Lately I have become more comfortable as an artist that crosses between different media. A while ago, I showed some book covers I designed to a teacher. She looked up at me and said, “Oh, are you one of those ‘multi-media’ artists?” Something about how that term is perceived makes it sound kind of tacky and pretend. As I have gotten to know the work of artists such as Ai Weiwei, Yayoi Kusama and Robert Montgomery, I have learned this connotation is completely fake. All the art I create orbits around the theme of light, and however that manifests itself, I am content.
Below is an interview I conducted with Scott Hazard, an artist/landscape architect, that blends media into a final creation. His art is created with such precision and care that it vanishes any doubts I might have had about my own strange mixture of materials. Have a look for yourself:
In your most recent “Constructs” project, I am struck by the transformation of a photograph into something with a very real sense of depth. Why did you choose this medium?
My approach comes from an understanding of the world being composed of layers and layers of physical and mental constructs. I am very intrigued by the notion of looking at and through something at the same time, which is what I am working for in the photo constructs. I’m trying to create a space in the image that can enhance or add to the viewer’s understanding of the image itself. In addition, I work with (and romanticize) the idea that we can tear or punch a hole through a representation of reality, only to find another that we can also adjust.
What reactions have you had to this project?
Reactions lately have been very positive. I have recently been focusing on the more text-based works, but it’s exciting to see such positive reactions on the web lately to the photo-based work also.
What compelled you to make one “Construct” set of words, and another of pictures?
Both sets of work are coming from the same place – the desire to engage the viewer, draw them into the work and provide a physical space to explore or temporarily escape to. For the text-based pieces, I love the idea of reading in and through space. We sometims read the world much like we read text, as it is presented and often understood in bits of information.
Your work seems interdisciplinary across the board. I can clearly see your sculptural background in each of your pieces. Do you think your other past interests and backgrounds have a clear imprint on your work?
They have. I consider all of my work as sculpture, regardless of how it is presented. My background in landscape architecture informs my understanding of the landscape and of how we shape and build spaces. My background in sculpture utilizes this interest and understanding of landscape to articulate garden-like (sometimes very small) spaces in the pieces I construct.
When inspiration strikes, do you primarily think of a concept, and then the medium appropriate for it. Or vice-versa?
I want to say that the concept and medium usually arrive as an integral idea, but typically the concept is generated along with a rough outline of the medium to be used, and this is then developed through sketches and drawings.
What do you use as your workspace? Is it messy or clean?
I use a 10 foot by 18 foot shed as a wood shop and workspace area. I need to keep it as clean and organized as possible due to its small size, but when I am in the middle of a woodworking phase of work, it gets quite messy.
Tell me about where you grew up. What about it do you think affected the person you are today?
I grew up mainly in suburban parts of California. The diverse, dynamic and often rustic landscape in the areas around the neighborhoods I grew up in had a big impact on what I appreciate in the landscape now. Seeing these landscapes juxtaposed against the developed environments most of us live in had a big impact on my understanding of our place and role in the world.
When was the first time you dabbled in the arts, and what made you continue to do it?
Outside of some experiences when I was in grade school, most of my initial in exposure to art came when I was studying landscape architecture, studying drawing, and taking creative writing courses. I was drawn to art by its unlimited potential to articulate ideas through physical form and have a direct and intimate connection with the viewer.
Looking forward, do you have more projects coming up in the near future?
I do. There are many more text constructs in the works, varying in size from small wall-mounted pieces to installation oriented works. In addition, I will likely begin some photo oriented pieces in the next year or so.
Thank you, Scott! To see his past projects and keep up with his new work, please visit his website.