Entries in interviews (33)

Saturday
Jun032017

q&a with artist and yogi Caol McDonald

 

Caol McDonald is a  artist, yogi and a wonderful person.  Many evenings I have thoroughly enjoyed whiling away the hours in conversation with him. Even a quick conversation on the stairs of flow makes me wish we had more time to chat.  Caol is full of wisdom and his eye for light is thrilling.  He has a gentle spirit with the strength of a warrior that really sees what is around him.  You can connect with him  on Facebook and Instagram and buy his art on his Esty shop from FlowCo and Souk Belfast, practice with him at Flow Studio Belfast and other places - check out his Facebook page for details of classes - I highly recommend you make taking one high up your to do list.  The painting Caol did for me inspires me to keep lifting up.

 

Who are you, what’s it like being you…

My name is Caol, a 27 year old creative type, yogi by day and painter by night with a passion for exploring the great outdoors

Where are you from, where are you based…

I live in the heart of Mid Ulster N.Ireland, currently based in Cookstown


Talk about your work ... How do you find inspiration?

As an artist my work is my voice, what comes from within; I have doodled and created art for years and that voice is still growing. I’ve lived in Ireland all my life, and it being a small island, it’s possible to journey and discover your surroundings become changeable landscapes from mountains and forests to oceans and cliff views easily, the lens through which my mind perceives this world has been predominantly a visual one, my inspiration comes strongly from the raw Atlantic islands scenery and the concept of the human spirit, and it’s always been my passion to try and communicate and strengthen the bond between Humanity and nature.

I am simply a secretary to my own sensations, living a life through colour, and through the resulting expressions I paint and record on paper I aim to help re-establish our connection to the natural ways of the world.

More recently I have been taking this visual lens on an internal exploration of the landscapes of human nature through yoga, and drawing parallels between these conceptual, internal landscapes and the external environment and listening to how both yoga and art can inform how one sees the world.

 

What are your future plans ..

In an ideal situation I hope to find a place where I can be self sufficient by teaching yoga, creating and to live ecologically here in Ireland.

who you are inspired by ...

Creatively…artists such as Brandon Boyd or Jose Parla to name just two, also people who are living for a living, people who are kind and who live compassionate lives to each other and the world we live on.

Describe your space ...

There is always a cup of coffee in hand, a candle lit and an open window

A non-negotiable in your life is ...

Having a quiet moment to yourself each day, even (especially)if it’s simply to enjoy a coffee. 

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ...


While not necessarily the most encouraging I’ve ever heard, I was recently shared words written by Nikita Gill from my Mother that struck a chord

“You carry both lightning and thunder in that space between your bones and soul, become the storm you are hiding from, a hurricane does not run from the rain”


Your work life philosophy is ...

You weren’t born to pay bills and die, make room for enjoying life. 

What is your favourite smell ...

Petrichor…the smell of the earth after rain. (…or morning coffee)

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...

My tastes in music vary but currently I like Nahko Bear- Great Spirit


Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ...

I’ve wanted to for years but only recently I have been eating a plant based diet; for just almost a year now, it took time for me to longer miss my old favourites I thought I couldn’t do without. Now my most often ate meal is roast chilli broccoli with some form of tofu, … but my favourite food is 100% peanut butter, I could eat that all day!

Three things or products that have changed your life...

The addition of my dog to the family tribe instigated my proactivity towards a plant based lifestyle, yoga has taken me to Asia and back, offered growth and opportunities to connect with some of the best people I now call friends and colleagues and of course Art.

How do you relax ...

Meditation…whether that be the traditional method, yoga or meditation via art

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ...

Adventuring into nature with fresh air, places away from daily routine where you can take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the world, I’m particularly drawn to the Irish Coast and the wild power of The Atlantic.

What do you most value in your friends ...

Individuality of character 


What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ...

As somebody who lives with the constant urge to communicate or convey sensations…ideas and concepts, whether that be to other people or simply to myself via meditating or painting or writing, a few words I happened upon this year resonate with me

“Make ceremonies out of the air, and breathe upon them"

I conceptualise this phrase visually, as an artist or a yogi plucking inspiration from anything, what they see, hear and experience or from their own mind and using it to create something wonderful. A painting, a memorable day out or a great savasana!

