We had the good fortune of connecting with Douglas Stewart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Douglas, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Pursuing a life of Art and creativity was not a deliberate choice, so much as a path that itself drew me in to. I’ve been an Artist and inventor all my life and never been interested in other pursuits. There is power in Art. There is freedom in Art. Being an Artist has the ability to set you free to follow your dreams literally. Art is addicting and intoxicating. An Artist creates, always, whether there is an audience or not. This here is a very important part of success in Art. Always create new work. Always move forward following the path and evolution that your work, vision and dreams take you. I, for one, would not dream that I could continue At a very young age I found that Art provided a way to communicate and express visually, feelings that might have been
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
About 12 years ago I began to experience the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Seven years ago I began to lose the ability to hold a paintbrush steady in my hand due to tremors. The turning point came while I was painting a portrait of my wife and had an incredibly hard time with my hands. I had the realization that Parkinson’s was now wanting to take the ability to paint from me. I was becoming more and more concerned and frustrated as I continued the portrait while experiencing severe tremors. Finally, I sat back in disgust, looked at the painting, and proclaimed that it looked like bad TV. After further pondering the painting I realized that there was an opportunity there. The concept of “As Seen on TV,” the distortion of television, was created. I began to understand my new limitations and set out to develop a process of painting that would utilize and control my tremors, and therefor my brush, to my advantage. I began painting with the method of pointillism. Pointillism. A method of neo-impressionist painting using tiny dots of various pure colors, which become blended in the viewer’s eye. ART CONCEPT. TV is ubiquitous. TV is familiar. TV is comfort food. Can anyone walk into a room with a TV playing, and not have their eyes and attention be drawn to its image, glow and noise? The placement of the TV is one of respect and prominence, a central gathering place in the fashion of an alter. TV is powerful. TV is manipulative. My paintings as part of the “As Seen on TV” body of work, seek to reveal, visualize and embrace the beautiful distortion, noise and manipulation that accompanies and makes our TV icons and iconic moments. They are, at the same time, both familiar and unique. The first painting I completed using this technique took two and a half years. Realizing that this was untenable, I began inventing ways to better control my hands and the application of paint to canvas. There have been a hundred inventions that went into the development of my process, addressing my new limitations. Art and artists evolve constantly. Ultimately my painting process is beautifully suited to the distortion of television. Artists are inventors, and we are all artists. Art is communication. Communication is knowledge. Knowledge is power. Art is power. We all have the power to create our own lives and destiny each day. Always move forward, evolve.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As professional Artists we travel extensively. Although there is culture and interesting finds to be found in any city, Atlanta has more than their fare share of cultural opportunities. Museums, galleries and fine dining are found around every turn.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I truly owe so much of who I am and my success to my wife, Honour Stewart (honourplants.com). It is impossible to overstate the importance of having a creative spirit by your side. Encouraging, honest and always there. Honour is a visual artist focusing most of her efforts on large-format, film photography. Her work is endlessly inspirational. Beyond this there are so many people along the way that have provided an endless stream of encouragement. I would like to thank my London based Art representative Anthony Smith (asart.com) and the good people at Boston Art (bostonartinc.com). Many thanks to all. Artists are always looking for support and feedback to continue to grow and evolve and the people I mention here have empowered me with that support.
All photos credited to the Artist.