- Our Program
- Workshops + Events
- TAD Docs
Congratulations to this month's Student Spotlight, Benjamin Sack! One of TAD's Career Mentorship students, Benjamin works out of the TAD Pod in Richmond, VA, focusing on his fine arts career.
WEBSITE | bensack.tumblr.com
INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST:
1. What inspired you to be an artist?
Breathing and eating come pretty naturally to me but I get the most pleasure out of making art. What better way is there to live and be than by doing what you are most passionate about? As far as memory allows I remember being happiest when drawing the things, places and people that I love. However, what enthralled me the most were sandcastles. I distinctly remember buying from a gift shop in San Diego a postcard depicting the winners of a recent sandcastle competition. I drew and redrew the castles on that postcard hundreds of times. I owe my love of architecture and cities to that little postcard, unfortunately I no longer have it.
2. What are three things about art that you have learned in the past year at TAD which had the biggest impact on your work?
At TAD I am part of the Career Mentorship program in Richmond along with Allison Smith, Richie Pope, Leslie Herman and Aaron Riley under the tutelage of the incredible "Sir" Sterling Hundley, the altruistic Josh George and the insightful Jeff Love. Working in and being part of a studio with these truly fascinating, talented people is a constant learning experience that I must mention first. Being a part of an atmosphere where you can see how others tackle creative problems and create everyday new and inspiring pieces is a lesson beyond the description of words.
In this first semester of the career mentorship program I've been focused on rounding out and solidifying a portfolio of my cityscapes, an enjoyably tedious process. The idea for next semester is to recycle, reincorporate and experiment with parts of finished works to expand and create new pieces of a variety of content. I don't suppose I would have ever thought of recycling past past pieces and assimilate them into others, thank you TAD!
The career mentorship program also offers the opportunity for one to sit-in and watch on-demand any of the classes offered by TAD. The opportunity to sort of travel back time and refresh yourself on various techniques in painting and drawing is magnificent. So I guess I'm trying to say that in a way I've learned how to relearn, to never set myself in stone and to always remain open to new interpretations of various techniques.
3. Where do you want to be with your art and career after you finish TAD?
On the mountain of success, overlooking the world of opportunity.
Unfortunately I'm an inexperienced mountain climber and thus will stick to the ever turbulent sea that is art.
Right now in the career mentorship I'm carving out my goals for the near and far future. I hope to have work as an illustrator though I am much more driven by doing personal work and thus will be jubilant with a gallery career.
4. What is your most immediate goal you are trying to achieve with your artwork?
I've always been fascinated by "the big picture." The the grand idea of sublimity. All the artists who I admire have in their careers been able to capture this idea. An artist is one who creates worlds, for me I'm after the world of the sublime.
5. How important is experimentation in your process?
Up to this point I admit I haven't done an incredible amount of experimentation in the sense of blindly following a bold concept and seeing it to the end. Next semester though is dedicated to experimentation, to collage, to oils, to acrylics, to impulses ect.
6. What do you think the biggest hurdles are for you in your work in the next couple years?
Time, its the biggest hurdle and the most enjoyable concept. The cityscapes take a fair amount of time, some more than others, this allows me to become very intimate with my pieces and imbed in them personal meaning. My process is slower than most because of this I know I need to be open to and come up with new ways of creating and developing my work.
7. What is it like studying at TAD with all the professional faculty?
Its all right. Sterling is pretty good at making colorful picture things, Josh hardly finishes a piece and Jeff is messy. I kid, I kid!
They are wonderful, truly wonderful! To have around you accomplished, intelligent and amusing people is priceless. They are artists you can go to who have a vast history of professional experience who will help you as mentor and friend. Priceless.
8. What do you do when you are feeling creative blocks? How do you overcome them?
I'm happy to say I've never suffered from a creative block. I can also so I've never suffered from one when the situation is dire. I believe they do happen for some people but they are possible to get out of.
I believe if you base your art on idea that gives it and yourself meaning than you could never run into a block. For me, as mentioned above, my life and art is based on grasping "the big picture." My advice, I suppose, is to find an idea or belief that you find meaningful that allows you define yourself as a person and artist. Of course this "idea" is allowed to change and evolve as you yourself grow.
9. What are some things you do, to allow time and energy to focus so much on art?
When not drawing or painting, my mind is usually focused on something art related. I love history and art history and have combined them into a hobby for trivia. The act of being inspired is also something that I try pursuing just as frequently as drawing. What inspires me of course are the masterpieces and great minds in art, but also in history, science, film and music. When I'm inspired by something I want to understand it completely. In trying to learn as much as possible I feel I am nurturing a solid base for my art and for my life.
10. What advice would you have to other artists looking to grow in their work and skills?
Just starting in my career I feel embarrassed offering so much advice. Instead I recount a short little story that I often have in my mind.
There is a quote by an artist whose name I can't recollect. He was 75 when asked how long it took him to work on a recently finished painting. The curious questioner was expecting an answer ranging of a few hours. However the artist responded by answering 75 years.
More Student Spotlights