Traditional-Artists Proudly Present
Q&A Session With
Table of Contents Introduction Brief Into ……………………………………………………………2 Featured Works……………………………………………………..3 Question & Answer Session Personal & General …………………………………………………4 Medium & Technique Related ……………………………………..9 Short Exert on Style ………………………………………………………10 Sources & Special Thanks …………………………………………………11
Brief Introduction Seth Fitts, or, as we know him on dA, Sesfitts, is a fine artist currently residing in Georgia, USA. He mostly works in acrylics, and is ambitious about a career in illustration. He is also currently working on developing a children's book with Aladdin Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. In the following interview, we got to find about a bit more about Seth’s inspiration, reasons behind the subject matter he paints, choices of his supplies; most significantly, however, we got to glimpse an aspect of Seth’s personality directly, and through acquaintance with his voice can feel closer to his work. Read on, as so can you.
Where you can find Sesfitts: dA Profile: http://sesfitts.deviantart.com/ Official Website: http://www.sethfitts.com/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/sfitts Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/seth.fitts Soundzine: http://soundzine.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=450&Itemid =1
Guardian Spirit. Fitts, 2009 Bird of Commemoration. Fitts, 2009
Santa Claus, Fitts, 2009.
Time Keeper Fitts, 2009.
Question & Answer Session Personal & General Seth, what do you think of dA? I know some artists don't take it more seriously than a networking site with an option to post work...Has it brought you any fruits beyond that? I'm not sure how to phrase it, but has this place yielded enough fun and benefits to become a respectable gallery in your eyes, so to speak? In the beginning I did not take it seriously. Then in 2008 I decided to utilize the space and began uploading. I think DA is great! I use it for feedback, portfolio, and to see others' artwork. Do you remember what first inspired you to paint? I have been painting and drawing since childhood. In 2nd grade we had a Monday activity that involved writing and illustrating about the weekend â€“ and I noticed that I enjoy the illustrative quite a bit more than the writing. So, for as long as I can remember I have been interested in art and illustrations. I began to take it seriously while in high school. Are you self taught or do you have a specific art education, and if yes, for how long did you study? This may sound funny but I consider myself 80% self taught. When I was in school I was not shown very much. The instructor would show a few techniques and then let us start our work. I would receive encouragement as "I like this, try more" but mostly I had figure things out by experimenting. I did go to college and have a BFA in Painting [from University of West GA]. For more information about University of West Georgia, see here: http://www.westga.edu/
What kind of art studies have you done and/or still do for practice? I do not do any. I have thought about a life drawing class but often I do not have time or money for it. [However, as the latter questions will reveal, Seth extensively researches each subject matter he works with].
I hope you don't mind me asking, but since you've three kids - do they have an opinion on their dad being an artist? Do they participate in the feedback process to your works? To them this is everyday normality. They have influenced my art and the direction it goes. They were a part of the art too. Sometimes they give some feedback but mostly it is "cool" or "I like that". My son has helped in feedback with remarks of "leave it alone!"
Personal & General…………………………………...Continued How long did it take for you to develop you own specific style or did you always have that style? Well, I mimicked other art and illustrative styles I liked. I developed the style I have now over time. I just kept drawing in a way that felt right and over time the style makes itself. I would like to express my admiration for your characters and your universe. Have you any plans to animate your universe? Have you received any proposals to create a small film with your universe, or anything of the like? No proposals... maybe one but I think it was forgotten about. I have done some animations in the animation technique of William Kentridge. I have wanted to do another. William Kentridge, short bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Kentridge „History of the Main Complaint‟ by W. Kentridge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1sPLXMg1BQ “Felix in Exile” by W. Kentridge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk5tPkqQoL0
Have you ever suffered from artistic blocks? Are there any particular methods of overcoming them that you might have developed? Oh yes! To overcome I try switching mediums, go from acrylic painting to encaustic painting; change subject matter, try something new; go to a gallery or museum to get the artistic juices flowing. I understand you have a studio dedicated entirely to being your painting space... Is having such a designated room helpful in terms of the creative process - does is help channel the attention and inspiration towards creative work, or is it simply a matter of convenience? Having a studio helps because there are less distractions. When I was working at home too many things would interfere: TV, cleaning, noise, or others needing your attention (kids). Having a studio also gives me a space to store artwork! How much do you enjoy your art, and do you ever regret it as a profession because it's so life consuming? I enjoy it greatly! I only regret that it does not pay enough [Winks].
