Monday, January 4, 2010

I found one of Arrik's works of art on Etsy and had to interview him, his work is rich with design and skill, I think you are going to really enjoy this interview so lets get started shall we ........

DM: What is your artistic medium?
AK: I like to work in several mediums... I began as a draftsman, became a painter, then picked up woodcarving and woodworking and I also dabble in art nude photography. Though I do more woodworking than anything else, I do still work in all of those mediums.

DM: Where can your art be seen?
AK: My work can be seen by appointment on display at my Workshop in Thompson, CT. I display art and craft in a local gallery and at crafts shows locally, I also look for shows to enter with specific pieces. I use DeviantArt as a networking and display space and you can find my work for sale at Etsy.

DM: When and how did you first become interested in your medium?
AK: With my box making, my interest was stoked when I bought a wood lot, a chain saw and a small sawmill. Initially I cut firewood and boards for building, I made a few furniture pieces and then I discovered how to carve with a chainsaw and use a table saw to cut box joints. I was hooked on both!

DM: Once you decided to pursue your art, how did you start off, trial and error, books, classes, videos, formal schooling?
AK: I was unsure of what I wanted to do.. so I went to art school because I could draw. Art school was fun but after I became a grad, I went to work in a corrections facility but I kept drawing, being a prison guard was not my dream job but it gave me the resources and stability to buy a woodlot. It was another ten years before I began to do serious art and craft and since then it has been a slow journey of trial and error. I have read a great deal and speak constantly to every one who gives a damn.. but the real lesson is hands on experiences.

DM: Out of what you tried, was there any particular thing that you would recommend to someone just starting out?
AK: If you are interested in box making.. I'd say that a table saw with a sliding table would be the best tool to start on. That tool literally changed my ideas of what a table saw can do. You must be fearless about trying things and realize you will make mistakes. With this you will find all the schooling you need, that and a little hands on experience. Your own feedback > if you survive, < is the best learning process. Little changes here and there will arise out of necessity and you are on your way. I would have to say that developing the ability to draw at least enough to convey an idea or work out details with small diagrams has been essential to my way of working.

DM: What do you enjoy most about working with your medium?
AK: Being creative.. in any medium, that is to actually 'make' things' with my hands and then to be able to enjoy it, looking at it , touching it, using it... new ideas always come out of that which feeds the desire to do more.

DM: What do you find the most frustrating?
AK: The most frustrating thing in woodworking is dealing with the noise and dust. Even sawing my thumb in half did not deter me but every day when I take the dust mask off I wonder if there are better ways... and there are, I'm just not there yet.

DM: Where do you find your inspirations for what you create?
AK: Looking around 'outside' creates desire in me, I look inside for my direction as to how to achieve what I desire. For example, I recently saw a two lidded box on Etsy, I was not in love with the look of it but I loved the idea. Knowing somewhat my own capabilities, I am now dreaming of the two lidded box I will make. I look at the wood I have available and the process moves forward driven almost entirely by desire. In a more general sense.

DM: Tell us a little about one of your favorite creations.
AK: Firewood torso is a small female nude torso carving, the latest in a series.. the form is no better than any of the others I have made but I just love that it is made of fire wood.

In the course of any day showing art I will have countless discussions about what it the best wood for this or that... which woods crack and why, and the truth is all wood is good wood. One wood expert >snob< after another will say 'Basswood" or 'mahogany' is best.. "Oh, i only carve walnut..." and often there will be a story... 'this wood was recycled old growth' or "it was from the amazon rain forest'. I recently 'learned' that' 'walnut won't crack'. Nonsense! All woods crack, it has to do with the way it is cut and dried!!

A very talented retired sculptor once took me aside and told me that if I use hot beeswax I can stop the checking in logs drying.. maybe but I don't believe it!

