60-220 grit, & finally you add your finish to the table to seal it.
Does your art influence your life, and vice versa?
Yes absolutely. I risked it all & took the chance on quitting my job to pursue something that I felt had purpose, but more importantly made me happy. I now had the freedom to create for myself & build up my own brand/business from the ground up. I have my studio and shop at TheArtFactory 6 days a week 12 hour shifts sometimes more. So yea my art is my life at this point.
What do think about the notion “the lonely artist”?
I think its true in a sense. To create you definitely have to be in your thoughts a lot. Depending on your art you might be physically lonely as well. For me the creating part would be all me but I’m trying to build a company with employees in the long run where multiple pieces can be made at the same time.
Does your art connect you to the world in someway or does it help you navigate the world?
In this era we live in with social media, not just my art but all art I believe connects the artist with the world. With the click of a finger you can connect with an artist that lives on the other side of the globe. I think that’s the amazing part of social media. You can touch people from around the world without physically being there or knowing them. My art also helps me navigate the world as well especially when on vacation. It opens up my creativity more. I always look for signs or new styles when I’m away.
Do you make art for yourself or for others?
I mainly create for clients. I’ve been fortunate to have work coming in to keep me busy. With that alone it leaves me no time to create for myself. I can say though when a client leaves the creativity up to me and lets me go full throttle for them, I create something for them like if it were going to be for me.
What purpose do you think art serves today?
Ah man, art is everything. Its always been. It opens up the mind, gets you to think, visualize & create by bringing it to life. Again, with social media I believe we have so many platforms on so many different levels display the arts. You can connect with the world & vice versa!!!