Dave Roman - Featured Artist for January 2011

Which artistic media do you prefer to work in and why?

Photography. For purely practical reasons really. I can't paint. (Or, at least I haven't tried yet)

With which past or contemporary artists or artworks do you, as an artist, feel a connection? What is it that draws you to them?

I bow to Ruth Bernard for her playfulness and ingenuity; Ansel Adams for his technique; John Constable and Jan Vermeer for their use of light; W. Eugene Smith, Francis Bacon, Marc Chagall and Lucian Freud for their ability to capture emotion in their work, and Rodney Graham for being so darned multi-talented and funny.

Which particular processes or techniques of art-making interest you now?

I shoot 4”x5” film and finish digitally. Getting out with my camera has always felt like the best part of the process but I have to acknowledge that a lot of the “art” happens when I'm on the computer. Recently the process of researching and defining a project has become the most interesting part.

What particular challenges in art-making do you face at this time?

Access to high quality equipment. Film scanning and printing are outrageously expensive.

What in your artistic training do you value most in your work at this time?

The best advice I've received recently was about developing a business plan for my art practice. Chris Tyrell runs a course at Emily Carr University teaching the realities of making a living as an artist (or not). It's fantastic food for thought and a great motivator for your art as well.

How much of a role do accident and control play in your work?

Accidents often play a part in discovering the direction I take on a broad theme but once I'm committed I'm very controlled. Knowing when each plays its role is the trick.

What are some of your artistic challenges at present ?

The typical artist stuff. Getting it out of my head and onto the paper. Trying to create something original and compelling.

What are some of your artistic accomplishments at present?

Very few. I'm what you would call an emerging artist. I have yet to show my work.

Can you share 3 things you’ve learned as an artist through your own art? 

  1. It's a marathon not a sprint.
  2. Trust your instincts, then ask someone else.
  3. Take risks.

When you need inspiration, how to do get it?

There's inspiration to be found all around us. Refining a theme is the hard part for me.

When you need to learn more as an artist, how do you do it?

I learn by my mistakes. I'm sure to make a few more. Aside from the one course I mentioned I'm self taught so the more I do the more I learn.

What’s exciting on your artistic horizon?

2011 is the year I come out of the artist “closet”. My wife and my 3 year old are going to have to learn to share the art I make with the rest of the world.

What is it about this artwork (self-selected work shown) that led you to choose it for this feature?

This image is from a series called 'Backyard' inspired by William Henry Fox Talbot who was the pioneer of the modern photographic process. His challenge was to make multiple prints from the same 'negative'. His photographic subject was his 'backyard' at Lacock Abbey. In my case, this image and the others in the series marked a change in my approach to art. I started to think about what the things in the images mean or represent as opposed to what they are. Instead of making the usual landscape, still life, or architectual images I thought about themes and stories with conflicts and questions. The other, and perhaps the most important reason I chose this image, is that I remember the pleasure of making it. I still get excited about creating an image. I hope I will always feel that way.