When I am cutting firewood it hardly matters which wood is best, what matters is to be efficient and not to be wasteful, if the wood has a crack it will burn even better. To take a piece of wood with no grandeur or provenance or pedigree, literally a chunk ready for burning and make something beautiful is high art in my mind. That is a meeting of the human spirit with the world around and if you don't worry about how 'good' your wood is and only about what you make of it then I feel the creativity is higher. Of course that is my personal view.. and to be fair.. I have 'special' chunks of wood all around me!

DM: Have you ever experienced artist block and how did you overcome it?
AK: Never... I have so many projects going that I'll simply switch if one becomes more pressing than another for any reason. I do sometimes have 'businessman's block' and that is trying to figure out how to make a little money. I overcome that by throwing steel spikes into a board until I realize... again.. that most artists are broke for a reason.

DM: What is the biggest mistake you have ever made as an artist? What did you learn from it?
AK: Maybe that was a carving called 'Emerging', it began life as 'Standing nude". It was a larger than life female nude figure.. the log I started with was about two feet thick and trying to rough it out with a saw involved several plunge cuts. That means that I basically stab the saw into the wood point first and pray. In this case one of the cuts between the legs didn't come out quite like I planned. I hemmed and hawed for days before I finally cut her legs right off. Her upper pose was of a woman holding her hair in a ponytail and that part came out very well. I renamed her and finished the carving.. the cut that halved her was dead flat so on a base she appeared to be emerging from water. It sold first time I showed it. What I learned was that I should remove a little more wood before I go for the plunge cuts.. and that almost any mistake can be fixed or used. I gave one of her cut off legs to someone who wanted to try to finish it.. the other was converted to BTUs.

DM: Would you please tell about your studio set-up?
AK: I have a pretty nice set up. The wood lot I picked up had a chicken coop on it, I tore it down and rebuilt a workshop on the old slab and foundation. I built it myself and used many unusual details and consider it to be one of my 'works'. One of my more useful ones. True, all I have is a wood stove to heat the barn like building.. no real sanitary facilities.. but I have lots of space under a good sound roof with my back up to a lovely wood lot. I'd almost rather be there than home!

DM: When is your favorite time to create?
AK: Anytime... particularly after a good nights sleep or just after meeting a deadline.. then I have a sense of playful freedom.

DM: What advise would you give someone starting out in this medium?
AK: Don't expect riches as an artist. Do expect a happier life.. even if you make do with less.

DM: Are there any artist that inspire you or that you admire?
AK: Too many to name. Rembrandt, Picasso, Degas were early inspirations because I felt they were drawing masters.

DM: Tell us a bit about yourself.
AK: I'm slowly trying to build my woodworking biz, I still do industrial design work and for fun I love to draw paint and carve. I am not expecting to make it big by wood working or art but I hope to make enough to allow me to work on fun things, where I am the only client.

DM: Anything else you wish to share?
AK: I have to say that without the support of family and friends it is doubtful I'd be as far along as I am.. Thanks to every one who has taken interest and offered support.

DM; Thank you again for taking the time to speak with our readers, your art is amazing and we wish you the very best for many years to come !

Till tomorow ... keep creating !
Tina aka Daily Muse


EyeDesire said...

Thanks for sharing great story Tina! Seems like Kim's art is strongly influenced by his heritage and I love his detail work on each piece. I enjoyed it very much and thanks again for introducing a great artist with us!

Your Daily Muse News said...

Your very welcome, he was a treat to interview, you could feel his passion for his art flowing from his written word !

amy said...

Arrik is so real! It's nice to know even the most experienced artist can "cut off a leg" every once in a while. It is always lovely to find out the years and years it has taken for someone to get where they are, and what it takes to feel "playful" with work. He's given me hope (I will not share my day job with you...but it's good to know Arrik has spent time as a prison guard!) and it was really terrific he could be so earnest about his life and work. FABULOUS work...very fluid, you'd never know it was wood! Amazing!Thanks Arrik! And thanks, Muse!

Cat said...

This is amazing!!
Such a pleasure to read this interview.

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