As for currently, in terms of books; I have an obsession with the works of J.R.R Tolkien and I just finished rereading The Silmarillion (a grand prequel to the more popular Lord of The Rings or The Hobbit). I also am keenly following any news articles or social media stories about the current political and environmental protest happening in America, where the Native treaty lands of the American Indians are under threat by Oil companies, I feel the Earth is an island and we have nowhere else to go, we need to protect what we have, Water is Life.


Share some words of wisdom ...

I came across this a while ago, I’m unsure of its author but I love it;

“You think in your idle hours that there is literature, history, science behind you so accumulated as to exhaust thought and prescribe your own future. In your sane hour you will see that not a line has yet been written; that for all the poetry that is in the world your first sensation on entering a wood or standing on the shore of a lake has not been charted yet. It remains for you; so does all thought, all objects, all life remains unwritten yet”

 

 

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Thank you Caol, it was a joy to have your at our place.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Tuesday
Nov152016

q&a with artist Peter Collins

It gives me great joy to welcome the wonderful Belfast artist Peter Collins to the Salt and Sparkle Q&A. Peter's work is full of a viseral power.  It is capivating and powerful all at once, he is suprenely talented.  His use of light and colour lingering in the mind's eye long long after you have first seen his paintings.  I met Peter through his brilliant fiancé Deborah Swain and am really delighted to feature him and his work.  You can contact to commission a piece by shooting him an email, or checking out his Facebook page.

Who are you, what’s it like being you ... 

Hi my name is Peter Collins and I’m a recovering IT professional. I’ve worked in IT for the last 20 years but did my degree in Fine Art. My whole team and I were made redundant recently which for me was a blessing in disguise. It was not a bad occupation but it was soul destroying working in a role that didn’t make use of my talents. It’s given me this amazing opportunity to get back to my art. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in a year’s time but my worst nightmare would have been to look back in another year and still be in the same job.


Where are you from, where are you based ...

Born and bred in Belfast. Love watching it reinvent itself having grown up in the seventies and eighties.

Talk about your work ...

I’m enjoying learning to paint in oils again after a long hiatus. The creative process of bringing something into the world out of nothing is an incredible feeling and is about as close as I get to spirituality. However it is only hard work that pays off. There is no such thing as the artistic genius –there are just those people who work much, much harder than everyone else. I try to remember this mantra but it doesn’t always work!

I’ve adopted many styles in the past for commissions and so never really thought I had a style but I hope I’m now closing in on a personal signature in my work.


 

 

 

 

 


What are your future plans ...
I’ve set myself the goal of getting some paintings sold in a gallery –after that…

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...   

From my own experience and from what I’ve read of other creative people, inspiration tends to come while you are working so the most important thing is to be constantly working at your craft - whatever it may be. Being productive will take you in directions you will never be able to predict by sitting around thinking about it. “You can't plow a field simply by turning it over in your mind” 

That said, Van Gogh, Cezanne and John Singer Sargent are heroes for me. Colin Davidson’s work is superb and adds fuel to the fire every time I see it! Pascal Vilcollet and Conor Harrington are amazing artists who are also very comfortable working at a large scale. I admire people who have enthusiasm for what they do. Jamie Oliver taught me to cook over the years but it’s his genuine enthusiasm that is infectious. The same applies to Prof Brian Cox (on Astrophysics not cooking!)

Describe your space .. 

I’ve converted an unused front room into a studio. The light is great but I’ve also rigged up lots of daylight lamps for a boost due to our erratic weather. Years in the I.T. business has taught me the “clear desk” philosophy which actually applies very well to an artist’s studio. So I try to keep the clutter to a minimal by clearing up at the start or end of the day. (My fiance may dispute this!)

How are you feeling today ...Great! The the sun is shining!

A non-negotiable in your life is ...

Coffee; and the dogs! I’m lucky to have two amazing dogs who know how to keep me fit!

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ...

It’s not what happens to you in life but how you deal with it that counts. I used to stress a lot about things which inevitably turned out to be pointless and trivial.

Your work life philosophy is ...

Do whatever you want but work hard at it. What defines you is not your chosen calling in life but how you do it. For me happiness and fulfillment come from being creative and productive which lifts your mood and in turn lets you appreciate life and the people in it. I happiest when free time is coming up and I know I’ve achieved or created something good.

What is your favourite smell ...  

 Peat fires. Preferably in Cork or Kerry! Also Italian pine trees. Preferably in Italy! Did I mention coffee?

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...

Anonhi – “Drone bomb me” -very different. When I’m really concentrating or experimenting I need chilled out music like Massive Attack or even Classical music, but if I’m on a roll it’s got to be something more “full on” like Queens of the Stone Age or some Dance/HipHop.

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ...

I love to cook so that’s a tough one. But my “go to” comfort food dish would have to be pasta Puttanesca. 

3 ingredients? Basil, Lime, Garlic: For homemade Pesto, Margaritas and everything else, in that order!

Three things or products that have changed your life...  

My Fiancé Deborah: (not a thing!) One of the most positive and open people I’ve ever met and a joy to be around!

Travel: everyone should do it. When you are young it is literally mind blowing. Every child in this country should be sent abroad for a few months at the age of 14 or 15. It would solve a lot of problems.

The Internet: Having grown up pre-internet it still astounds me how empowering the internet is for expanding your knowledge and for practical research. Alas if only more people would make use of it rather than watching cats and indulging in public displays of ignorance.

How do you relax ... 

I love cooking. Especially for other people. I only worked out recently that I somehow find it relaxing! Walking the dogs in all our beautiful parks and green places, reading a good book or some quality TV.

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ... I’m definitely happy when I’m being creative as it defines who I am and so gives me that fulfillment. My happy place is either on the sofa with, or travelling with my wife to be Deborah.

What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...

 My favourite journey is heading Cork and Kerry. It’s where my family are originally from and I haven’t really explored it properly. I would love to see Machu Pichu in Peru and also a long road trip around France. 

What do you most value in your friends ...  

The absence of expectations and the Craic.

 

What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now 

Favourite words: “We’re booked!”

I’m reading Moby Dick at the moment. I’ve a long list of classics that I thought I better start working through!

 

Share some words of wisdom ... 

Personality is how you behave around others. Character is what you do when you think no one is watching.

 

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Thank you Peter it was such a pleasure to have you at our place.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Tuesday
Nov012016

q&a with Mummybird


1. Who are you, what’s it like being you ...
 I am Mummybird to three boys. All have additional needs that require 24/7 care. To include type 1 diabetes, autism & epilepsy. I am mum, wife, carer, crafts woman, photographer, over thinker, coffee addict!
2.  Where are you from, where are you based ...
I live a few miles north of Cambridge in a fenland village. I run a market stall in the heart of Cambridge on an arts & crafts market.
3. Talk about your work ...
I started making Jewellery around 17 years ago...after spending a small fortune on necklaces for myself! I make vintage style Jewellery using various quotes, characters & other media. 
4.  What are your future plans ...  
I want to set up something where I can employ my boys after they've leave their special school. Something along the lines of a small holding/petting farm and a tea room with gift shop with local produce/crafts
5.  How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  
My inspiration is thought my children. through the battles they face. Dr Seuss is featured heavily in my pieces! I find words to be so powerful, hence the use of them in the majority of my pieces.
6.  Describe your space ...
I have a little workshop in my garden. It has antique furniture, bunting (lots), a beautiful Roberts radio to listen to. It's quite a sanctuary!
7.  How are you feeling today ... 
I am feeling blessed today. I have just returned home from a successful and very lovely day at the market
8. A non-negotiable in your life is ...
I can't really think of a non negotiable other than that I would never let anything or anyone come before my children 
9.  Most encouraging words you have ever heard
 'She believed she could, so she did' -Kobi Yamada (so apt in so many areas of my life!)
10.   Your work life philosophy is ... 
Cram in work where I can. The kids will always come first. But there is something decadent about working in the wee small hours. Work hard for what you want!
11. What is your favourite smell ... 
Coffee
12. Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...
I love Hozier, classical, disco, anything really!  sadly at the moment, all I can hear is Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom via an iPad 
13.  Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ... 
I love seafood and fish. Garlic, lemon & salt 
14.  Three things or products that have changed your life...
The three things that have changed my life: children of course ;-) wouldn't have it any other way....well....maybe a little more help! 
15. How do you relax? 
I like a lovely glass of wine, but that's my limit. Sam (youngest son) suffers with epilepsy and can have a drop seizure at any time. I have to have my wits about me. I find photography is probably the way I most unwind...its when I'm simply 'Claire' 
16. What makes you happy - where is your happy place?
So many things make me happy and I find a happy place in so many places! Saturday's is a respite day for me when I'm at the market, yet, I'm so happy when I'm surrounded by my beautiful boys.
17. What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...

Just returned from the Scottish highlands. I'm desperate to return there, on a 'proper' wildlife tour! I would love to go to Iceland & Alaska...the list goes on and on and on.....
18. What do you most value in your friends ...
I most value my friends time. Their shoulder and ear.
19. What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now .... 
 I love so many books and I am a hook hoarder! I have around 24 unread! I am currently reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon anything that might relate to history, and I'm there!!! 
20. Share some words of wisdom ...
Have courage & be kind   

 

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Claire - it has been a joy to have you at our place, thank you for hanging out with us.  It is wonderful to start our new series of q&a interviews with yours, check back soon to hear from artists, journalists, designers, makeup artists and musicians.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Thursday
Aug182016

q&a with photographer Richard Wade

It is a joy to welcome the photographer Richard Wade to the Salt and Sparkle q&a.  Rich is a talented photographer who sees more than what is in front of him, his vision allows him to capture the image that tells the story.  His work is fresh and vibrant.  With clients including The Financial Times, Magnum Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, BBC, RTE, Surface Magazine, his pictures are gaining great traction.  You can check out his work on his website Rich Wade, connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or email him to book him for an assignment, he's based in New York City.

Who are you, what’s it like being you ...

I’m Richard Wade and I’m a photographer. I ‘ve found what I want to do in life so that’s pretty cool. You can check out my work on my website

Where are you from, where are you based ...

I am from Belfast but have just relocated to Brooklyn. I am studying an MFA in photography at Parsons New School in Manhattan

Talk about your work ...

My work has quite a lot of variation, but at its heart it’s a study of people and their rituals. I like making pictures in places that I wouldn’t otherwise go. I make personal work for shows and also work editorially for different publications. 


What are your future plans ... 

My future plans involve a lot of picture taking, travelling and the continued development of my art practice and business. I hope to continue exhibiting my work on a larger scale, especially in New York. I also plan on opening a studio at some point.

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  

I am inspired by people who are ambitious and make their own path in life. A lot of the subjects in my pictures are people who I have been drawn to. I liked all the boxers I met during my project. They get punched in the face and keep going. 


Describe your space ... 

I send lots of emails so anywhere with WIFI and hot drinks. I also like to be out my house a lot, it stops me getting lazy. 

How are you feeling today ... 

Today I am tired. I was out late last night photographing.  


A non-negotiable in your life is ...

Exercise. Without it I can’t function. 

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ... 

“You’re a f---ing idiot.” Having something to prove has encouraged and motivated me more than anything else. 


 Your work life philosophy is ...

Be obsessed and love it. Have high expectations and a work ethic to back it up. 

What is your favourite smell ...  

Pizza.


Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ... 

I really enjoy Hans Zimmer and movie soundtracks. Right now I am listening to M83 Reunion.  

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ... 

Always pizza! Eggs, sourdough bread and bacon work well to. 

Three things or products that have changed your life... 

My MacBook Pro, Fender Strat and camera.  

How do you relax ... 

I like to binge watch YouTube and sit in coffee shops. I also love to work out!

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place 

I love to set goals and achieve them. I love when something I have worked on for a long time comes off. It’s still hard to process that I made it to America after working towards it for so long.  

What is your favorite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  

I love travelling to the States. I would love to visit Tokyo!

What do you most value in your friends ...  

Support. It’s great to have people who believe in you!

What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ... 

 “Problems are inevitable, misery is optional.” Right now I am reading the Big Short by Michael Lewis. 

Share some words of wisdom ...

Don’t set any limitations. Go after what you want. If you fail it’s a good sign, keep going. Although cliché I would tell people that anything is possible if you work hard. Push outside your comfort zone. Also Exercise! 

