Friday, June 6, 2008

Interview with Chris Dean

q)What is your name?

a)Chris Dean

q) Where do you live and work?

a)Right now I am living in a little city north of Detroit called Ferndale here in the US. Ironically half of the creative types that list themselves as being from Detroit are actually from Ferndale. . . . they just keep a Detroit address for image. That is why I do it. That and I am trying to promote the idea that I am a giant black man not to be triffled with.

q)What is your creative process like?

a)Left to my own agenda it is fun and organic. It involves a spark of idea that rolls around until it becomes mature enough to do something with. I work on the computer quite a bit and that aspect is usually dry execution of something I have already developed to an advanced stage. Prior to that things are wide open. Often times a technical curiosity will open a path to something, like the organic firestorm that happens when you touch a 9V battery to a piece of steel wool. You know it is cool and so it becomes your job to find something interesting to do with it. Will it be a hobo's beard? A kitty? Many pieces start out that way.

If the creative process is influenced by another's agenda, for an illustration or commission, the process if often pain-filled. I always second guess myself and think too much about the client. I may ultimately produce something that the client and I both like but the process of getting there is seldom fun. But I suppose that is the price you pay.

q)What is your favorite medium?

a)Right now it is all things lenticular. The result looks like holography, portraying an artificial sense of depth, but the process is quite different. Its like those baseball trading cards only on a much larger scale. It is really impossible to judge a work of lenticular art from a simple picture, I keep a website but the pieces must be seen in person to get the full effect. I tend to think it is the lenticular part that most people resond to but Proximo Spirits just used one of my images for a new campaign they are running and I am not even sure the ad agency that brokered the job knew the piece was originally 3D. They created billboards from the piece. . . . . I am trying to convince them they should all be lenticular!

q)What is your current favorite subject?

a)I like art as an avenue for humor. I also like the world as revealed by science. Those are probably the only constants, otherwise all sorts of topics are fair game. I have been working to integrate more 3D photographic elements, I have this fabulous camera setup that lets me take live action digital 3D photographs. I am still trying to figure out all of the fun things I can do with it, I am shooting Detroit bands in concert as a side project but there is just no limit to the potential. I expect you will see an expanded roll of photography in future projects.

q)Are there any contemporary artists that you love?

a)I have to admit that the most inspiring art of the last decade has come through my television in the form of Space Ghost and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, among others. I think those shows have actually altered the course of my life.

q)Can we buy your art anywhere?

a)Right now a few galleries have work for sale here in the U.S., Harold Golen in Miami, L'imagerie in Hollywood and Tag Gallery in Nashville are three that I know for sure, but someone who is interested can contact me through my website too.

q)What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?

a)I feel like I am in this same boat so I don't know what objective advice I have to offer. You like to balance your own vision with the reality that there is still much to learn, and be open to influences but not become the things you admire. It seems like if you do anything long enough, with enough intensity, there is no way to avoid becoming better. Ok, probably a dozen exceptions to that rule just came to mind, but it still must be mostly true.

q)What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?

a)I am propelled by an energy that is nearly compulsive so going is never an issue. On the other hand because what I do has a strong technical aspect I can spend a good deal of that time making new equipment or fussing with software when I should be out making art. That is my biggest obstical.

q)What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?

a)I left my masters program in art doing things that will remain turned to the wall in the back of some dark closet. School was undoubtely beneficial in some ways, especially from a technical point of view, but I could have learned many of the same things on my own. I did develop a growing hatred for most expressions of conceptual art however. Interestingly your typical web-monkey and lenticular artist share a very similar work flow including photoshop files with lots of layers, perpetually turning on and off images and saving subtle variations a million times. My background as a web designer probably helped beat my mind into the numb subission required for this "level of aristry".

q)Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?

a)My laptop.
q)…your contacts…

a)Come by and visit if you are ever in Detroit. . . . . I mean Ferndale. In the mean time stop by my website,

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