Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Art Space Talk: David Vedoe

I recently interviewed artist David Vedoe. Mr. Vedoe works in a number of mediums and styles. He is best known for his Architectural Art, Animal Art, Still Life, and Abstract Art. He is a serious artist who infuses his work with a personal energy.

Mr. Vedoe has gained much acclaim for his architectural and still life paintings. He utilizes traditional oil painting techniques combined with a more contemporary approach to lighting of the objects and to the colors used.

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A: "Both my parents are artists, so I grew up with art as an integrated part of my early life, I always had access to an abundance of art materials.

I am born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark. I went to a private school that focused on the artistic side in children - I still vividly remember the taste of Green Finger Paint! Art was what I did at home, so I probably had other artistic endeavors with the materials in class...that is how it got in my blood.

At twelve I began visiting art museums by myself and began building and painting scale models in plastic with little tableaux/scenes with trees and houses. I was really into it and exhibited them with adults that were semi professional and all pro model builders and in shops that sold those model kits.

I never much liked the limited choices of models - it was mostly all this military/soldier/army/air force paraphernalia, but it sharpened my skills and kept me away from most trouble. Art as an important and practical part of my work began when I was studying architecture in Copenhagen, Denmark From 1978 to 1986."
Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?
A: "Art is a reflection of life and society seen through the mind of the artist. Yes, I engage in my work via the inspiration from my daily life. Some aspects of my art is a serious response life in general, other aspects to scenarios concerning the way we house our selves I.E.: Architecture, yet other aspects are silly/goofy responses to life as in a humorously twisted image of an animal - I love to paint dogs!"

Q. On average, how long does it take you to create one painting?

A: "The answer must be somewhat a non answer: it depends on the size and complexity of the painting in question, I paint sizes from Miniatures to Murals, so the time involved varies widely. I can paint a miniature with so much detail and in oil paint with washes that it takes over a week to finish......I also do a lot of pencil sketches with oil washes on paper that are done in a day or so. Many of my larger complex images take months to finish, one has thirty people in it."

Q. Where can we see more of your art?

A: "I maintain a studio/showroom in Copenhagen, Denmark staffed by my mother, who is herself a great painter and one of my students as well. Then I have a studio showroom here at the house in Taos, New Mexico. But for fast access look up: You will find a variety of my art there. Fine Art, Architectural Art, Animal Art, Abstract Art and various sketches. Enjoy! For Still Life paintings see:"
Q. Do you have any 'studio rituals'? As in, do you listen to certain types of music while working? What helps to get you in the mood for working?
A: "That would be Classical Music. Especially Baroque and Medieval Music inspires me as I paint. I play classical improvisations on the piano as a meditation form if I get stuck as I paint or just to relax and reflect on the process and choose colors. I don't read music well, so it used to amuse people that I had a big Color Chart on my piano where the written music normally sit.
The best motivation I know of is called commission work.......Highly glorious and a paycheck as a huge incentive at the end for well executed work. It is an amazingly rewarding feeling to collaborate on and to lend ones talent, expertise and skills to fulfill someone else's vision. It sharpens my own people skills and gives great insight to other peoples ideas and values. I learn much about art from this."
Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?
A: "Pinpointing is not quite possible, but the people that are attracted to my art are often the types that reflect on life and are still interested in educating themselves, young as old, and have an affinity for analyzing and understanding their surroundings. Active minds. They come from many different walks of life. Fortunately I have met so many of the people that buy and collect my art. It is important to know that the art is ending up in someone’s life and to get the feed back from what impact a piece of art have on their life."

Q. Discuss one of your pieces.

A: "Lets take "Adobe Mansion" (image above). (Adobe is the mud-clay and straw brick that is an ancient building material here in the South West region.)This is an imaginative habitat in a setting combined of many places I have seen, a bit of a dream house/studio/show space to puts around in and create art in.

Imagine sitting in the botanical tower for breakfast on a cold, but sunny, winter day and soak up the rays before going in to the easel and start the days work of researching, sketching, painting and dealing with art???

Most of the thinking actually happens before I paint - when the concept of the painting is put together in a series of concept sketches and brainstorms and tests of areas that need tweaking/adjusting before the paint is applied.

During the painting process color is of essence and achieving a balance that supports the image and the subject matter. Lights and shadows are important. There is actually about 15 people in this painting, they get my attention so they appear as they belong there in the final artworks ambiance with a presencethat explains the architecture of the building.

Applying the paint can afford this meditative state of timeless bliss, that I strive to achieve.That is the one special value of a piece of art I create that I can not really sell, but hopefully that part of the process is visible in the finished piece of art..... Let me see, what I am aiming at here is that there is many layers of value in an art piece.

