Monday, June 28, 2010

Artist Interview: Scott Trent

What is your name:  Scott Trent

Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist:  I explored metal sculpting by taking classes at the Creative Arts Center in Dallas.  My creative approaches and art techniques are intuitive explorations without formal structure.  I have an MA in arts and technology from the University of Texas at Dallas and ABD working on my Ph.D. in emerging media and communication.  None of my schooling has anything to do with metal sculpting other than the process of communicating and the dialogue between artist and observer.

What is the style of your pieces: abstract

What is the medium in which you work:  welded metal (sometimes painted)- primarily found metal which shapes and directs the final work.

What started you on your path as an artist:  I had a silk-screening business for nine years and although some aspects of the business are creative, and I created my own designs, it still felt like I only dealt with clip art.  One day I decided that I wasn’t pursuing my passion of acting from a place of creativity and creating art for the sake of art and not a commercial endeavor.  At that point, I sold my business and started pursuing metal sculpting.

What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your life:  Art has given me a unique form of expression and a physical exploration of internal ideas.  Art also serves an important role of pushing me outside my internal monologues and allows a dialogue with the outside world.  My first studio was a converted detached garage behind my house.  I had lived in this house for 5 years and hadn’t met most of my neighbors.  I started placing work in front of the house after that, three different neighbors came over and introduced themselves and asked about the art.  Somehow, the art made me more approachable and open a space to meet.  If I was in my studio, people driving by would stop and ask about the art.  The most important thing art has brought into my life is a human connection, friends through art and conversations I would have never had.

What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in:  I have a true appreciation for the 2D mediums such as oils, watercolors, and the encaustic process.

Do you have art showings, and if so what are they typically like:  I use multiple venues, collaborate with a variety of events, and partner with many different type occasions to show my art.  I avoid the mass art shows that go for multiple days because I feel like a caged animal in a zoo as people walk past, avoiding eye contact, making quick judgments whether they like the art or not, without any interaction.  My most fulfilling shows are the ones I organize and conduct on my own at different spaces with fellow artists and other professionals.  The most successful show I’ve had, and one I truly enjoy is the White Rock Studio Tour for two days in October each year.  This show is the perfect event for art enthusiasts, collectors, and serious artists.  It is two days of awesome conversations with people who truly appreciate art and looking for quality work to take home.  It is the ideal art experience!

Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in:  I wear the same thing in the shop as I wear from day to day; the difference is I have to separate my shop clothes because everything gets so dirty, the dirt stains become permanent.  My metal sculpting clothes have a deep dirty, soiled look and small scorches and burns from hot shards of metal and sparks from the acetylene torch.  Usually, shorts and a t-shirt.  I love the heat of summer and enjoy working in my shop during the summer months.  I usually find other things to do during the winter months.    

What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist? The aspect of being an artist that is frustrating to me is the preconceived ideas and judgmental opinions of who is an artist, what is art, and what art is worthy of being collected, promoted, and exhibited.  My observation is the answers to these question is highly subjective and relies heavily on luck, or promotions by the “right” people, to the “right” people, and depends on factors that are driven by personal preferences more than an objective gauge of talent.  The business of art and art of sales are my greatest frustration in pursuit of being an artist.   

What is your favorite sandwich of all time:  My favorite sandwich goes with my working breakfast, which is extra crunchy peanut butter on wheat bread and a Pepsi.

Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they:  Each year my art is evolving.  I have some work that I’m proud to show and fully expect others to fall short of impressive art.  I am developing a strong following of people who resonate with my work and interesting people who I’m lucky enough to call friends.  This year has been more about larger work and public placements than smaller pieces and private collectors.

Who is your favorite artist alive or dead:  I’ve always been amazed by Garrison Keillor because of his multiple talents and broad knowledge.  When Keillor writes a joke it is usually commentary on some larger societal issue, yet he’s not above inserting a quick fart joke in the middle of a pressing political observation.  Not to mention, he writes and performs a weekly, two hour show including jokes, stories, and songs.  A similar artist who is my favorite is ze Frank.  By the Keillor standard of diversity, intelligence, and talent, ze Frank sings, composes, has a depth beyond most of us and is more prolific than any one person.  I have listened to a song composed by ze Frank and cried as well as laughed until tears streamed down my cheeks at other work.  Ze Frank is easily my favorite artist.

What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in person:
I don’t have the answer that answers your question.  Nothing comes to mind that has impacted me as powerfully as the image below.  This image taken by photographer Kevin Carter of famine in southern Sudan of a young starving girl makes me want to cry each time I see it.

Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work:  I have three pups in the house, Gracie, Cricket and Lucy each under 10 pounds.  They have all expressed an appreciation for my work as long as I take time to give a good belly rub or a treat whenever they are good.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share with us:  The next show for me is the White Rock Lake Art Studio Tour, October 17th. and 18th., 2009, 10-5 each day.  There are 20 participating artists in the Lakewood, Dallas area who open their studios and welcome all art enthusiasts for great conversations and even better art.  I keep my web site current with available work and will create a special page for the tour with work and pricing to view in advance. 


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