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Today I’m happy to present the interview of Joe Burgess, a very talented artist from Utah and the winner of the “Artist of the week X Surreal” contest with his stunning artworks “Control” and “I see you“. His portfolio is full of wonderful artworks, impressive surreal drawings, beautiful portraits and intriguing abstracts. What urges Joe to create, it’s a rekindled fascination with pulling an image out of nothingness and his excitement to see where it will take him.
Joe. I’m 36 years old, youngest of five kids, husband to my better half and father of two amazing little girls. I’ve been able to draw since I can remember and enjoyed doing so throughout childhood. However, as I grew up, it never seemed to be a realistically viable career path. So, being good with numbers, I decided to merge drawing and math to pursue technical drafting. Over the next 15 years, drawing creatively drifted away to dormancy and life took over… until this year.
By jwp. Could you tell us some words about your winning artwork ‘Control’?
Joe. ‘Control‘ is my third drawing in 15 years and my first attempt to apply equal consideration and detail to every fiber of the paper. I approached it with the intentions of setting the highest bar for me regarding my capabilities in technique, design, realism and imagination. It was to see what I’m capable of.
By jwp. Do you believe that the themes and the medium you use in your artwork reveal something about your character and your former experience? Can you explain some of them?
Joe. I think self-expression is the motivation behind any real artistic talent. In reference to the medium, I like the idea of the underestimated and often overlooked pencil being able to create an unexpected level of precision and detail. Similarly, I think the overall themes of my work reflect me in that upon first glance, you might feel uncomfortable, or even fearful. But those who don’t turn away and are willing to look closer will find an interesting unconventional level of depth, beauty and spirituality
By jwp. What do you do to get inspired and how you handle the ‘dry’ periods?
Joe. Aside from the magic of everyday life, so far I’ve found meditation and music to be good sources of inspiration. As far as ‘dry’ periods are concerned, the few short stints I’ve encountered in the past five months usually become time for practicing technique or marketing my work. I hope to never have any real serious gaps in the flow. I’d rather work on a bad idea than sit around waiting for the perfect one to land.
By jwp. How do you think that your work differs from the rest artists, who are so many here on FAA, but also on the internet and in the market?
Joe. I’m still assessing where I fit in the overall art market. Lately I’ve been heavily digesting as much of it as possible. There are some amazing artists out there, but I don’t see anyone doing what I’m doing. At the same time, I haven’t done much and I am not quite sure what it is I’m doing. I imagine every artist, just like every person, feels that theirs is special and worth recognition.
By jwp. How would you describe your activity in online communities like FAA or social media networks? Does it play an important role in your sales?
Joe. I am actively pursuing such things in hopes that it will lead to market acceptance. This and other contests being obvious examples. You can follow me on Twitter @JB_Imagery and I will eventually begin blogging about my individual pieces and works in progress at www.jbimag3ry.blogspot.com. Truth be told, I am still eagerly awaiting that elusive first sale. Anybody want to buy a greeting card?
By jwp. What are your plans and aims for your artistic future?
Joe. To make people stop and think.
By jwp. What is the most challenging in being creative and an artist?
Joe. Finding time to do it. Running a business and raising a family requires nearly everything I have. The ‘Control’ dragon was created over the course of many late nights from a sleep-deprived state of mind. Also, at least for me, the creation process is a very emotional one. There are periods in the middle of a piece where serious doubt and anxiety start to creep in. A feeling that I’m fooling myself and wasting time mingled with a fear of messing the image up so bad that it does become a waste of time.
By jwp. Can art change someone’s life in a better way or influence public life? Would you like to give us an example?
Joe. I hope so. Everybody responds to different stimuli and art will influence someone who seeks stimulation through art. Some find it in nature. Others in scientific pursuits. Others in relationships or religion. Change and influence is reliant upon the recipient’s openness to such things, not the source of stimulation itself.
By jwp. What is art and creation for you in one phrase?
Joe. Art and creation are evidence that we are alive. That we are more than just these bodies we inhabit. It is evidence that we can affect the natural course of the physical world. It exclaims loudly ‘I am here!’
Thank you very much Joe for this wonderful and inspiring interview. You can find and follow Joe Burgess and his stunning work in: