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David Mott

Artist's Interview

How long have you been creating...
I think I've been creating ever since I could put a crayon to the paper or wall or whatever. My mother assiduously saved my toddler's efforts and several drawings that I did when I was 5 or 6 are still around (a tiger with an arrow in his side (ouch!) and a bathing beauty on the beach (a forecast of things to come?). I drew constantly growing up but never considered art to be my future vocation. I dreamed instead of ...flying! Yep, I wanted to be a pilot in the worst way. Most of my adolescent and teen era drawings are of airplanes. My highschool art teachers often lost patience with this singleminded 'focus' . Anyway it was not to be, my eyesight took a turn for the worst canceling out my aspirations of being a naval aviator. But I did join the Navy and served my time as a 'swabbie', chipping paint and standing watches instead. I finally decided to turn to art to save myself from life as an eastern Airlines baggage handler (see, airplanes were still in my blood). I enrolled at Atlanta College of Art, then went on to the Art Institute of Chicago for an MFA to establish my 'credentials'. That's probably more than you wanted with this answer. To make a long story short I can't remember a time when I was not making images.
What is your medium of choice?
I've worked with many media and techniques over the years but drawing is still my first love. My students said I had charcoal in my veins. Early on I painted a lot of oils and acrylics, though preferring the former. I still do paint but usually on commision only, (exception...I am working on some ideas (painted) for eBay marketing). I realised about 20 years ago that painting was too formal a technique for me. That somehow the preperation and impedimenta of the medium put up a sort of barrier between my conceptions and the final result. I was in other words too impatient. So I began working with pastels to provide the color I wanted and combined with my love of charcoal I was able to produce a body of work which I find satisfying and which has met with some modest commercial success as well. I also am fond of printmaking, though lacking resources to presses not much of that has been done lately. I'm finding digital art in a way replaces it and have been having a lot of fun with software these days.
What are your motivations for creating?
Hmmm...this might take some thought. I think there are two levels of motivation at play. An objective one like, 'I need to make some money! or My God she's beautiful, I have to draw her.' and a deeper more subjective one that speaks to no specific need or desire, an "I paint because I am" sort of thing. Don't get me wrong there are dry spells in my productivity but the images are always there waiting to come out and when they grow strong enough, they do.
What other artists and movements inform your work?
Since I work in several directions at once and since my styles have changed over the course of years, so my influences have been diverse and changeable. Currently I would say that the movements and artists I take joy and inspiration from are, the Mexican Muralists (Rivera, Siqueros), American Regionalism (Hopper, OKeefe), American Pinup Art (Vargas, Runci), some German Expressionism(Beckman, Kollwitz), the French Academics (Bougereau, Gerome) and from deeper in the past...Boucher, Rubens, Caravaggio, Brueghel (I love Flemish art!), hell the list goes on and on. Teaching Art History I've found invaluable to my work, there are so many things you can learn from so many artists and movements. Oh and I don't want to leave out some non-western 'favorites' like Indian temple carvings (oh my!), Japaneese prints, Hellenistic sculpture, Illuminated Manuscripts (that's not non-western but I didn't want to leave it out.).
What do you find stimulating right now? How does this influence your creative process?
It's pouring rain outside right now, my draft horses rather than seeking shelter in the barn are standing out in it, fat dark clouds roll across the sky over their heads, close enough to touch The wind is whipping through their manes, water runs in sheets across their strong hard flanks, they stand like marble statues unmoved by the tempest, (they weigh 2000 pounds!), the two white ones seem to glow against the storms gray palette... That's what I see when I look out the window right now and I find that to be visually stimulating. Picturesque scenes often times stand out in my mind, though I've never tried to paint them. An artist can't beat Nature at it's own game. But on a more modest scale I have painted and drawn my horses because they are magnificent and beautiful. Okay, let's see... Things I like to look at that might lead to some image making... lovely women of course have always been an inspiration and I still get a thrill when I look at fine machines, vintage aircraft, sailing ships, steam locomotives. Animals inspire me, their form, grace, colors etc. Art often inspires me, looking through an art history book, I can come away with dozens of ideas. My daughters art I envy and take true delight in. There's more of course but let's move on...
Read anything good lately?
I read voraciously. Usually more than one book at a time. Currently I have bookmarks in; "Quicksilver" a marvelous thick historical novel set in Baroque Europe and America, "Bushworld" by Maureen Dowd, who so elegantly confirms all my suspicians about the greedy, fearmongering, opportunistic gang that rules us now.(I am an unapolegetic Liberal and Democrat btw *smile*, in case you didn't know). Okay back to books..."The Arabian Nights" a new translation, Ive read them before, but I love them and will read them again, and I'm picking through a book on Storms and Hurricanes whose title escapes me. That's it. I think.
How has your experience as a teacher influenced your own art...
I think teaching Art History has had more of a personal effect on my art than the studio classes have. As I said before I do generate ideas in subject and in style from the images of other times and places. Some series have been directly inspired from art history, I did a set called 'Roccoco Sketches' and another whose source was the Flemish artists, Brueghel and Bosch. The robust fleshiness of Rubens and Indian Temple Goddesses can be seen in a lot of my work. In the course of teaching studio, I've had to learn in order to teach new mediums and techniques and these skills I retain and can call on when needed. Sometimes a student will come along with a unique way of seeing and working and that too can be an inspiration for me. What I have taken away from teaching as well are many supportive friendships. A large proportion of the people I am close to, including my lovely and creative wife, were my students.
What would you like your fellow EBSQ artists and collectors to know about you and or your work?
First that I appreciate there being a place like this to showcase my work and allow me, on the forum boards, to vent my ideas and share what expertice I may have with others...and of course to learn from others as well. I really enjoy just going through the galleries and looking at what the members have done. Second, that I see in EBSQ coupled with eBay and other such online marketing venues the future and hope for independent artists today. I was with galleries for over twenty years, made sales, went to receptions, met my buyers and came away from it all feeling that there had to be a better way. This I think is it. I'm committed to working online to promote my work. I spent 30 years teaching art and I miss the dialogue with colleagues and students. I'll try on the forum boards to offer whatever I can, whatever I've brought with me, to this community.

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