 

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Thank you for stopping by Rich it was great to have you at our place.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Monday
Jul042016

q&a with photographer James McCourt

I'd love you to join me and give a great big welcome to the talented photographer James McCourt who's q&a is kicking off our latest season.  I first encountered James work at the Ulster University Photography graduate show.  His large film based prints of a farm in West Belfast have stayed with me.  His storytelling is genuine and through his pictures he introduces you to a real world were an inner city farm is bringing hope, pride and purpose to the community.  You can connect with James on his website, shoot him an email if you have a project you'd like to hire him for, and check out his insta.  James its great to have you at Salt and Sparkle - you are very welcome.

Who are you, what’s it like being you ...
I’m James McCourt, a photographer from Belfast. Recently graduating from BA Honours Photography at the Ulster University. Being me, everyday is an adventure. Loading the camera with film and seeing what happens next. 

 Where are you from, where are you based ...

Originally from the Whiterock, west Belfast. 

Talk about your work ...

I’ve always had a keen interest in the political history of Belfast. My photographic work seems to be an exploration of the landscape but also question this idea of ‘home’. 



Since the start of the year, I’ve been creating a series based on the St James farm in west Belfast. This urban farm is located between the bog meadows and the M1 motorway.  The Garden of Hope provides a family orientated community with a sense of pride and purpose. 

What are your future plans ... 

A question that I keep asking myself. I will continue to work closely in the St James farm. These photographs will be published as part of a limited zine. Recently graduating from my BA Hons I have a keen interest to get involved within the television/film industry. My dream job being a movie location scout.

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  

Studying under Donovan Wylie and Paul Seawright, I find their work very inspiring. At the early stages of my photography, I came across the work Sean Mc Kernan and Frankie Quinn. Creating photographs during the conflict in Northern Ireland. They tell a story of the everyday.  

Describe your space ...

Surrounded in negatives, my scanner and iMac.  A cup of coffee sits on my table and my notepad.
 
How are you feeling today ... 



Today, I feel fantastic. I picked up some new negatives that I hope to scan! No better feeling …


A non-negotiable in your life is ...

I would say my photography. Scanning negatives seems to be pretty relaxing! 


Most encouraging words you have ever heard ...

The most encouraging words I heard, is from my mum and dad. I remember saying to them about studying photography in secondary school. They said ‘James, do whatever makes you happy. If you’re happy, we’re happy.” 


Your work life philosophy is ...

My work/life philosophy is work hard and enjoy every minute. Take the bad times and the good times. Dare to have a dream and work to make that dream a reality.

What is your favourite smell ...  

That new book smell. My girlfriend still thinks it’s strange to smell a new photobook!


Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...

Right now, I’m listening to Duke Dumont - Ocean Drive. Can’t seem to get enough of this song.

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ...

My best meal, has to be Sushi at Kyoto in Scheveningen, Netherlands! During my year stay at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) that seemed to be my hide out at the weekend. 


Three things or products that have changed your life...

Google Maps, my Epson scanner (meant no more late evenings spent in university scanning) and a selfie stick. 

How do you relax ...

Whenever I’m having some down time from a project or a couple of days off, I like to run and take long walks. Running seems to always relax me and allows me to just forget everything. I like to keep active so I play sports and swim. I also enjoy sitting down to read a good autobiography of political leaders or sporting hero’s.


What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ...

Making new work on the farm is definitely my happy place. Being there with the volunteers as they help, hearing their stories and just having a laugh. This farm is a truly remarkable little place. I STILL can’t believe there is a farm in west Belfast!


What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  

I’ve always spoke about travelling across America. It would be a dream to rent a car and drive from Massachusetts to Portland. Using my camera as a way to document the whole trip. 



What do you most value in your friends ...  

My friends have been incredible throughout everything I do. Always there to listen and encourage but when times are hard it is nice to have people to pick you up. 


What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ...

I’ve a lot of interest in the current political state. Right now, I’m reading about Brexit …. A hot topic for sure!
 
Share some words of wisdom …

My words of wisdom, enjoy everything life has in store. Dream big and work hard to make those dreams a reality. 
 

