The eXTra finGer

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Interview with Martin Wittfooth

q)Something on you ….When did you start to make art?

a)I’ve had a pencil or paintbrush or other vandalism tool in my hand for as long as I can remember, but turned on to art as something I wanted to pursue professionally when I was in my mid-teens or sometime around then.

q)Explain your inspiration?

a)I get my inspiration from all over the place. Mainly the current world around us, contemporary topics, news, issues, what people are talking about. I live close to a plethora of galleries and huge museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so if I’m ever in an inspiration-funk I go there or check out an ongoing artshow. There’s no lack of wells of inspiration in New York… that’s one of the reasons I love it here.

q) In what way does your inspiration transform into ideas?

a)I’m very drawn to symbolism. I aim to transfer those topics that I feel inspired to talk about in my work into visual language by way of using symbols: alluding to these ideas with imagery that is suggestive rather than narrative.

q) Could your ideas be portrayed in any other medium? If so which?

a)Maybe pen and ink... I’ve been working on some pieces in black and white, and feel a fresh departure there, but I don’t think I’ll be able to capture exactly the same atmosphere in anything but oils.

q) What does being an artists mean to you?

a)Struggle. Progression. Freedom. Happiness. More struggle.

q) When does your art become successful?

a)When I frame it.

q) Who prices your work? And how is the price decided upon?

a)Usually I set a price, that then may be slightly adjusted by the gallery with which I’m preparing a show. I tend to research the price level of galleries prior to showing with them to determine the ballpark at which I should realistically set my prices. The size and complexity of the work also plays a factor.

q) What is your next; move,project,show etc?

a)There’s a pretty long list of upcoming shows on the horizon. Some larger group shows all over the place, a smaller group show in Toronto in March 2008 with Ray Caesar and a couple of other artists, a solo show in Beverly Hills at The Conference Room gallery in May 2008, and two two-person shows with my friend Jon Todd in Arizona and Montreal in late 2008 and mid-2009 for which we’re painting a few collaborative works, along with a book launch and some other side-projects.

q) What are the pros and cons of the art market?

a)The pros of the art market is that there is a market for art, and you can earn a living at this thing. The cons include large commission fees, fronting large sums to prepare, frame, and ship your artwork with no guarantee of a return of that investment, the instability of paychecks, and the way the art market tends to be very trend-focused.

q) Which pieces would you like to be remembered for?

a)Ones that I have yet to paint.

q) Who has been the biggest influence on you?

a)Probably my college instructor Paul Dallas, who gave my wild pipe dream of making a living as an artist hope with his advice and support.

q)Other visual artists that you like…

a)Todd Schorr, Jeff Soto, Joe Sorren, Eric White, Mark Ryden, Hieronymus Bosch, Peter Brueghel the Elder, Rembrandt, Chris Mars, Jon Todd, the list goes on…

q) How much do you think hype affects the public perception of what good art is?

a)I think hype influences public perception of art in a huge way. This is why we have trends, often saturated with art that has very little standalone validity or lacks in innovation, but is recognized and hyped about because it fits a popular style. It’s pretty frustrating to see sometimes, but then again it’s also interesting in that it reinforces the idea of the power of art in influencing people: one artist can spawn an entire movement simply by virtue of a pioneering vision.

q) Last CD you downloaded ?

a)Ratatat Remixes.

q) What makes you happy?

a)Waking up beside my girlfriend. Shopping for frames. A good paint stroke. Portrait painting.

q) What makes you sad?

a)Bills. Having to drive for hours to get out into real, untouched nature. Cancer. Shit, there’s a ton of stuff out there that makes me sad. This is probably why I paint, takes the mind off.

q) Last book you read?

a)The Fuckup by Arthur Narsesian

q) What else do like other than art?

a)Guitar playing, some music production doodling, and cooking.

q) Final thoughts...

a)Thanks for listening.

q)Your contacts…



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