Thursday, November 8, 2012

Canvas Chat: Meet Artist Nick Dunkenstein

Here we are with another very talented Artist from Local Artists Coming Together, Nick Dunkenstein. Let the chat begin!

Tell us a little about yourself?

I have a hard time describing myself to people, I never know what to say and others tend to do it better. I guess thinking of words to use to explain my character can vary, but I guess I’m just the normal person always wanting to improve myself in any way possible. I never feel complete or satisfied and I’m always day dreaming, which can get me in to trouble sometimes.

What is "Creativity" to you?

Creativity to me is about being clever, using your wits to solve a problem. (That goes for any form of problem too). Some people have it and others don’t however, as anything it takes practice, but this is not to be confused with originality. Originality is new, creative is how you achieved it.

What art do you most identify with?

I’m drawn to illustrative drawings mostly, cartoons as well. Defiantly anything with a unique style; grungy, dirty, gritty, sickly, gory…comic books are a huge weakness for me art wise, but there’s always the fine art masters that hang over me. I find that with slight exaggeration, a good figure, and a heap of mess, I tend to find myself more attached to an image. Of course there is also photography that draws me in, I can be more precise about that and I couldn't tell you why that is. It’s quite possible that I find photography to be similar to a magic act and easier to dissect.

Tell us about your art style?

For a long time I've felt like I've been stuck in this “Art limbo” with my work, I just can’t figure out what my style is. I’m sure there’s a word for it, I simply can’t find it. Still, my work has been compared to many different peoples, from Jamie Hewlett to Egon Schiele. I enjoy telling stories with my work or trying to teach people things, and manipulating figures, I also love to add a good bit of humor in to the mix which can be seen with my constant use of puns. With my paintings/drawings I use a lot of color  whereas my photography can be black and white or giant bursts of color  (I absolutely adore light painting). There’s also a good use of floating, or watery imagery, and romantic situations set in dramatic displays. I can’t help myself, I’m an emotional sap…

Do you have any creative rituals or routines you do before you get started working on something?

I don’t think I really have any rituals or anything before I start working, but if I were a fly on the wall during these moments I would suppose there would be some common routines. Number one is always environment, I have Christmas lights I have set up all year round, some multicolored others one colour, they always must be plugged in. There are times when I have to warm myself up to get in to a mood and the lights help a lot. Number two is music. I am a person motivated by music; you’ve got to have a heartbeat to survive, right? The right sounds keep me moving, without it I’m only a shell. There are times when I can get a little over dramatic and put on an entire ensemble, sort of like playing a role with myself, those are fun. I’m a night owl, therefore much of my work is done when the sun goes down.

The funny thing, and I’m not sure if I really should mention this or not, but I always keep my blinds open. What I’m saying is anyone who’s on the outside looking in during these times is getting one hell of a show.

Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?

I can’t pin point the exact moment, but I know it had something to do with cartoons. I grew up watching Disney cartoons, and I wanted to make the drawings move on TV like those cartoons did. I always doodled as a kid and everyone always pegged me as the “artsy” one, “Give her a pencil and some paper and she’ll be quite for hours.” When I got a bit older, I started to learn that comic books weren't just for superheros, which was good because I was sure getting in some funk about how cell animation was dying out, and that’s when I decided I wanted to
focus on comics. So yeah, maybe it was brainwashing?

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a professional artist?

Oh goodness, I can’t call myself a professional. A professional is a master and I make far too many mistakes and need to learn so much more as a person, It’s going to be a long time before I can hold that title. I can tell you what makes being an artist rewarding, though. Having the respect from your fellow peers and when someone tells you how your work makes them feel, seeing and knowing that people RESPOND to what you create. It may not be what you had intended for, but it’s something that came from you and out of another. That’s really wonderful. It’s like having a conversation with someone and not saying one word, or motivating an individual by something you did. In a way, playing a muse for others.

 Do have a favorite piece that you've made that holds special meaning to you?

I do, I have a few believe it or not. One is a fairly old piece titled ‘Fantastic’; I drew it during my senior year in high school  it was kind of the piece that helped my pass my art class. During the senior year of the school I attended, we had to get at least ONE piece in the senior show or we failed the class, no matter how well we did throughout out the year. The works were all on a judging panel and this was the one piece of mine that made it in. It was sort of a zen time for me because during the time I worked on it, I knew it was a winner, despite all the mistakes on it. It’s also a self-portrait, something really representing my feelings from back then and even carrying on to now. It’s titled Fantastic because I really do find it to be so.

The second one is a collage called, “No Longer”. I got this one professionally framed and even have it hanging in my bedroom. It represents one of the many theories to the Whitechapel murders in Victorian London, it’s also a pretty effeminate work compared to most of my others.  I love history and murder is a big inspiration for me, the Whitechapel Murders are my favourite and are constant in my thoughts.

Do you have any advice to give the many aspiring artists out there?

 Never give yourself over to power, never forget you can always improve, and don’t keep yourself closed off to things. And never forget what Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Art for art’s sake is a philosophy of the well-fed.”

 Where can we find your work?

My work can be found in different places around town in Jax, FL, I have a tile on the ceiling of, the now Black Hive Comics comic book shop and even a page in the Irish comic The Society of the Remarkable Suicide. It’s also on line in different places, one such place is facebook: Nick Dunkenstein.

1 comment:

  1. I have worked on a project with you Nick and you love to go out of the box!! <3