Thank you James - it has been a joy to have you at our place.

That't it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Monday
Sep072015

q&a with artist Brad Blackman

 

It is a great pleasure to welcome the incredibly talented artist Brad Blackman to the Salt and Sparkle q&a.  Brad is based in Nashville, Tennessee, and has shown his work across the USA and in Europe. Most recently, he exhibited with Quidley & Company Fine Art in Boston.  His work is fine art and filled with clever representations of light that draw the viewer into the work, and he explores themes of man’s mortality and search for peace via urban landscapes and abstract-realist compositions. Brad and I connected via Twitter when he recommended the book Do Over,for me to read (it was a great read).  Then I spent a really pleasant afternoon getting lost on his website, looking at his paintings.  You can follow Brad on Twitter, Facebook, as well as his website, and you can commission one of his beautiful paintings. He is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Art Shows.

 

Who are you, what’s it like being you ...

I'm Brad Blackman. I'm a fine artist who makes a living as a graphic designer. I'm also a dad and a husband.

On the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator I'm classified as INFJ, which apparently is one of the rarest types. I guess that means I'm a contradiction. The person most like me that you might have seen on TV is Ted from How I Met Your Mother. I'm the kind of person who loves to stay up all night drinking coffee and talking about life, the universe, and everything.
I have severe-to-profound hearing loss. For the longest time I thought of this as a non-issue. An inconvenience, maybe. Most people don't think about it after first meeting me since I get alone fine with hearing-aids, or they don't notice them until they've known me for a while, but the ever-present silence has actually had a profound effect on my work. 
I didn't realize how much my deafness meant to me until a few years ago, and even more so now that I have small (noisy) children.


Where are you from, where are you based ...

I'm from Nashville, Tennessee. I'm one of the few that actually grew up here. I moved away for a few years for college, but I came back and stayed. I fell in love with a girl here, married her, and now we are raising our children here.


Talk about your work ...
I started making art when I was about two. I have always thought of myself as an artist. I drew anytime I could get my hands on a crayon, pencil, pen.
But in college I fell in love with painting. I actually had no interest in it until I took Painting I for my graphic design major. 
There was something mesmerizing about putting paint on canvas. The way oil paint feels on my fingers. The way the colors blend together with a brush. I've been hooked ever since.
I experimented with exaggerated colors in portraits, and landscapes. Blue skies would be orange, gray shadows would turn purple, my friends would be green or blue or red.
After a while I felt like it was a hack, and began to paint "normal" colors, but I always got a bit of extra color in somewhere.
Then a few years ago I tried to paint every single day, making little urban landscapes on small canvases. I got burned out and gave up painting for about eighteen months. 
Not long after that I got an iPhone and discovered how much fun it was to shoot things with Instagram. I began to experiment with not just urban landscapes but abstraction. About two years ago I began to dabble in painting abstractly. 
At the same time I began thinking about silence and the role it has had in my life. Now, rather than fighting it and resenting it, I actually embrace it. 
Last November, I tried the Art Every Day Month Challenge and decided to explore abstraction in painting. I also tried acrylic instead of oil, since I could work quickly. I got up early every morning and worked on smallish abstracts before going to my day job.
Since then, my work is almost all abstract. I use hazy, foggy imagery to underscore the idea of quiet and as a metaphor for not having all the answers in life, and being okay with that.
My abstract painting tends two different directions: quiet and hazy, or sharp and graphic.
What are your future plans ...
Figure out how to make a living as a fine artist! When you look at the really successful artists, you notice that they have a specific product and a specific market. They produce(d) work that appeals to a certain audience. I think right now my job is to figure out what it is I make and who wants it.
How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  
My children. They are six, five, and three. They amaze me every day. They're so funny, and inventive.
Describe your space ... 
I have a corner in the bonus room over the garage. It's not much, but it's my space. I have a bulletin board with all sorts of things pinned to it, usually reference material for whatever I'm working on at the moment. I have tools like rulers and a color wheel hanging off it.
How are you feeling today ... 
The weather is changing here in Nashville, and I've got allergies, so I'm a little stopped up. Not as bad as I was last week, having to take NyQuil at 3 in the afternoon and sleeping until morning.
A non-negotiable in your life is ...
Dinner with my wife and children. I'm blessed to be able to do this 99% of the time. If I can't, either I'm on a deadline, or major changes have to take place.
Most encouraging words you have ever heard ...
My friend Mitch told me in college that I have a good eye for color. That's always stayed with me, especially as I've noticed he has a good eye for color.
Your work life philosophy is ...
Make time for family and put time for them on the calendar. I may not be available all the time, but when I'm available, I'm all there. Put the phone away at dinner time.
What is your favourite smell ...  
Paints!
Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...
I listen to a lot of podcasts or 90s ambient on Pandora inspired by the film The Matrix.
Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ...
My mom makes a really good chicken vegetable soup. She would always make it for me when I came home from college.
But I can't think of much of any single ingredient I love more than coffee. :)
That said, I like simple meals that consist of something like grilled chicken, flaky bread.