In addition to the monetary value, there is a value in feeling the satisfaction from knowing that other people derive pleasure from viewing, deciphering, studying and being elevated by a piece of art. Art is a way of sharing values, weather it is Romantic Art or the portrayal of an artistic romance with color, light and some amorphous emotion in a non figurative, non linear moment.

A real successful piece of art for me is when the owners and viewers come back and say: "This piece keeps inspiring me, it looks different during the light changes of a day and I keep seeing new aspects of the image".

Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art? If so, how did it help you as an artist? What can you tell us about the art department that you attended?

A: "I have a Masters Degree in Architecture from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Denmark. Studying architecture involves: drawing/seeing - understanding size/scale/volume/texture - understanding the context of an object (whether a person in a painting or a building on a lot or in an architectural illustration/painting).

I began studying restoration of old buildings which included courses of croquis drawing, perspective drawing classes, and courses in visual communication, all knowledge that I use and adapt in today's work.

Later I studied and designed various scales of buildings within architectural formats from small pavilions, smaller family dwellings, studio/house/gallery combinations over Alternative Health Centers to Landscape Interpretation and Town Planning.

I always made a great deal out of the drawings adding all sorts of media: Mixed Media, Color Pencil, Water Color, Pastel & Oil Pastel.I ended up selling some of my art to one of my architecture professors that also paints.

My final project for my masters degree was a 3 story studio, house and gallery for a painter/sculptor. I already then knew that I was to pursue painting as one of the main components of my career.

I am basically auto didactic or self taught as a painter. Any good education will teach the student a process for further learning that can be applied for the rest of that students life, with modifications according to topic(s)."
Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?
A: "Curiosity! They are out there.....I Paint in Oil, Acrylic, Pastel, Oil Pastel & Mixed Media. Mostly I begin with some sort of pencil/pen drawing, then my favorites are: Oil on board/paper/canvas/walls.Oil paint is the ultimate for changing everything from color, light and shadow to viscosity. Virtually limitless possibilities.

Acrylics are also a lot of fun, dries faster, smells less are less expensive and are great for under painting in an oil painting. I also love Splatter painting as a contrast to the more precise techniques of visualization - Wahoo! - it is highly liberating and affords accidental, non logical or non controlled imagery. It is a totally different process from the other art forms I do."
Q. Where can we see more of your art?
A: "I maintain a studio/showroom in Copenhagen, Denmark staffed by my mother, who is herself a great painter and one of my students as well. Then I have a studio showroom here at the house in Taos, New Mexico. But for fast access look up: art-architecture.blogspot.comYou will find a variety of my art there. Fine Art, Architectural Art, Animal Art, Abstract Art and various sketches. Enjoy!"
Q. Are you represented by a gallery? Do you have any upcoming exhibits?
A: "I used to own and operate several galleries here in Taos. But mostly I sell directly to collectors and do commission works or site specific artwork that is created on location. I would be happy to find good Gallery representation. So do not hesitate to contact me dear gallery owners.

I have five portfolios with photos of artwork, in many categories, that I show people to pinpoint new commission works and projects for illustration, design and visualization. It would be interesting to show my Art - Architecture in a cross disciplinary forum.

Interest in architecture is on the rise with all the hoopla about new Starchitects and a multitude of new museums and large public facilities being built around the globe. I have chosen to focus much of my art where the disciplines of art and architecture meet."

Q. What galleries have you exhibited in? Can you provide links to their sites?

A: "There is a partial list on my web site for galleries in Denmark. Link: art-architecture.blogspot.comHere In Taos I have shown at: Casa Feliz Fine Art, Vedoe Fine Art, Philip Bareiss Gallery, Lumina Gallery, Walden Fine Art, Alexandra Stevens Fine Art, Art Lab Tally Richards Gallery and Wade Gallery. Schaumburg Gallery in Fort Worth, TX. Plus a number of private showings at peoples homes/offices and studio showings around the states. Link:"

Q. What trends do you see in the 'art world'?

A: "Unfortunately viewers/consumers of art are bombarded with multitudes of low grade art, boring crap concocted on someone's kitchen table. (The place of origin is obviously truly unimportant ) - Art is about discrimination, between what is important and essential and what is not!......."I hope for tha day when people PAY for an art fix on their IPod's and MP3'S ........." Just kidding."

