Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mark Damrel

Name:  Mark Damrel

What do you do?
During the day I work in architecture.  I basically draw lines and solve complex problems with various computer programs.  At night I make a mess of my garage with paint, ink and wood dust.  I basically try to create art that I enjoy.

Where can we find your work?
Most of my artwork can be found in my garage, at Kaleid gallery, or on my flickr site.  My architectural work for various firms can be seen sprinkled around the bay area. 

What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough?
Everyday things inspire my work.  Traffic, road rage, bad food at lunch, work issues, home issues, having kids, and living in San Jose could be inspirations.  Drawing , or building stuff helps when things get tough.  Like, if I have a crappy day at work, art is an escape.  Although creativity is somewhat required in architecture the truth is about 15% of architecture work is creativity, and the other 85% is tedium and problem solving.  Art is like anti-work for me.

What do you think is more important content/finished product or technique/process?
For me the process is the most fun and therefore the most important.  The actual making of whatever is where the time flies and you learn and explore.  Finishing it means I’m done.  Content sometimes transforms based on the process.  I am loose with content.  Sometimes I have a solid idea that I want to see through a small series or something, but usually the meaning takes shape through time and layers.

Who are some people who influence and/or inspire you?
I’m inspired by my wife and kids, my extended family and friends.  In both fields I’m inspired by so much work that is happening right now around the world that it’s a hard question to simplify.

If you could be any fictional character who would you be?
Phileas Fogg, because I don’t travel nearly as much as I’d like to.

When do you get your best ideas?
Usually at night when unwinding.

What materials/tools do you use most to create your work?
Wood, glue, acrylic paint, ink, pencils, paper, matte medium, spray paint, watercolor, gouache, it’s all fair game.  I dabble in all but master in none.

Are you self taught or formally educated? How do you think that has influenced or affected your work?
I have a BFA in interior design from San Jose State.  In order to get that I took a few art classes like color theory and 2d design which I really enjoyed.  I’ve taken a couple semesters in architectural rendering, which was cool as well.  I learned some technique in those classes.  Most of the ways I use my supplies these days would probably make my past instructors cringe.  One of the biggest things I took away from school was to draw all the time, fill up sketch books.  I also sketch a lot at work to discuss ideas with coworkers. 

What would your creative work taste like?
Salty and crispy.

When you are not creating what do you like to do?
I like to relax with family, hang out at the park, read books to my little girls and eat way too much.

How did you learn to access your creative talents and gain the confidence to put it out there for everyone to experience?
I was working for a firm in San Francisco and at lunch I would walk around SOMA looking at buildings feeling inspired by a lot of the graffiti. I remember being at my desk after lunch one day sketching something for work and thinking – I’m going to start painting tonight. So I went home and pulled together my dusty art supplies to see what I had that wasn’t all dried out and made a list of what I needed.  Then I went to the art store to buy some new brushes and paint, and came home and started painting at night.  That was 2006, and I’ve been doing it semi-regularly ever since.  I don’t do graffiti by the way, but I love it and am inspired by it. I don’t do it because I’m scared of heights and have crappy can skills for now.

What advice would you give others just beginning their creative adventures?
Be yourself and make what you enjoy.