Seth Apter is a mixed media artist and author living in NYC. I have been hearing about Seth for a few years because of his successful blog, The Altered Page, and the community he has built around it. I reviewed his book, The Pulse of Mixed Media, on Tuesday. He has interviewed and surveyed hundreds of artists for his blog and book, but today I am interviewing him.
What do you see when you look out your studio/office window? How does this view influence your work?
My studio is in my home on the 29th floor of a building in New York City. Not only can I see the sky (which may seem like nothing special to most people but is not a given in an NYC apartment) but I also have a panoramic view of the city: a little gritty in the light and sparkling with lights at night.
Morning drink of choice?
Favorite meal of the day?
Snacks. They are the only “meal” that happens more than once a day!
What keeps your creative juices flowing?
Creating keeps my creative juices flowing. My favorite slogan of all time is Nike’s “Just Do It.” The action of working on a piece of art, making things, even organizing my mixed media stash, gets me going and provides fuel for the creative fire.
What are some of your goals and dreams for the the future?
This may seem like a strange answer for an artist but my goal for the future is to make art. I say that because the creative path that I have chosen for myself includes so many components: blogging and keeping up with other social media, teaching, writing, publishing, collaborating, etc. The further I walk this path, the less time I have to actually create. So my dream right now is to continue in all these directions while also having the time to just make art.
In your book, The Pulse of Mixed Media, you interviewed over 100 mixed media artists. What is the biggest (or a few of the most significant) thing(s) you took away from interviewing so many artists?
Perhaps the most significant thing I learned was that despite working in different art mediums and coming from different locations around the world, and regardless of gender, age and years of experience, there were far more commonalities than differences among the participants in my book. The specifics vary but many of the participants seek respect and validation as artists, have dealt with challenging or even traumatic events in their lives, are highly opinionated and have a lot to say, have creative “quirks” that make them unique, and are willing to be open, honest, and vulnerable – at least as far as the book goes.
Why mixed media?
Mixed media allows me the creative freedom to use any and all materials to say what I want and need to say in my art. There are no limits!
Tell us a little bit about your own work and your own preferences in working with mixed media.
I work in a variety of mediums and feel good about the fact that my artwork takes different directions. I often use paper as my basic substrate but have recently created mostly on wood panels. I make artist books. I create assemblages. I like to use found objects. My favorite works combine more than one of these approaches. That being said I think that the common thread that runs through all these media is dimension, layers and texture.
Since you have been “taking the pulse” of mixed media art and artists, do you think you can predict the future of mixed media? Where is it headed?
This is really a tough question to answer…and it just may be a question that I will include in the next version of The Pulse – with your permission of course! But rather than cop out and not respond at all, I will say that in the short run I think we will continue to see an increase in the use of digital components in mixed media and in the long run, there will be a backlash against this and people will “re-discover” creating completely by hand.
How would you define success for an artist in the 21st century?
To me, the successful artist in the 21st century will be an artist who can master the delicate balance of feeding their need/desire to create in their studio with the necessity of creating an ever-growing online presence.