Alan F. Stacy [koren]
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
I am multi-tasking overachiever; I have a multitude of interests and self-generated projects too numerous to mention. Currently I make my living doing book illustrations for children's fiction and non-fiction titles. I also do costume design and manufacture for films, theatre, TV, etc., makeup effects for same. Also a cartoonist, animator, computer graphics artist, sculptor, prop maker...
What is your message?
There is no such thing as the impossible; you can create and achieve whatever you dream and imagine but you have to be willing to put your whole heart and mind to the task. To consider yourself limited in any realm is a false assumption.
Your biography in four lines.
Air Force brat, only child who traveled the world before the age of 12. I had wonderful, intelligent loving parents who taught me just about everything I needed to know about life, who were proud of what I accomplished. Still trying to find myself and figure out what I want to do when I grow up.
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where could we see it?
Website in progress: www.alanfstacy.com; art samples at www.creativeshake.com/alanfstacy; www.sleepingbearpress.com; www.pelicanpub.com
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
Observation of life. Most of my ideas come to me usually unbidden but also inspired through reading, music, media.
What role does technology play in your creative process?
I started my career as a cartoonist and graphic artist for a training program and progressed from that to a career in broadcast television news as a computer graphics artist and animator. As opposed to when I began a smaller percentage of my works are realized through computer graphics programs but all initial sketchwork and ideas are put down on paper first and then scanned into a computer for finishing.
What is art?
Art is the communication of the artist's vision, his or her unique point of view of some idea, emotion, event...
When do you get your best ideas?
Late at night drifting off to sleep, reading or driving in the car.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
I don't exercise a value judgement on my work until it is realized as a fully "finished" work. I very rarely seek outside input on a work's validity (except in the publishing industry where it is unavoidable). I have loads of notes and sketches that will be distilled into one thought or image, all along a path leading to a conclusion. I used to be very hyper-critical of my own work and can be that way still if venturing into new territory.
Three creative ideas that you would have liked to have created?
I would have like to have been as prolific and insightful as Leonardo da Vinci.
I would like to write music like Mozart.
I would like to have created the Tapestries of the Hunt of the Unicorn (In the Met Museum Cloisters; Flemish, c. 1490).
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
From the age of 6 when all my classmates would "oo" and "ah" over my drawings.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
Impatience. It is the nature of the creative mind to be dissatisfied with one's efforts at various stages in their career; sort of an inherent need to push the limits of one's abilities and grow so that the work doesn't become stale. The mind's vision often outstrips the physical achievement.
Do you consider yourself postmodern?
How should a work of art be evaluated?
On the emotional response it garners through subject matter, layout, color. size and venue. Also, perceived relevance.
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
No but it refreshing/frustrating to try...
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
Leonardo da Vinci, Durer, Holbein, van Eyck, Abraham Bosse, Jacques Callot, Vermeer; cave painters; stained glass artists of the Middle Ages; Gothic and Medieval manuscript illuminators; 18th century artists such a Boucher, Nattier; the impressionists; N.C. Wyeth, Blake, Rackham, Dulac and so on. Modern book illustrators of sci-fi and fantasy such as Michael Whelan, Keith Parkinson, Stephen Hickman, Keith Birdsong (who described his method in two minutes that completely revolutionized my painting technique) and hosts of children's book illustrators too numerous to mention. Probably all of the above for their portrayals of subject matter, use of light and color. I have gained more insight on the working mindset from the writings as well of the art from da Vinci and Durer (who was self-aware of his own artistic melancholy).
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
Is art necessary?
Art, like music. is as essential as breathing and eating, perhaps even more so.
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
Yes, incredibly hard to do.
Is a work of art purchased, or is it better said, that it is the artist who is bought?
In the film "The Agony and the Ecstacy" starring Charleton Heston who plays Michaelangelo, the actor playing Raphael has a line: "we are like harlots peddling beauty at the doorsteps of the mighty." Read whatever you want into that.
In art, there is no guide. How do you know what the next step is?
Instinct and experience
How do you feel about the fact that the pieces exhibited in contemporary art museums are often of artists already deceased?
Reputation created through writings, legend, exhibitions, books, films and so on. On one hand, I think that museums are constantly having to play "catch-up" and also are trying to follow current trends, not wanting to look foolish by displaying works by someone whom the public or critics might ultimately reject as untenable or uninteresting. From knowing some people who have worked for museums it often comes down to their own tastes and interests when it comes to purchasing works. Ultimately they answer to a board of members and directors. I was recently asked by someone who was a member of a voting board about what I would like to see in a certain modern museum's collection and I said without hesitation: "sculpture".
What role have the figures of art dealer, gallery owners, representatives, and intermediaries in general played in your career?
Very little to almost none
What types of jobs do you usually do?
Illustrations for books, brochures; costumes for theater, films, video; sculpting, makeup design and costume fabrication for same; teaching of commercial art, cartooning and graphic novel creation/storytelling; storyboarding for print, film, video. Creative consultant and art direction for all of above.
Which of your jobs or tasks do you most enjoy?
All of them, especially if the time and monetary constraints are not too severe.
Do you personally collect any items?
Historic prints; limited edition prints of other artists' works that I admire; sculpture in various media.
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
Practice, don't give up, learn, read, study, draw your brains out 8 hours a day until your fingers are numb, be open to new ideas and techniques don't be afraid to try something new, practice, daydream, go to museums on a regular basis, look at artist's websites...take one particular story that you are fond of and sum it all up in one painting; do at least one major painting a year (from "Artist's Market"). Find out how one particular artist you admire started his or her career. Make a list or a quick scribbled note, of something you would like to do a drawing or painting of.
Alan F. Stacy