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Carolyn Schiffhouer

Artist's Interview

How long have you been creating?
It seems I have been creating in one way or another all my life. I made a killer house with old sheets and bedspreads! As I grew older I began to create pieces that had feeling and emotion in them that seemed to come from my soul. I guess it is something I just have to keep doing. About 6 years ago, I discovered the great potential lying in the computer when I was suffering from a particularly strong bout of major depression. Walking across the room and picking up something to do was beyond me. I did find that I could sit in front of the computer and since the computer really demands that you do something, I began to explore. That was when I discovered a very small graphics program lurking inside. One day when I was feeling better I went for a walk. During that walk I saw a wildflower growing by the side of the road, I wondered what would happen if I scanned those flowers and put them into that graphics program. The rest is history.
How would you describe your work?
Eclectic, emotional, romantic, startling, subdued, varied and always changing.
What are your motivations for creating?
I have found that working with my hands and my brain are the most soothing things I can do. Creating a piece of art is comforting for me and has become very therapeutic. When I am working on a piece, the whole world is tuned out and I am totally focused on something that is a challenge to me. I love the challenge of trying to make a machine express the very essence of what I am feeling and want to share with others.
Have you seen any art that has moved you recently?
I recently went looking for some books on Photoshop and found several that focused mainly on the aritistic aspects of what this program can do! I was very impressed with the images I found there. I am also very moved by much of the work I find at EBSQ. The range of the artwork here is amazing and wonderful. I am constantly finding someone new with pieces that excite me very much.
What do you find stimulating right now? How does this influence your creative process?
Nature, the flowers blooming right now. I find color and an interesting use of color to be visually stimulating. Color is one of the things that drew me to Fractals in the first place.
Read anything good lately?
I read a lot of science fiction, probably why so many of my pieces have an other-world quality to them. My last book was Shadow of a Dark Queen by Raymond Feist. I am presently reading the Art of Photoshop by Daniel Giordan. I have also just finished reading The Invisible Plague by E. Fuller Torrey. (I like to work on several books at a time).
Digital art is finally starting to receive the attention it deserves in the art community. What has your experience been in being a pioneer in this media?
I am glad that Digital Art is beginning to receive some of the attention it deserves and EBSQ has been a leader in bringing this about.. My experiences? Well, if I had a dollar for everytime someone went (in a bored tone) "Uh Huh" when I told them or showed them what I do, I would not have to scramble to buy ink! I have had many frustrating experiences which have caused me to question what I am doing. No matter what else I try, though, I always find myself returning to the computer and the graphics programs. The frustration comes from people who are asking legitimate questions about the medium, but have preconceived notions that they have trouble giving up. No, the computer does not do the work, a fractal is not created by poking buttons...........have you ever left your computer alone and asked it to create a picture? Not much happens does it? The computer is just a new medium for the creation of art. As such, many have questions about it and many do not understand what goes into the creation of a piece that is considered artistic. There were questions at the turn of the century about many of the new art styles that began to emerge back then. Many were not considered art.............they are now. So I think time will bring digital art more into the mainstream.
What would you like your fellow EBSQ artists and collectors to know about you and or your work?
I do this because I have found a medium that challenges me and allows me to express my emotions and feelings. It is something I have to do to continue living!! Being able to express what I feel, play with color and create pleasing designs has given me the greatest joy in my life, second only to the birth of my son and my marriage to my husband. Finally, I would like to leave my fellow artists and collectors with this thought, I see the Computer as the 21st Century Paintbrush. As such, the possibilities are limitless, I am only scratching the surface. I hope that you will enjoy my explorations as much as I have enjoyed doing them.

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