Posted by: groundsforsculpture | October 14, 2010

Part 2 of interview with Artist in Residence Eric Shultz

This week, found-object artist Eric Schultz will be in residence creating a humanoid sculpture in his own unique, comical style repurposing and recycling items used in our everyday lives. The residence will take place October 11-15 and October 18-22 from 10 am – 4 pm.

 Posted here is part 2 of a 3 part interview by Ruthann Perry, volunteer docent.
Interview with Eric Schultz
By Ruthann Perry, Docent
August 23 and September 7, 2010

On a second day, Tuesday, September 7, I record our interview. It centers on Eric’s work, his background, and includes some silly Q & A’s.

OK. Eric – How many of your own pieces do you work on at a time?
Usually about two. I can’t really handle that much detail for more than two. The full plan, you know, the drawings and everything.

Oh, do you do drawings for everything?
Usually for structure I do. Not at the end. But for structure I do. The skeleton.

What’s your opinion about artistic ability – innate or learned? Or both?PART 2

I think it’s both. I think some people definitely see things differently than others. The way I really proved that for myself was when I taught kids recycling at a Museum class. I’d get thirty kids at a time – and five of those kids would be innately good at it and everyone else copied them. I think you can learn to be an artist. But really good artists just see that way.

Were you an easy kid?
Yeah, actually I was. I was pretty self-sufficient. My Mom would give me something to take apart and leave me alone for about an hour and she’d come back and check on me and I’d hand it back to her with a few pieces leftover…That was pretty much what my life was like. .but I was an easy kid. My sisters were way worse (giggle).

How many kids in your family?
A younger brother and three sisters.

Are there any other artists in that group?
None. My Dad can do schematic drawings but the rest are musicians, mostly. Couldn’t do art.

Well that uses the same side of the brain…
What was your education and was it relevant?
I did. I studied art. Relevant? I don’t know. It cost a lot.

Where’d you go?
Tyler, part of Temple. When it was out in the country. What I got out of it – Technique, I learned to weld; to hone my skill, to focus on one thing at a time. I really was a general artist before that. I tried everything. Anything I could do, I tried it.

Well that’s what college is so fun for, isn’t it? A chance to try everything…narrow it down a little…try it all.
Well, yeah, and availability of tools, equipment. Networking. People still send me things. Profs still send me boxes of random stuff. That’s really what I took from it. As far as the conceptual stuff, I enjoyed it, talking about it, but I’m not that type of artist.

Is this your first show at GFS?
Yes. This will be the first that I have here. I do lots of other things here but this will be my first show.

Who is your best audience – adults or children?
Depending on the adult, they’re one and the same thing. Both. Adults like my work for one reason, children for others. They both appreciate what I make.

Do you have a favorite piece of sculpture of all the ones you’ve created?
Yeah, I do, and unfortunately I sold it. To this day it bothers me I sold it because I can never make the same thing again. It was called “Effort” – it was a little duck on a huge egg. The look on his little face was like “Whooooah, thank god. Whoo, got that over with. Can’t believe I’ve finished that.” It was the last part of a series of sixteen in one month. It was the closest I’ve ever come to expressing an emotion in a piece. I near killed myself doing those. Everyone who looked at it had that same reaction, “I have felt like that!”

It’s like giving birth. It’s exactly what we’re talkin’ about.
It was very similar. It was a month’s worth of labor of another kind.

Have you ever had a piece that wouldn’t work?
I’ve had ones over the years, but with my work it can turn into something else, or come together years later… If it’s really fighting me I’ll realize it pretty quick and start taking it apart.
That’s why I like working on several at once – because of that. When I get frustrated if one’s not working, I need to stop. Then I can channel the energy right away into another project.
Completing things is the hardest. Knowing when you’re done is really hard. And then the ones I call the “divine intervention” ones. The ones you’ve got an idea and it’s perfect and you think how did that happen? You look back and think how did I do that?

Those are amazing. Occasional gifts from the gods.
What movement in art would say is your favorite?
I have no idea. There are many that I find equally interesting I can’t honestly say that one is more. Definitely more toward modern. Modern is appealing to me. The materials, the lines.

Whose work do you like right now?
Most of the people I like are gone – not now people at all – Jean Tinguely – meta-matics, robots, drawings. I really felt an akinness to that guy. His movements work for me. Calder, I very much like. Classical artist, Rodin. Some of his stuff that I’ve seen in person really made me teary. Unbelievable attention to detail. Way past where I’ll ever get. Light years.
It’s a matter of vision at the beginning. Seeing a block and knowing what’s in there. See someone lying down inside of it. Something I’ll never achieve.

What are your Technical Challenges?
Organization and maintaining all of this stuff. I really opened the floodgates here (with this project). You can see this studio.

You look organized!
It is for me – I’ve had help. They helped me separate. And without help I’d be neck deep in here.



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