Monday, March 18, 2013
Interview: 10 Questions with Dave Seeley
images copyright Dave Seeley / Star Wars images copyright Lucasfilm LTD
10 Questions with Dave Seeley
1.... who are your favorite artists?
Greg Manchess, Stephan Martiniere, Phil Hale, Ash Woods, Kent Williams, John Muth, Dave McKean, and Robert McGinnis. I love the art of Caravaggio, Egon Schiele, John Singer Sargent, Robert Graham and Odd Nerdrum
2.... do you offer workshops for artists?
I don't at this point, but after my son goes off to college, I might do more teaching.
3.... what helps boost your creativity?
Mixing it up in my eMail list = virtual studio, with Greg Manchess, Dan Dos Santos, Lars Grant West, Stephan Martiniere, Rebecca Guay, Todd Lockwood, Julie Bell, Bruce Jensen, Cyril Van Der Haegen, Donato Giancola, Sam Burley, Doug Gregory, Jon Foster, Scott Fischer and Irene Gallo
4.... what medium and tools do you use to create art?
I almost always kick off a new piece from the ground up with photo-collage in the computer using Adobe Photoshop. I am an OCD level collector of images -an Image Junkie- and am constantly shooting photos of anything that I might use in my images. Pattern recognition = paradigm. Boston is an incredible resource for both "found" photo ops, or if I need to go shoot something specifically. My latest love is the Canon 5D mark III. I use Model Mayhem to find models, and will shoot for specific projects, or for collaborations that often turn in to images that grow from the spontaneity of a shoot. I find that the best laid plans are often supplanted by better ideas that intervene along the way. In addition, I own about 110,000 royalty free stock images that I keep in a searchable Extensis Portfolio catalogue.
I'll start an image with a strong photo or two chosen for the assignment brief, or just because they inspire me. Images are composed by montaging 2 to 100 photos (usually small parts of photos) into a singe image. I'll add parts and pieces in a Frankensteinian flurry, and distort, relight, repaint and overlay photos. I'll rework figures and do sketches inside and outside the computer to reconcile anatomy and composition. Once my collage begins to gel on screen, I'll shoot or search specific elements, and splice them in over roughly sketched areas, or I'll sometimes add traditional media (paint and pencil drawings) imported digitally. I've also been building 3D images in Google Sketchup, and exporting jpegs to incorporate into images. I can take this process all the way to a finish, or I can bring this up to an "underpainting" level of 85% or 90% complete, and then print it on archival media, and finish it in oil paint. This allows me to produce a painterly finish on a piece composed in photographic collage. Depending on my client's needs, I can produce a range of stylistic finishes from photographic to loose painterly. If time is tight, or if lots of changes are anticipated, I will use Corel Painter to achieve a painterly finish on an entirely digital piece.
Check out the film clip about me from the Roadhouse Films "Visions from the Edge" documentary to see an overview of my process.
Check the Progressions section of the site for process examples and demos.
5.... what helps you maintain focus and motivation when creating?
Coffee - LOTS of Coffee. My blood stream has got to be 50% Starbucks.
6.... do you feel its important to follow your passion in your career?
Absolutely, but you also need to keep your eye on the financial bottom line, or you can derail your biz, and you life. That may involve doing work that you are not as passionate about, in between things that you are. Actually, I find that when I am away from passionate work, and come back to it, I can be especially creative.
7.... what is the secret to creating a great piece of art?
Experimenting with things you are unfamiliar with. Taking risks. Challenging yourself.
8.... where can people see your work (online, conventions or exhibits)?
Yes, yes and yes. I exhibit as San Diego Comic Con every year at booth 4600. I will also be at Illuxcon in Allentown in September.
9.... was there a certain moment that you knew you wanted to be an artist?
Not really... I was a fan boy, and a practicing architect for a dozen years, and had a slow burn notion to make a career swap. I won a round-the-world traveling scholarship, and came back committed to work part time as an architect, in order to pursue a career in illustration.
10.... if you could give other artists one piece of advice what would it be?
Experiment and find your own style. I think the place where mine landed is a mirror of my working mind. It's ok to mimic other artists for a while, but you need to quickly evolve away from that in order to grow and find your voice.