Personal & General…………………………………...Continued How much money do you make on your paintings and art? The money I make is little. In other words I cannot support myself just on selling artwork. I see that some of your paintings are sold. How do you manage to commercialize your art, by dA, galleries in your country or Etsy, etc? Well, I have business cards with My DA page and my web page on them. I am also on a few art sites. Most of what I sell is through exhibits or art fairs. Have you ever thought about making comics/what is your feeling towards them? I have made a comic! Just one through – with Dark Horse Comics. The title was something like "Vampires of the Darkworld". It consisted of poetry with some crude drawings of mine. I loved comics but fell out of buying many due to a not so nice comic shop in a local town. Dark Horse Comics Website: http://www.darkhorse.com/
What an artist should take into consideration when creating a work of art? Well... Make a piece that comes from within. Put your heart and soul into your work. Paint what you love or like. When I paint something I do not like it shows in the work. We've already mentioned that you have some favorite subjects to paint - birds, trees, and balloons to name a few. Do you have some subjects that you'd like to paint in the future, that you consider to be outside your "comfort zone" at the moment? How would you go about tackling them if so? I have not given it much thought. If the subject works in with the concept or meaning I am trying to convey then I would go about painting it like anything else: lots of research, draw studies of the subject to get a feel of it, and if I am at a point where I like the way I drew it, I then move to painting. If you create art with a specific conceptual intent, are you often tempted to explain it directly to the viewer? What do you usually decide and why? I restrain myself! When the viewer asks questions I then give some hints or clues to steer them in the direction I had intended.
Personal & General…………………………………...Continued Tell us a little bit behind the recurring subjects of your paintings - birds, small animals, trees, clouds with air balloons, visitors... Is there symbolism behind them? What subject are you most inspired by and driven to paint? There is symbolism in most of my works and I try to relate the symbols so that they support each other in the message. The birds, for example, are symbols of the soul or spirit. And I cannot choose! I like using these icons as it makes for a more universal piece, makes it relatable. Is there a source to your color schemes? I've noticed that you like to use a lot of umbers, sepias, sienna with blues and reds. Is there any reason behind these colors, or are they what you feel most comfortable with? …Source? Well, if I understand your question, I am drawn to earth tones and I guess it reflects on my work. I also try to create a certain mood. Color also plays a role in the symbolism of my work. The colors chosen are often used to support the meaning and feeling of the work. Sometimes colors are used just because they complement and can make a previously "dead" painting more vivid. When I see your work I feel in a „rainy‟ mood (rain makes me happy), but your work also makes feel kind of sad. Your tag line says „Art must have soul!‟ - is this mood your soul or a reflection of something else? I think there is a bit of melancholy in both. Hmmm, a good way to put this, if I understand your question, is sad makes the happy "happier". The good things seem even better. I hope that made sense! [Smiles] I know all your art comes from the heart, and much of it strikes me as soulful and a little melancholy. But I also detect a wry humor in some of your pieces, particularly in the expressions of your pumpkins. Is this some of your natural good humor leaking out onto the page? Yes, I think so! I am a bit pessimistic (I think the worst) but I have a good sense of humor. I think art should be able to bring a smile to people’s faces. What is your take on music during creative process? I think music is fine but it also has an influence on what I am painting. I listen to various genres of music. Lately for me it has been NPR or Radiohead. Is there anything I haven't asked that you'd like to share with the readers? Anything you'd like to suggest to fellow artists and potential beginners? If making art is your passion, always make time for it. Where style is concerned, find one you are comfortable with and stay true to it. It will evolve naturally.
Personal & General…………………………………...Continued This time I want to ask about a specific work, 'The journey ' - there's not much information in the description, and it looks very mysterious to me, but I want to know if there's any story behind it or something you want to tell, where did it come from? This was a reworked painting. I really disliked the old one. The version you see here was done spurt of the moment, almost on a whim. I was whiting out the parts I did not like and thought "Oooh, clouds should be here". The rest sort of fell into place. Any artists you particularly admire and why? Whoa, there are a lot! I usually try to make a list of them on my journal. In high school Dali was king, in my later years of college Morris Graves I liked a lot. If you want to see the list, refer to my journal [The list is also featured below]. Christopher Cousins: [link] Molly Cliff-Hiltz: [link] Nicoletta Ceccoli: [link] Sterling Hundley [link] Mark English [link] Shaun Tan [link] Alexandre Day [link] Arthur Price [link] [link] Morris Graves [link]
Hines : [link] Vik Muniz: [link] Catia Chien :[link] Greg Spalenka [link] Catherine Hyde [link] Andy Kehoe [link] Calvin Nicholls [link] Harry Ally [link] Leonard Baskin [link]
The Journey Between, Fitts, 2009. The Journey, Fitts, 2008.