Q. Any tips for emerging artists?

A: "Finish works of art to your very best and unique ability. Why else bother??? Then do some introspection to evaluate if you NEED to do art for a living or you can live and just get a good fix by creating art for yourself and as gifts for friends and family, or as a purely private action not intended for any kind of exhibition. That will keep your mind at peace. If you chose to be a professional artist then do it full throttle, learn the whole trade. Financially successful artists are the ones that also master the commercial side of the trade."

Q. Has your work ever been censored? If so, how did you deal with it?

A: "Any submittal to juried shows are a form of censorship....If I am not selected - I have only one way to deal with that:Get better, keep at it, get even......(with the required level)....then above and the doors will open."

Q. What was the toughest point in your career as an artist? Have you ever hit rock-bottom?

A: "My abstract/non figurative art sold as hot cakes in Denmark in 1982 - I painted over 50 abstract/non figurative pieces and sold over 35 of them in five weeks. That was great. But then I chose to rush back to participate in a show in Taos.....It turned out to be a big dud, - so folks: If you have something that works for selling your art then analyze/understand why, perfect it, nourish it, and respect and enjoy it - for it might else go away!

It was not rock bottom - but it really pissed me off, since it was my own fault. Allow me to add a highlight to contrast that ordeal: Once I pushed myself to doing abstract/nonfigurative art: (which scared me is terrifying to actually paint something that you don't know what it is.....but then you get used to it and see it as a new medium for expression on a non verbal intuitive dream level.).

In two years I painted over a hundred paintings varying from 10" x 10" to 5FT x 7FT mostly on paper and on panels, and many of them on top of my architectural sketches, illustrations, renderings and drawings! I actually sold most of my work that I had done as an architecture student, now recycled in to Fine Art."

Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?A: Art is the Spice, the Aroma, the Touch, the Music and the Vision for my Spirit, my Soul, my Life.

Q. What can you tell our readers about the art scene in your area?

A: "Taos, New Mexico is an old art colony established in the beginning of last century - tons of fascinating history - tons of artists and galleries - between 60 to 100 galleries in a small beautiful town consisting of Native American, Hispanic, Anglo communities all nestled at the foot of Taos Mountain and built around Taos Pueblo, the longest continually inhabited dwelling in the world!!!

An art piece in its self built entirely of Adobe bricks, it has no running water and no electricity. See the link above for a painted image. As an artist or art aficionado you will love Taos! However for most artists it is not an easy task to solely make money here by producing art.

Most artist here have two or three jobs. One old hippie, a rather cynical jeweler/artist here once 'pain-ter-staken-ly' described it: "Taos is just a Shit hole with a View!!!" Obviously most people here do not agree with him........"

Q. Has politics ever entered your art?

A: "Well, let's see:....I have made political statements regarding Architecture/Planning and Zoning/Building Codes etc. Mostly as offering a slightly off angle to the subject or focusing on an idea from a different angle than the politically correct one. Then again I have tons of politically incorrect/controversial satirical sketches of various subject matter, these are not really made for public consumption......maybe one day I will find a forum for those....

In general I aim at art as to help heighten and enlighten the human spirit.....there is enough drudgery and despair and ugly suffering out there in the "Real World" - so as to aspire to create a 'sacred' space within humanity, sharing a potential feast of the senses is what art offers at its best.

Most young artists' art, saturated in political issues, created from a point of rebellion; they highlight the unjust, the wrong, the unappealing till they find a balance within themselves, and their art changes to be more of a celebration of life. The political issues fall to the back burner as life becomes more joyful.

Lately, I try to keep art as my 'sacred' space untainted by the particular profanity of politics."

Q. Does religion, faith, or the lack thereof play a part in your art?

A: "The answer is yes. I am not religious. Most religion boils down to old dogma, stifled in tradition....All tradition must have been the Avant Garde at one point in time!

Art is not separated from deep issues or high lofty Ideology, Philosophy, Ethics, Morality, Sexuality OR Religion, - it embraces it. Art is an Examination of Reality - Fantasy - Anything presented in an appealing (not necessarily pretty) or dramatic (not necessarily traumatic) conceptual format. So yes, I have used imagery and concepts normally associated with religion in my artwork.
Faith is a binding and dividing link between the dichotomy of established religion and secular rational objectivism. I Choose to have faith inrational objectivism.
Creating art is a spiritual activity - a self educational tool to understand this world, our own little worlds, and how they meet and interact, where there is friction, happiness, stagnation or progress. Spiritual activity in this context to be understood as of or relating to the mind or intellect."

Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the 'art world'?
A: "Oh yes, but I rest my case for now. May Art be in your life!"
I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with David Vedoe. Feel free to critique or discuss his art.
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin

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