1. Welcome Terry to The Influx Gallery family. Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are from?
I am a 53 year old art director and graphic designer, originally from Houston, Texas, USA. I began my interest and involvement in art at an early age during primary school, and it took me through my studies at university and ultimately into the world of advertising as a day-job for over 25 years. Along the way, I have remained active in fine art to stay true to myself and stand apart from the commercial world of marketing.
2. Were your family supportive of you deciding to become an artist?
Overall, my parents were nominally supportive. I was given the opportunity to participate in extracurricular art courses in addition to those I attended in public school. They were not as convinced, perhaps, of a full-time career in graphic design but in the big picture they communicated their appreciation for my creativity and talent as best they knew how.
3. Was there anything specific that you can remember that made you want to become an artist?
I can’t put my finger on any one specific instance that influenced me to become an artist, as I have been involved with art in some form or fashion since I can remember. Once when I was small, around 4 years old, one of my parents had to stop the vehicle short to avoid an accident and I came forward in the truck and hit my head hard on the windshield. I joked later that if it weren’t for that I might have become a doctor, a lawyer, a president…but thanks to the impact, I became an artist. All in good fun.
4. Did your schooling or work affect your creative development in any way?
It could be said to be the reverse in terms of work. In the linear world of graphic design, I almost always find myself drawing on my fine art, with its more substantial creative and organic background, to interject elements, color, balance etc that might not be standard issue marketing practice. In terms of schooling – while I received a classical education in artistic theories, techniques, applications and methods, the best thing I ever did for myself in terms of growth was to forget everything I ever learned and go with what I liked – painting and drawing for myself. I am my hardest critic most of the time, so if I am satisfied that a piece resonates with me (they are rarely truly finished in my mind) then I am good to put it out there – critics and critiques be damned.
5. When did you first discover digital art?
The very first time was around Christmas season of, perhaps, 1985? My neighbourhood friend had received an early model Macintosh and I promptly booted him off and began to experiment with the rudimentary drawing application that it had at the time. I began a design career in 1994 so it was around that time that I began to transpose the ideas that I had typically worked out on canvas, to the digital realm.
6. Are you very hands on with the processing of digital files?
I am. Most of the time my pieces are a combination of collage technique utilizing “found” objects on the internet, AI textures or portraits, hand drawn illustrations using a stylus and tablet and a plethora of apps which I use to put the elements through a rigorous dissolution and restructuring – resulting in a final cohesive piece.
7. You are a strong presence in the exciting new world of NFT’s. Could you give us a little insight into this world?
I may not have a love-hate relationship with the NFT world, but perhaps it is more accurate to say a love-bemused one? For myself, I am not out to create multi-million-dollar ape fads, shill people until my Twitter account bleeds, or cry the Crypto-future advantages. I’m connected to enough people smarter than me on this issue to understand, thanks to their input, the smoke and mirrors aspect of some of this. However, I am not nay-saying. I appreciate NFTs as a viable way to add provenance to digital art which heretofore had not existed in an effective way. And I do enjoy the community, the growth of online VR galleries and exhibitions, and a way to offer digital editions, as well as collecting and supporting the artists that I come across. I would like to see the NFT world put much more emphasis on true fine artists working with one-one unique pieces, which would bring the environment to a mature sustainability in my opinion. Additionally, I think it is important to both participate and seek out artists on the less-than-prime-time contracts rather than those that the media extolls, as that is where you are going to find the most interesting and cutting-edge thinkers and doers. And do your research. It goes without saying if you truly want to curate or collect, reach out and engage the artists themselves, ask questions, have discourse. Anyone with a working debit card can flip pngs and jpegs, that’s not anything noteworthy in my opinion.
8. Could you give us a little teaser as to the processes that helps you create such fabulous artworks?
Primarily I am working on an Apple tablet with a cornucopia of apps, which include Procreate among many others. Depending on my mood or objectives is whether I am working in a flat, more traditional 2D space, or if I am engaged in animated gifs, or perhaps working with some 3D elements. Most of my work to date has been in a more traditional space, but I also work with various applications in VR with my Oculus Quest 2
9. Where do you get your inspiration and influences from?
Predominantly I pick up on my surrounding cultural and societal cues. I am also a lover of history and anthropology, especially focusing on shamanic practices, myth, folklore, and ritual. I have a fascination with where we have all collectively come from, and where we could be going. There are a lot of Terence McKenna listening hours in there somewhere. Politics. Religion. All the devices of society control and some of the more humorous aspects of our nature as primates who got lucky with opposable thumbs, pants, and cell phones – it all gets tossed in for consideration.
10. Do you have any tips for any inspiring digital artist/photographer who is using software, or picking up a camera for the first time?
Play with it until you break it. Then start over and break it again. Any app, any platform, any method that assists you in getting your vision and message into a form where we can experience the ride too is viable. Don’t spend too long alone or isolated in your practice but talk with and collaborate with other creatives who are practicing different techniques so that you become the sum of the parts and can relate on a broader level. Study and read about the examples of people who came before you, Char Davies’ VR experiences come to mind, and look for ways to do what is not being done, on whatever level you are at. Sometimes we break barriers in big leaps, and sometimes it’s taking a chip out of the wall, one piece at a time.
11. Your use of colour combined with surreal futurism is unique and extremely visually arresting. Is your methodology whilst creating this fantastic art?
I try not to adhere too closely to a methodology in the traditional sense. Because, you know, if you see the Buddha in the road, you’re supposed to kill him, right? That kind of thinking. No sacred methods but just playing, pushing, spending hours building up and then perhaps seconds to delete if it feels too forced or if I have stared at it for 20 minutes straight and it just doesn’t get me to say “yeah, bad ass.” Or at the very least “I’d put that on MY wall.” In general, I do tend to take something I’ve seen or heard, a quick image, meme, overheard conversation, or sound byte, and try to think what I could do that might make a springboard for someone to create their own story. In terms of the future…I think we are in many senses headed into a sort of future-past. I’ll let the readers go down their own rabbit holes on that one.
12. Thanks a lot for your valuable time and interest. You can include any other details you want to talk about here?
In all of my work, I am trying to create images and experiences that don’t shout about my own views or visions as much as act as inspirations and inspire people to wonder, question, and form their own narratives based on my orchestration of color, form, and content. The ideas and accounts that I have heard people tell me about my work are better than anything I can create myself and are just as deserving to be hung on a gallery wall, minted, experienced, etc. I do all of this as a way to connect and in doing so – perhaps effect some kind of change even if only for a moment it is to get you to wonder – what else is there? Where does that go? Or most importantly I suppose, who are we–really– and what are we doing to each other?