After reading the most recent post, Kathryn Arnold, blog interviewee forwarded a Newsweek article regarding a significant decline in creativity scoring in the American youth, “Creative Crisis.” While citing TV, video games and school curriculum as “culprits” for the new disturbing downward trend, my daughter of twelve years Samantha, brings another possibilityto light. I’m calling it the MacGyver Factor. She feels that as we evolve with technology, we’re not forced to use our creativity for problem solving etc. So, we’re not exercising the right side of our brain as much as we have in the past. We’re our own enemy. Our creative forefathers have made us right-brain lazy. That said, Isabella, daughter of ten moves in the Skype view and says she’s done with her art class as of Friday for the rest of the year due to a recent curriculum change. Now, creativity runs through these girls veins, including their sister Alexandra (nine) like vermouth in the Kennedy’s. I’m not worried. Life’s the classroom.
So, what do you do? Like anything else that’s important to you, you take ownership and manage the process. When you go to the beach, you help build mutant sand creatures. You play visual games to spot what land features you see in the lakes mirror-like reflection. And you give an eight year old a camera. The interviews continue…
Danielle Ezzo, Brooklyn, NY
When did you first discover your creative talents? Both of my parents were artistic, so from a very young age I was painting, drawing, and taking pictures. I thought I wanted to be a painter as I got a little older, but didn’t know how that could translate into a career. Funny that I was thinking of the ‘practical’ side so young. Because of this, my grade school focuses were more on the sciences, and it wasn’t until applying for college that I decided I was going to go back into art. I guess it’s hard to pin point an exact moment because it was always there to some varying degree.
For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. Oddly enough, I sold my first piece of artwork when I was a freshman in high school. Our project was surrealist based although I don’t remember the precise assignment. Essentially, I painted a fish bowl in the shape of a cat with detailed aquatic life inside painted with acrylics. It was suggested by my teacher that I submit the work into a community gallery show that was to be exhibited at the town’s local library. After the show came down, another teacher from my school contact me about purchasing the piece. It was definitely very flattering for a fourteen year old!
Who are your favorite artists? Some of my favorites artists are: Sandy Skoglund, Egon Schiele, Rudolph Koppitz, Rene Magritte, Francisco de Goya, and so many others.
Artist: Danielle Ezzo
Title: Patterns in Healing, Study 1
Medium: Cyanotype with gouache and ink, 9×12 inches
Website: http://danielleezzo.com/ Blog: http://dezzoster.tumblr.com/
When did you first discover your creative talents? My first recollection of having discovered any creative ability was at age 3. I was sitting on the paisley patterned mustard colored carpet in my decked out 70’s style living room doodling away on a green piece of construction paper. All of a sudden, I noticed that my drawing appeared to look like an exact rendering of the human figure. I quickly got up to show my mother and ran to her incredibly fast as I thought the drawing were going to disappear from the page. I burst through the bath room door and held up my masterpiece. My mother, while sitting on the toilet, graciously said “Excellent, now please leave and close the door.” My first critique. Although blunt in its delivery, I modestly accepted. I became a child obsessed. Drawing feverishly, I created these fantastic figures as if magic were pouring from my hands. Over the course of a few days I had an epiphany. If shapes were put together in any sort of way and even manipulated that I could not only draw figures but all kinds of things. My refrigerator started to look like a giant pinata. Covered in multicolored construction paper that was adorned with the most wonderful images the human eye has ever beheld. “Is that a sun over a mountain” my dad would ask. “No, it’s you” I said. ” I like the train with the bubbles in it” my sister would say. “No, those are the gerbils in the habitrail” I would reply. This went on for some time. Needless to say my ego became bruised and the fridge went back to its original avocado green.
For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. As far as selling my work, I don’t enjoy it as much as one might think. I sell out of necessity. There is one particular sale however, that is very memorable. I received a lengthly email from a gentleman describing how much one of my paintings had captivated him. He saw so much of his own life in the subject matter. Memories of missed opportunities that all of a sudden, he felt, had become with in reach to him again. He went on to say that this painting inspired him so much so, that he was going to further his education and pursue his dream. After reading this I was dumbfounded. I wanted to give it to him for nothing but he insisted on paying for it. Never in my life has my art work ever got a response more true and heartfelt as his letter. That in of itself is pretty damn cool.
Who are your favorite artists? There are a lot of artists that inspire me. Not just the visual ones but literary, musicians and film makers as well. So, to name a few and not in any particular oder: Grosz, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Ensor, Saint Saens, Winsor McCay, Roald Dahl, Bud Powell, Burl Ives, Link Wray, Les Paul & Mary Ford, Lisbeth Zwerger, Arnold Lobel, Brian O’Nolan, Thomas Hart Benton, Henry James, Sparkle Horse, Daniel Johnston, David Lynch, Eric Dolphy, Earl Bostic, Harrison Cady, Edward Gorey, Kenneth Grahame, Ezra Jack Keats, Judi Muscara-Orfanos, Hiedi Dentremont, David Ferreira, Deborah G. Rogers, Jennifer Richter, Kathleen Lolley, Heather Adels, Jill Herick Lee, Dave Brubeck, Wes Anderson, Richard Kelley, Spike Jonze, Richard Flynn and the list goes on.
Artist: Greg Orfanos
Title: Said The Cicada
Medium: Mixed, 36×24 inches
When did you first discover your creative talents? Apparently my talents were not discovered until my kindergarten teacher called my mother to let her know I could draw really well. My mother thought I drew like any other child. I was the oldest of two, so there was no one else to compare my work to. As far as I was concerned, I just knew that drawing and painting were fun. I mass-produced artwork to the point that my mother had to throw out a lot of it. I plowed through entire packages of- what we called back then- “typing paper.” I was always hoping to get my hands on more advanced (i.e. messy and destructive) art supplies.
For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. This is actually a tough question. I sold some work when I was a kid, so I don’t think I completely understood what that meant. It wasn’t as significant to me as it is now. So I will have to say that one of my most memorable sales was one of my larger works and it was actually purchased sight-unseen. The collector saw it on my website and emailed me about the piece. I was not expecting it to sell that easily, but he said he wanted it and so I had it shipped immediately.
Who are your favorite artists?
I love an eclectic mix of artists- I just appreciate good art in general, no matter the style. That said, if I had to name some favorites I would have to say James Ensor
, Hieronymus Bosch
, Salvador Dali
, Wangechi Mutu
, Odd Nerdrum
, and Kiki Smith
. I’m trying to keep the list small… I admire a lot of artists, but I guess at the top of my list, those would include the ones whose work is surreal in some manner.
Artist: Amy Guidry
Title: The Wild West
Medium: Acrylic on canvas, 24×30 inches