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  • Mackenzie Roberts

Interview with Sean Starwars

What inspired or influenced you to work in the art field?

When I first started skateboarding back in the mid 80's I was intrigued by two professional skaters that made their own graphics - Neil Blender, who's style of drawing really spoke to me and inspired me to want to start drawing, and Chris Miller who actually made linocuts for his board graphics, and that inspired me to to pursue Printmaking when I got to college.

What is a typical week like for you, and how do you fit studio time into that?

I have five kids and a wife so my time is divided between spending as much time with them as possible , and spending as much time in the studio as I need to. Sometimes , Ill have a lot of work to finish and no time for the family so I have them come to the studio and watch movies or play video games or draw so we can all be together.

What professional development opportunities have helped you support your practice?

I like to learn from other artists in terms of how they build their fan base, or reach out for other opportunities, you know, to see how people get to do certain projects, but that usually comes directly and not in the form of organized professional development.

If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?

I would say you have to learn to invest in yourself, don't be afraid to spend money on what you need to do what you want to do. I put off buying a press for far too long, until my wife made the logical observation that if I needed a press we should buy one, instead of trying to squeeze in after class at the local college or wherever. the other thing is to learn what it is you are trying to accomplish with your art and not lose focus on your goal, to assess the viability and progress of your path towards that goal . For instance: I spent too many years trying to be a good candidate for a university position which for me was wasted effort, when I should have been knocking on gallery doors and reaching out for commercial projects, that would allow me to do the kind of work I want to do, In the end I don't really want to spend my brain power coaxing students to make their best work, I have a lifetime of my own work I need to execute. So realizing that about myself sooner would have been beneficial.

Do you take time to make art for yourself, in-between art for clients or galleries?

Everything I make is for myself to one degree or another , I love carving the woodblocks, I almost don't even care what it is or who it is for. I'm going to enjoy it no matter what.

Do you listen to music or podcasts while you work on your art? If so, what kind?

I like a lot of music, like most people, but I love one band in particular : Guided by Voices, their front man Robert Pollard is one of the most prolific musicians in modern history, he has released over 100 albums in his lifetime. I learned my work ethic from his approach to creativity, I listen to Guided by Voices when I'm in the studio. my hundreds woodcuts have all been made while I was listening to Guided by Voices.

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