Friday, May 30, 2014

An interview with Seth Apter

 Today I am excited to share with you and interview with mixed media artist Seth Apter. I have been a fan of Seth's work for a while and I'm very happy that he agreed to do an interview here at Back Home Art. Seth makes wonderfully textured and layered mixed media pieces, books, found object art, and much more. He was kind enough to share photographs of his work for this interview, all photographs were taken by Seth (maybe he should be a photographer too?!?!).

Not only do I enjoy Seth's artwork but I also respect his desire to further the community aspect of mixed media art and artists, as evidenced by his books The Pulse of Mixed Media and The Mixed-Media Artist- and Seth's respect for his fellow artists and gratitude for their support comes through in his thoughtful responses for this interview. I truly love learning about an artist's process and inspirations and I'm grateful that Seth has shared some insight into his. Thank you, Seth!

K.L. How would you describe the type(s) of art that you make?

S.A. I am a mixed media artist and typically work in many different art mediums and with a huge variety of supplies. I think the common elements in all of the work that I create are layers and texture. The sense of depth, complexity and richness that comes with layering is important to me and the ultimate compliment is when the viewer wants to reach out and touch the art.

 K.L. I’m intrigued by all of the interesting metals pieces you use in your work. Where do you get your stash from?

S.A. First and foremost, I am always (always) picking up objects off the street - no matter where I am or whom I am with. I live in NYC and there is treasure to be found on the ground at every step. I also source objects at flea markets, the hardware store, art and craft stores, Etsy, Ebay, and other online shops. And many of the people in the art community have been extra generous and share their finds with me as well.

 K.L. Do you have a part of your creative process that you enjoy the most?

S.A. I love all of the creative process but perhaps my most favorite part is that moment when I feel that the piece I am making has “turned the corner” and is becoming what it is meant to be.

K.L. Is your process structured or do you jump right into making without a plan?

S.A. Unless I am making a book, which requires a definite plan, my process is very unstructured. It is very unusual for me to have a vision in advance of what the completed artwork will look like.

K.L. Do you have any rituals around your creative process?

S.A. When I am working, I make a huge mess. Like many other people, my table becomes so full that I am creating in the smallest of areas. My one ritual is that I must clean my space and put my supplies away before I begin a new project.

K.L. Do you pursue any specific themes in your work?

S.A. I think the one theme that seems to reoccur in my work, many times unconsciously, is time.

K.L. Not only do you sell your original works of art but also books, dvds, and stencils. For artists who are selling their work, do you recommend that they diversify their product line?

S.A. I think for some people, being an artist is solely about making art and I certainly encourage them to keep on creating. For me, however, the plan has always been to diversify and create what I call multiple steams of income. It is not easy to make a living as an artist but branching out into other aspects of the art world (teaching, product design, writing, etc.) makes it more possible. The one caveat is that I think diversification only works if you have a true passion for all the other avenues you choose. And I truly love every aspect of my life in art.

K.L. What do you do when you feel stuck creatively?

S.A. I am one of those fortunate people that has never felt stuck or had an artist block. I believe the reason for this is that I am always working on many projects at the same time. With so many different things to do, I am always inspired by at least one of them.

 K.L. Where do your ideas/inspiration come from? Or do you know?

S.A. Such a good question but also a tough one to answer. Sometimes my inspiration is external. I see nature, architecture, other art, people, etc. and am inspired to create. At other times my inspiration is internal. I feel the need to make art and express what emotions I am experiencing at the time.

K.L. Name three artists whose work inspires you.

S.A. Three only??? Nope. Patricia Larsen, Antoni Tapies, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Pat Steir, Imamura Yoshio, Donna Watson, Jose Parla, Hong Zhu An, Leslie Avon Miller, Gerhard Cambon, and so many more…

K.L. Do you remember when you first became interested in art? What is your earliest memory of making art (any kind)?

S.A. I was never interested in making art as a child or young adult, although I always loved looking at art in museums and galleries. A serendipitous encounter with another artist in 2000 “unleashed the beast” in me and took me from observer to creator.

K.L. Are their other artists in your family? If yes, who are they and what do they do?

S.A. I am unique in my family in that I am the person making art.

K.L. Do you feel like you worry about your art being liked by others?

S.A. I definitely carry the desire to have my artwork liked by others. I think it is a basic human characteristic to want to be acknowledged, accepted and embraced. However, I do not worry about it as I did when I first started out. At this point, I have realized that my best work comes when I am creating for me rather than creating with an eye towards what others might like.

K.L. Is there a type of art that you would like to pursue but haven’t yet?

S.A. I tend to work small and have only recently begun to work on a larger scale. In that vein and given my love of found objects, I have always thought it would be interesting to create larger metal assemblages via welding.

 K.L. Any advice or tips for mixed media artists trying to get their work out into the world?

S.A. For me, the community that I am connected to online has made the difference between being an artist that creates work that nobody sees and being one with work out in the world. I am not simply saying that posting on social media sites leads to success but rather that if you take the time to connect with this online art community in a genuine and reciprocal way, you will develop strong bonds with fellow artists, art lovers, art buyers, and others who will become your art family. I strongly feel that there is more than enough to go around for all of us and that being supportive of others will lead to others being supportive of you!

