Thursday, August 7, 2008

Interview: Tyson Skross

This is the first in a planned series of talks with some of my favorite artists that exhibit here, Annarella Home.

I'm always interested in what experiences an artist has had and how that influences them. And the process - how they do what they do; why they do what they do. I hope all of you will enjoy this interview with Tyson Skross and find some insight into the artist's mind.

Tyson Skross - In 1988 Tyson and his family moved from suburban Texas to Geneva, Switzerland. At age 18 he returned to the United States to attend MICA, Maryland Institute College of Art, where he received his BFA in painting. His work is heavily influenced by his childhood experiences in that simultaneously sorrowful and optimistic European city as it is by his contemporary American lifestyle. Although his paintings most often depict buildings, he insists he paints places, not things.

Tell us what place art had in your childhood. I always remember drawing and painting, what stands out for me the most was frustration with not being able to get it right (color inside the lines, to draw what I imagined, to get the prespective right, etc) and eventually getting it right and the sense of accomplishment that comes with it.

How valuable was your formal education and training? My schooling was invaluable. But (and I almost hate to say this knowing how much was spent on my college education!!) I think my most valuable education came before (with art mentor and teacher, Janis Pozzi-Johnson) and after, simply learning what it means to be an artist in everyday life and how to continue that practice. Not that MICA wasn't important. It was, maybe its just that it was so much all at once (not just educationally but also in terms of culture shock and learning where I fit in in terms of my work.)

Can you label your style? No, I can't and even if I could I would rather not. It is difficult to identify stylistic trends in the contemporary professional environment, much less to place myself inside that environment.

Tell us a little about your process. What inspires you? Process is a mystery to me. There are days when I love being in the studio and would rather do nothing else, and others when I practically have to chain myself to my palette table to get anything done. As far as inspiration goes the sources are too numerous and varied to list. I will say that the older I get the more I understand the importance of routine and how a good routine helps keep a healthy balance in life. For me it is mostly experiences outside of the realm of art and the studio that I find inspiring; and it goes both ways, without a good studio regimen I find myself closed to the world around me, unable to find inspiration anywhere and vice versa. I will also say that I have been finding it useful to do a little reading and writing a few pages (about anything) before I get started painting in the morning.

What do you hope the viewers experience in your art? My greatest hope is to spark the imagination of the viewer. The art that inspires me does that. Whether it is writing, painting or film my favorites all share that quality.

Do you listen to music when you work? Who or what? Usually yes, and it really depends on my mood. I've been listening to KCSM (a jazz station in the Bay Area.) in the morning to get started, but after that it's anybody's guess.

Any favorite books, movies or TV you enjoy for relaxation or inspiration? I just finished reading "What I Talk about When I Talk about Running" by Haruki Murakami. And especially as an artist I found what he had to say very informative and inspiring. It has even made me think about taking up running again.

Thank you Tyson for taking the time to answer my questions.


(A disclaimer: Tyson Skross is my son - a fact that in no way should be held against him. I thank him for being my guinea pig as I develop questions for this continuing feature on my blog.)

1 comment:

Laurel Daniel said...

I loved reading this Q&A - it is so interesting to hear about an artist's process and what motivates them. Not to mention that Tyson's work is fabulous.