Three things or products that have changed your life...

1. coffee
2. oil paint
3. hearing aids that connect to Bluetooth devices
How do you relax ...
I wind down by watching old sci-fi shows on Netflix after everyone else has gone to bed. Right now, I'm working my way through The X-Files.
What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ...
Places where time stands still and everything grows quiet. It might be in the woods, on the water, or on a mountain. Where all you feel is the sun and all you hear is the wind or water. Natural places that are very high or very low.
You'd think it would be in the studio. But I can't relax there. That's a place where work gets done.
What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  
In college I spent a semester in Italy, and I would love to return. I would especially love to take an extended visit to Ireland as that's where my wife's ancestors are from and she's never been. 
I really want to visit the UK again, especially Wales, since that's where my ancestors came from prior to the American Revolution. 
But one place I really want to see is Iceland. I've seen such amazing footage of it in films and on television that I feel like I have to go. The sky. The land. The mountains. It looks harsh and comforting all at once.
What do you most value in your friends ...  
Loyalty. Reserving judgement until all has been heard. Seeing the good in everything.
What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ...
Right now the word "haze" has been a sort of mantra and inspiration. It's the opposite of clarity, yet I think a lot of clarity can be found in the mist.
I'm not reading anything at the moment, but I recently finished up Do Over by Jon Acuff. It's a great book about how to think about your career.
Share some words of wisdom ...
I'll quote the Beatles: "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
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It was a pleasure to interview you Brad, thank you for taking part.
That's it for now ...
Nics
Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

Monday
Aug312015

q&a with artist Kieron Black

It is a pleasure to welcome artist Kieron Black to the Salt and Sparkle q&a.  Kieron is an immensely talented artist who's work has been shown across the world.  Kieron's work is lumious full of effervescent light.  One of his drawings has accompanied me across the world.  His cartoons accompany pieces in New York financial magazines each week and his watercolours are available to commission.  I have had the pleasure of knowing Kieron for a long time because he is my very cool older cousin.  You can connect with Kieron and commission a piece of his art work on Facebook and by email.

Who are you, what’s it like being you ...
Kieron Black. 45 years on this planet. Very human.

Where are you from, where are you based ...
The afore-mentioned planet. Killough, Co Down, in a timeworn cottage by the sea.


Talk about your work ...
Talk about yours.

What are your future plans ... 
Live my life, be a good father, husband. Not die til it's time.

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...
The beautiful, the grotesque. Everyone who tries... by those who it comes easy to but mostly by those who it comes hard to.


  
Describe your space ... 
Messy. Full of boards and the means of making marks.

How are you feeling today ... 
Just dandy.

A non-negotiable in your life is ...
Coffee.

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ... 
You can do this.

Your work life philosophy is ...
There is always someone who is better at what you do than you are. Don't sweat it.

What is your favourite smell ...  
Wax.

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ... 

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ... 
A good caeser.

Three things or products that have changed your life... 
Boards. My wife, my daughter.


How do you relax ... 
Ride.

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ... 
Riding.

What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  
All of them. All of it.

What do you most value in your friends ...  
Time.


What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ... 
My weeping friends forebear to mourn, nor for my absence cry. You must, like me, to dust return. You must, like me, die.

Share some words of wisdom ...
I just did.

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Thank you Kieron, it was great to interview you on the Salt & Sparkle q&a.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable