Isaac The Artist – Redux
There’s good things that can happen when I like you and I’m fascinated by you. In this case, it’s a second visit with my friend, the artist Isaac Bidwell, whom I interviewed not only above but did a different interview on my other blog and then mentioned because of an art show he produced locally that I went to. I’m fascinated by the local art scene and it works out that I get to see some of what Isaac’s involved in, whether it’s his art or not. So, let’s learn more about the Syracuse and central New York ark scene:
Extremely hectic. I have 3-4 galleries in California that I show with regularly, another in New York City and a few other ones throughout the states I show with from time to time.
2. These days you’re helping to promote the art of others. How did that come about?
About 8-10 years ago I was in an Oswego art collective called Hat Factory. We were all about getting artists’ artwork out to the locals. After a few years of that (as well as sitting on the board of directors of an art assoc.) I realized I needed to do things on my own, not necessarily as a group effort.
After playing around with some ideas, I decided to publish handmade art books. I realized that a majority of the artists I was encountering were very lazy and unfocussed. So I started publishing artists from other countries. For the size of the project, things went well. Since then, then books have featured many emerging international artists and some that are way beyond in all aspects of their careers. I’m actually working on a horror book, showcasing the best horror artists in the world. It’s extremely flattering getting artists to work with me, especially ones that have careers I’ve followed for some time.
The other thing I do now, which I’m assuming brought this question on, is curate again. I’ve had to look hard, but there’s some really great local artists, ranging from novice to expert. I organized an art show about every three months at Tymeless Tattoo. As more galleries close in the city (all my favorites are now closed), it’s great to have a place that gives me total freedom to show when and whom I want. The artists are here, now it’s just getting the community to appreciate them.
3. Tattoos; I have to admit that it’s probably only in the last 5 years or so that I’ve come to grips with it being kind of a natural thing, not having grown up around it. Can you understand how some of us older folks might wonder why gorgeous women might get tattoos and why it sometimes takes a long time to get used to it?
Not really, I don’t understand the disconnect. It’s a way of expressing yourself through what’s on your body. Unfortunately sometimes it’s a $50 tattoo, then I wonder why gorgeous woman have those tattoos…
But in all seriousness, tattooing has come a long way. The machines are better, the ink is better, and frankly the artists (depending on where you go) are better.
4. I know you’ve sponsored art shows with only paintings and such, but have you ever considered sponsoring an art show of pictures of tattoos?
We’ve joked around about doing something like that at the shop. Our next show will be old school flash, so that will be pretty close.
(Tattoo flash is the artwork seen in tattoo shops. It helps customers pick what they would like on them. While there is no tattoo flash as Tymeless, many of the artists, will draw in an old style (old school).
I’ve messed around with art that allows me to draw faster. I do a lot more sketch work than before. I also have been doing lots of art shows with themes, such as Walking Dead, Wes Anderson and Saturday morning Cartoons. That can effect how and what I draw.
6. Is there an art scene in central New York where artists get together to appreciate each others work and talk about the craft?
There now is actually. I’m organizing a drink and draw. A drink and draw is a social meeting, where artists can meet up at a pub with their sketchbooks and sit back with a pint. It’s a great way to interact with each other as well as be seen in the public.
I’m big into reminding the city that we’re here. Syracuse, like many other smaller cities, is not very art friendly. Now that I have a studio here, I plan on doing my best to change that.
7. Are you only drawn to modern art or are there artists in history whose work you appreciate? Have you ever tried to emulate any of them?
I had a show a few months ago out in Long Beach that had the theme of just that. We took older classic works, and drew them in our style. I picked Klimt, please Google him if you’re unfamiliar with the work, it’s outstanding.
I’m not sure if I understand what you’re asking, so I’ll put it this way…
Personally when I talk to artists I look at it this way, is it a hobby or do they want it as a career? Most say career, but they get uppity when you start to talk about business. If you hate business or can’t do it, and are beginning in this field, either learn it or get out of it. There’s so much more to this than creating pretty pictures or placing “what you feel” onto the canvas.
You have marketing, goal setting, networking, financing and on and on. This is something 99% of the art schools don’t teach you. Everyone that goes to school for Art, should have to take a business class. Not an “Art” business class, but a real one.
In about another year, I plan on doing art talks about just that… the real “Art” world. Not the fantasy. There’s a reason why the successful artists I know has it together. This notion of the care free, unorganized artist is a joke. You will not succeed with out some sort of business foundation.
Well, I’ve been calling October my hell month for a plethora of reasons. I’ll be in 3 art shows that will be my biggest (most popular) of the year, all that month. I’ll be in Gallery 1988’s Crazy for Cult (dubbed the Super Bowl of pop art), Spoke Art’s Wes Anderson’s Bad Dad’s 4 and AMC’s The Walking Dead.
I’ll be hustling my artwork at craft fairs, comic cons, and horror shows around then too…plus I want to have my horror book in print by then… and I’m supposed to be a featured artists at this new venue called Dichotomy, out in Rochester.
As for my own projects, I purchased a screen printing business and will be creating a clothing line as well as toys. Over the winter I plan on doing art talks at various venues, like colleges and galleries.
10. I notice I didn’t get my invite to that big fancy opening with the “pretty people”; will you make sure I’m on the next one?
I’ll tell ya Mitch, a few months ago I was in NYC for a Scorsese tribute art show. It had a couple thousand of New York’s hottest. What a great experience. I had passes, I could have gotten you in. You’ll be VIP for the next one sir.