Medium, Technique & Supplies Related I see that most of your works are often acrylics/oil on wood or graphite/charcoal on paper. Are there any other mediums you enjoy working with or is there something perhaps that you work with but don't post on dA? I have done some printmaking and sculpture. I am currently exploring encaustics and image transfers. “Encaustic”, what it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encaustic_painting “Image Transfers”, brief intro: http://www.ebsqart.com/artMagazine/za_513.htm
Do you have any preferred brands/suppliers of paint & materials that you've found to work best with your style? Suppliers: Utrecht, Rome St. Gallery (local to me). Brands: Golden! and Utrecht. Conte, Rembrandt (pastels), Pitt. Golden! Acrylics: http://www.goldenpaints.com/ Utrecht acrylics: http://www.utrechtart.com/paints/acrylic-paint/ Conte & Derwent Charcoal: http://www.allartsupplies.com/article.php?sectionId=17 Rembrandt Pastels: http://www.dickblick.com/products/rembrandt-soft-pastel-sets/ Pitt Pastels: http://www.dickblick.com/products/faber-castell-pitt-pastel-pencil-sets/
What sort of things do you use for reference? I use the web, magazines, books in the bookstore and library, and life. I do extensive research. The way you use newspaper in your artwork is really beautiful. How do you manage to combine it to the different mediums and still achieve a tidy result? A good idea for collage is to have your subject sketched out. Then the paper can fill in, roughly. Using glazes helps to blend. Sometimes the paper is the beginning point for me. I'll glue the paper down and draw or paint around it. How long does a work take on average to complete? How much of it is research vs. the actual painting vs. post work/rework and revisions? I think research takes a majority of the time spent on a piece (70 %?). Each painting has its own length of time to complete. Some I can finish in hours to a day. Some paintings take a week. It depends on if I like what I am painting.
On Seth Fitts’ Style
Below you will find an exert taken from Sesfitt’s dA gallery description, which provides a more in depth look at one of the prominent aspects of Seth’s style and choice in subject matter: Source: http://sesfitts.deviantart.c om/gallery/#SurrealSymbolist-Work
Tree of Memory, Fitts, 2008 “I combined Surrealism and Symbolism into one folder due to the fact that they go hand and hand with each other. I discovered Surrealism early in my school years through the work of Salvador Dali. I was amazed at the level of technique and thought he possessed. I sat for long periods of time flipping through the pages of one of his books trying to decipher the symbols and their enigmatic meanings. It seemed natural for me to paint and draw in this genre with all the ideas and imaginings I would come up with. I was introduced to Symbolism during my late college years through my studies and the work of Morris Graves, Gustav Klimt, Odilon Redon, and other great artists. I was very interested in analyzing and deciphering the symbols in the many works I came across. During this time I also began purposefully employing my subject matter as symbols in relation to the meaning of my work as a whole. This included both sacred geometry and figurative forms, such as birds. Through my early surrealistic works to my later symbolist works I sort of found my niche. By looking at my work and comparing characteristics of each genre, I discovered that the two movements are closely related and can blur into each other with ease. I do not purposefully combine the two genres but merely let one bleed into the other from time to time. I carry on with what feels natural in my art making and what best portrays my thoughts, feelings, and ideas.” -Seth Fitts
Epiphanic Bird, Fitts, 2009.
Sources & Special Thanks Thank you immensely to Seth Fitts for finding the time to chat with the members of Traditional-Artists and answering all of our questions! We were so excited to meet you Thank you to all the deviants present at the Q&A session â€“ without your curiosity and enthusiasm, this wouldnâ€™t be possible. Thank you to Caelitha, BlueAlaris, NebulosaMentalis and MimozaBlooming for conducting the interview.
Disclaimer: All the opinions and artwork showcased in this article belong to Seth Fitts [http://sesfitts.deviantart.com/] and he retains all the rights. The stock photograph used in the background of this article belongs to MadameGrief-Stock and can be found here: http://madamgriefstock.deviantart.com/art/Texture-11-90822904 The write-up for this interview was compiled by MimozaBlooming [http://mimozablooming.deviantart.com/] and all questions and concerns should be noted to her account.
An informal Interview with Seth Fitts, one of the beloved artists who showcases his work on deviantart.com, among other places.
Published on Jan 28, 2010
An informal Interview with Seth Fitts, one of the beloved artists who showcases his work on deviantart.com, among other places.