1. 1. Tell me a little bit about your background and how you became involved in art.
I began drawing at the age of two, according to my parents, and have continued to draw to this day. Although I have no formal art education, and have adopted my own techniques for painting and drawing, I don’t believe in being “self-taught” as I’m constantly learning by just observing and being inspired by other artists. I wasn’t much of a painter until a couple of years ago when for some reason, the paint brush became as comfortable in my hand as a pencil. Now I can’t stop painting.
2. 2. Do you have a particular inspiration or a muse that drives your creative process?
I’m inspired by living things, nature, animals and people. That said, many of my paintings have been inspired by small details. For instance, on the surface, the obvious subject matter be an elephant charging at you, but the real inspiration for the painting was the cloud of dust. Capturing a water droplet or steam on glass is sometimes more important to me than the person in the painting.
3. 3. Do you have a favorite piece and why?
I do have pieces that I connect with more than others, but really, they’re all the “favorite” while I’m painting them as I’m excited and inspired in that moment. Not to say there’s a total disconnect once the creative process is finished, but once the inspiration is out of my system it’s time to move on.
4. 4. What is your opinion on the “artistic climate” in ? Do you feel like it is a place for you to flourish as an artist?
I have been aware of Oklahoma’s talent for many years, but I’m now starting to get out and meet other artists. I’m realizing just how great this state is for art and there seems to be a lot of good people willing to support and help each other succeed. I’ve really just started getting into the local art scene and have been overwhelmed with the acceptance and encouragement that I’ve received from artists and event organizers.
5. 5. What makes you stand out/differ from other artists?
I think the only thing that makes any artist stand out is by being honest in your work. That said, standing out is not as important as just creating what I find beautiful.
6. 6. Do you have certain artists or even individuals that you admire in the creative industry? If so, who and how do they inspire you?
I am fortunate to be surrounded by creative family and friends. They have always inspired and encouraged my creativity. Beyond that circle, my all-time favorite artist is the late, Dennis James Martin. He was one of the most dedicated artists who gave into the creative process completely and constantly pushed himself, technically and artistically. I admire Bev Doolittle for her incredible vision and attention to details. I’m also inspired by abstract artists like Desmond Mason, who have taken a completely different path than mine. There is a depth and a mystery in his work that I admire. It’s really changed my thinking about art and how it doesn’t have to be so literal all of the time.
7. 7. What advice would you give to up and coming artists?
Don’t be afraid of experimenting and never fear criticism. Don’t get caught up in being competitive, the only person you should be better than is your former self. Use social networking sites to promote your work and most important, get out of the studio and meet other creative people, face to face.
8. 8. As creatives I believe that we go through certain cycles and plateaus. Do you deal with the dreaded “artistic rut” and if so, what processes do you go through to deal with it?
Yes. For most of my life it’s been feast or famine. There were many years where I’d find myself going half a year or more without creating a serious piece of art, then find myself creating non-stop for months on end. It was impossible to force myself to create in order to get out of a rut. If there’s no inspiration, there’s no art, period. Fortunately, I’ve found a remedy in recent years. I now keep a near-constant creative flow by involving myself in many artistic projects beyond painting and drawing. Every week I’m involved in something different, such as working on film production or writing and recording original music. All of these things seem to keep that creative spark alive.
9. 9. Where can we find your work?
You can find my work at http://www.artbypaulsnyder.com. I am currently working on getting into some galleries as well as showing at upcoming art walks and festivals.