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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Interview with Doug Auld


Q)So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?

A) My name is Doug Auld .I am 53 years old , born in Queens NY . My family moved to NJ when I was a kid and I presently live in Hoboken NJ. My father was a car dealer and my main interest growing up was wildlife and mechanics. I attended a Trade high school with the intent of working for my Dad. I had no interest in art or drawing as a kid. At about 17 years old I saw the Doors play in Philadelphia and that event changed my life. I became interested in music, studied piano and composition and formed a band .

Q) How did you get started making art?

A)When I was about 18 years old,my older brother Greg took me to the Salvador Dali Museum in Cleveland Ohio. My interest in the painted image began then. I am primarily self taught with some continuing education at the the NY Academy, SVA and the Art Students league in NYC.



Q)How would you describe your art?

A) I have always been interested in realism and the single portrait. The primal and psycological aspects of a face depicted in paint has held my interest. I am also interested in how humans behave. Why we do what we do and how we treat each other? Growing up,I was very influenced by the writing of Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone. Similar social questions are present in my work. When making a painting, I strive to document the visual facts of my subject while staying present to the person I perceive to be beneath. Its the power of intention to make a special work that carries a residue over to the viewer. If successful, the painting becomes universal. These paintings transcend the subject of burns and speak to all of us about our fragility. How unforgiving the world is about our exterior. What I have learned from spending time with all my subjects has enriched me. They are all remarkable young people and I see them as pioneers for offering their images up for viewing.

Q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?

A) By being sensitive to everyday life. I may not act on ideas right away but impressions and events get stored. If these ideas keep coming up to me enough times, I start to look at them and test them. Many get filtered out but the real true ones let themselves be know. The inspiration for" State of Grace" happened some 30 years ago when I was confronted by a severely facially burned young girl. The haunting image never left me.

Q)What are you working on now?

A) In early summer, I completed my series" State of Grace". The project took 3 years in total. Since,I have been cleansing my visual palette so to speak. I have been painting some landscapes of the dark woods near my parents home. My Dad passed away 3 months ago and these works relate to him.

Q)How do you approach the creation of a new piece... how does everything come together?

A) I do everything myself. I do not have assistants. I work from life when the situation permits, but lengthy works often require photo references which I usually take myself . Once the reference material is set, I work about an average six hour day on a painting. I work a painting up in stages and never finish any part until the very last pass over the work. Its like building and erector set and tightening the screws and nuts at the very end.



Q) What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?

A) I work in oil paint. Its time tested and versatile. I like the simple idea of pigment on a rectangle. A poem, which is often composed of simple words can inspire a universe of thought , emotion and beauty. Paint on a simple two dimensional canvas can do the same.

Q) Do you collect anything?

A) Not really, although I know the artist Chuck Close and own a small work by him.

Q)Is your work all hand done? Or do you use any computer tools to help out?

A)My work is all hand done. I will draw a loose grid on the canvas and make a simple drawing. It's just a guide. I create the details of the painting in the painting process. I use a computer to adjust and print photo source material. I could short cut the process with projectors etc, but I like to do the work.

Q) What, in your opinion, are the best and worst places to exhibit artwork?

A)I dont know. I like to look at art people put in their bathrooms.

Q) What are your artistic influences?

A)The remaining portraits of Monomania by Gericault influenced my project. I also love the Raft of the Medusa. Artists today like C Close,L Freud, J Seville. G Richter.I am also influenced by music like Rachmaninoff,Harry Chapin, The Doors, Dylan.

Q) How are the reactions on your work in general?

A)In regards to State of Grace, By description, many people think they will be repulsed. However, most people think they are beautiful. There is a disarming beauty in the facts of these images . But my subject matter is difficult and not for everyone. I had a NYTimes article in June and many people wrote me, thanking me for what I have taken on. These were very heartfelt and powerful letters. I had over 800 thousand hits on my site that week.



Q) What are you doing when you are not creating art?

A)I play Ice Hockey . I also read, work on my spirit and try to be helpful to people .

Q)What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?

A) I think it is difficult to stay true to a vision regardless of money or acceptance. I also feel it is hard to stay convinced you work means anything to anyone in a culture that values money and fame above everything else. Working alone as many artist do is also difficult. Making your art is only a small part to surviving as an artist. The business side can drain you. The fame game is also a trap.

Q) What is freedom to you as an artist?

A)Having money issues out of the way so I can continue to explore difficult art projects. I am seeking philanthropic support to have State of Grace travel the world . There is no way I can do this alone. Any ideas???

Q) Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?

A) I like my painting "Shayla" from my series State of Grace. She is the Mona Lisa of burn survivors. There is an enigmatic quality to her .It is presently hanging in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian in DC. I believe I am the first artist to have a painting of a burn survivor in the gallery

Q) What it the coolest thing you have seen recently while wandering the streets?

A)I guess "cool" is in the eye of the beholder. Forme, Someone picking up garbage that was not his and throwing it out. Anytime any young people pay attention to senior citizens. Random acts of kindness and generosity .



Q) Do you carry a notebook? Do you draw in public?

A) I carry a notebook for writing. I sometimes draw in public.

Q) Who are your favorite artists & Your favorite galleries?

A) I like Close, Sargent, Eakins . Robert Henri was a great artist , teacher and human being. Others I have already mentioned.

Q) Do you get emotionally attached to your work and do you miss your work when it is sold?

A)Not at all. I want them to leave. Its like turning a page in a book. On to the next one.

Q)Your contacts… mail.links
A) dauld@optonline.net e mail
www.dougauld.com state of grace

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