We're very excited to be introducing William Buzzell and interviewing him for todays Journal entry. Prabal is a huge fan of William's work and as a young, new artist in New York he has some very interesting opinions on the modern art scene and culture. Buzzell is known for highly detailed and painstakenly precisely rendered paintings, he was born in Providence, Rhode Island and attended Parsons The New School of Design. His first Solo Show was ‘Class Action’ in 2008. He showed at Giant Robot Gallery Manhattan, NY.
William is currently exhibiting at:
Bright Lyons 383 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217 www.brightlyons.com
Cooper Cole Gallery 1161 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M6J 1X3 www.coopercolegallery.com
1) How long have you and Prabal known each other – do you remember your first meeting?
I met Prabal in 1999 as a freshman at Parsons when we were both living at the Loeb Hall dorms on 12th Street. He was close friends with my then girlfriend so we ended up spending a good deal of time together. I don't recall the first time we met but I vividly remember him talking about a television show called Sex and the City, which I had never heard of.
2) What would you say your work was about? What inspires you?
Learning inspires me. I research things that I don't know much about. Inevitably there is some aspect of any subject, whether it be real estate or cloud formations that catches my interest and I center a piece of art around it. Its kind of the painting version of a book report. Every piece should be a new challenge.
3) Who are your role models? Who are your influencers?
I look up to people who innovate and try to move things forward in whatever their chosen field. Currently I've really been influenced by graphic designers like Paul Rand and Massimo Vignelli. I can relate to the problems graphic designers face in trying to organize information in a clear but visually stimulating manner.
4) What has been the most exciting point of your career so far?
It's exciting every time I start a painting and every time I finish a painting. The middle part is when it gets tricky. Besides the initial research, there is a lot of intricate detail in my work, so the act of painting is a very slow and tedious process for me.
5) Which is your favorite medium to work in and why?
I'm partial to house paint and wood. I cut my teeth doing street art. I would do paintings on scrap wood and metal and use chains and bolts to affix them onto fences and sign poles. I liked the weight and feel of the heavy duty materials I was using so I guess that carried on into my gallery work.
6) What is your opinion of the contemporary art scene in New York?
When I was choosing colleges the only criteria I had was that it be in New York so I know full well the allure it has for creative types. As an 18 year old I really only focused on the New York cultural landscape but I've since lived in other cities and seen how much amazing work is being produced elsewhere. Now I'm less tuned into just the New York art scene and more tuned into art, regardless of where its from or where its shown.
7) How do you balance the convergence of art and commerce? Do you feel commercial pressures take away from creativity?
I wrestle with this all the time. I want to sell every painting I make, but I don't want to make a painting with the sole purpose of making a sale. I make work based on very specific topics that I think are worthwhile but it doesn't guarantee that someone else cares about it enough to want to hang it over their couch. I try to avoid having the marketing of the art influence the making of the art.
8) Social Media has become rampant in most industries, and though it can seem like the antithesis of organic, creative expression there is a regardless a rise of digital art dealerships - like artsy.com – that suggest the art world is also becoming caught up. How do you feel about the art world embracing digital media? Do you as an artist place importance on creating a strong digital media identity?
Its been strange trying to navigate a way to represent myself and my artwork online in a way that maintains a sense of integrity. In the early 2000s none of the artists I looked up to had websites and it seemed kind of gauche for an artist to promote their work online. In the intervening years I'm gotten to think of an artists' website less as a commercial to encourage a sale and more as a tool for archiving work. I like to be able to see all of an artists work together in one spot and not have to sift through a Google image search.
9) What are you working on right now?
I'm finishing up a larger painting focused on the Fédération française de la couture. It should be really interesting. I'm excited.
10) What do your hope your journey will be over the next 10 years?
I plan to keep working and improving and continue getting inspired. I'd like to be in this for the long haul.