Q: Who are you and how would you describe your work?
I moved to California from Canada in 1991 on a whim but stayed. Working as a freelance illustrator for national publications until that was killed by the internet. Now the work seems to come from websites, nonprofits, university alumni magazines and the government. In 1997 I got started in silkscreen printing of art on a dare. It has proven to be both fulfilling and lucrative, but even more importantly a way of connecting with people I would not have met otherwise.
Q: What is a recurring theme you explore in your art?
My first print was of a Sea Lion, and I keep sketching new ideas for Sea Lion prints, but I censor myself and try to broaden my output so I can appeal to more than just my fellow Sea Lion junkies.
Q: If we were a fly on the wall, what would we find you doing at home?
Trying to catch you and release you outside – I don’t like to kill bugs just because they accidentally enter my house.
Q: A little known fact about yourself?
I can sew. I made my own backpack and have used it on many trips in the Sierra.
And I hate when gringos say “Sierras,” it’s already a plural, people!
Q: What excites you about either your poster, or the upcoming poster show?
This poster show is exciting because it is a type of event that has taken off in other cities and is much needed here in Santa Cruz. The current First Friday is typically skewed to older artists and the art is typically priced to high for younger people. This show is affordable.
Q: When you think of ‘a better place’, what do you think of?
At first I spent many hours trying to fit one of my typical art ideas to theme of this show, but eventually the illustrator in me took over, compelling me to address the theme “A better place” fully and directly. So I spent many more hours thinking about what it means, and came to the conclusion that the ultimate better place is in your mind. You can’t get to a better place with travel or buy achieving a material goal such as wealth or even a successful romantic relationship. If you are depressed (I am not referring to chronic medical depression, which is rare) and you travel to Paris you will cheer up but after a couple of weeks your depression will return because it is caused by negative thoughts. Shakespeare said, “there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Emotional management is something we learn, and some learn it sooner, some later or not at all. What it means is the ability to look at things that happen to us, things people say to us, and decide if we are going to feel bad about it, or good, or just not let it affect us. This is the filter in our heads through which all input passes. When we are young we don’t have good filters built up yet. I think we can all remember playing a board game, and a child would lose, then either toss the board, or go off and sulk for hours. It’s just a game! In the case of the sulking child, a negative event became a negative emotion, which leads to negative behavior, which then leads to more negative results. My piece is about changing our filter, so we are the master of our emotions, and we can arrive at a better place and stay longer.
Q: Where can we contact you and/or see some of your work?
Artisans on Pacific Ave. and dougrossfineart.com
Also I have a show in Nextspace till Christmas but you need to have security clearance to enter.