I hope you enjoyed reading Seth's interview. Please don't forget to visit his blog,, and his website,, for much more information and inspiration from Seth. And check of his blog post for today, sounds like a fun treasure hunt, I'll certainly be joining!


Shared to: Paint Party Friday (Happy PPF!!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A look at what I've been making

I got some good studio time yesterday and today. It always feels good to get in there and get in the flow. Here is a look at what I've been making.

It's never too early to start making Christmas ornaments, right?
Process shot, layering painted paper towels

Two finished pieces. The bottom one is the finished version of the in process piece from the above photo. 

Three finished pieces drying outside.

 Close up of "trust" piece

Trust is a word I've been thinking about today. Trust myself and the path that I'm on, trust in love, trust that hard work pays off, trust that there is enough time to get things done, trust my intuition. I'm glad I made this piece as I was thinking about these things.

Thanks for stopping by xo.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

It was nice to end a great weekend with an email from Tam over at CardMakingArtists letting me know that my featured artist inteview had been posted! I am grateful that Tam asked me for an interview and so flattered by all of the kind things she had to say about my art. Thanks, Tam! You should check out Tam's site as there are many interesting resources, ideas, and artists featured.

My family joined Tyler and I at camp this weekend for Memorial Day. The house was full of children and it brought me right back to the days when my brothers and I would run wild around here- swimming, taking walks, riding bikes, eating ice cream and popsicles. It was great. I got to have an outdoor art session with some of my nieces that was so much fun.

Tyler and I woke up one morning to a whole pile of folded papers pushed under our bedroom door. My 4 year old niece and 5 year old niece had been busy drawing us pictures to surprise us with when we woke up. SO cute!
I even managed to check a few things off of the wedding checklist, with the help of my dad. I want to use slices of a log as table centerpieces to put candles on. My dad and I found a good size log up by the side of the road and he got out his chainsaw and sliced it up in record time! They are the perfect size, I just hope they don't crack and split too much as they dry. Also, while walking around the lake I collected last year's dead and dried wildflower stems to incorporate into the table flower arrangements (we aren't having too many flowers- trying to cut costs where we can!).

Everyone headed home last night and this morning Tyler and I are trying to get back into a routine of making that we can sustain for the next ten days or so. Before the next stage of our adventure begins! I hope everyone had a nice weekend. xo

Shared to: Creative Every Day

Friday, May 23, 2014

Some of my favorite art supplies!

I've been so busy making lately and it's been wonderful! I've got my hands in all sorts of materials and I wanted to give you a look at some of my current favorite art supplies.

regular paper towels are a current favorite for collage!
love me some mod podge
 my Paper Source heat gun is magical
 old cheap brushes, I think I got these at Walgreens but I've also seen them at Blick and Joann's (the one with the blue handle is my favorite!)
 my trusty spray bottle is ancient
 glitter tape is a current obsession, got it at Paper Source
 cheap craft acrylics from Michael's, yummy colors
 Nothing better than Golden gesso
 I love me a good glue stick and use one all the time
 my scissors! they are old and probably not the sharpest but I'm attached to them
 ampersand encausticbord, love love love these mini smooth surfaces
 colored pencils! these are my prismacolor ones but i also use cheap crayola ones
 rubbing alcohol to remove paint or ink to reveal layers underneath
 alpha stamps, another new fascination for me
 and my messy scrappy pile of painted papers, I love this messy pile!

I also have to share my new iPhone case. I used Vistaprint to design my case using an image from one of my paintings. It arrived the other day and I LOVE it! I'm so excited about it, sometimes it's the little things!
Ok and while I'm at it I'll share a new collage. Feel the love :)

 Happy Memorial Day Weekend Everyone. A weekend of remembrance and the start of summer. And happy Paint Party Friday!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Two more days of my 15% off sale!

If you are looking for some unique note cards, prints or small cute collages check out my Etsy shop where I'm having a 15% off sale until Saturday, May 24th! The coupon code is CAMP15. I've got some new single panel hanging pieces up there as well. Even if you don't want to purchase anything I'd love for you to visit my shop and see what I've been making :)

It's a rainy day here in Central New York so I'm going to spend it shopping with  my mom- try to find a dress for my bridal shower and some shoes and jewelry for the wedding :) Lots of wedding to do lists are starting to form, but I think Tyler and I are doing well with the planning for the most part. Checking things off the list one at a time!

Have a wonderful day everyone! xo

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pinwheels, country walks, anxiety, and ice cream

It's been chilly out at camp since Friday. The camp itself it shrouded by big pine trees and not much direct sunlight comes in through the windows so it doesn't warm up too much inside. We've had the space heaters going and we even had a fire the other evening. I've been keeping busy making art and I'm still not tired of it! I made three pinwheel pieces yesterday and today. They are something I go back to every now and then.

We had another great walk today. Even though I've spent so much time out here I still can't get over how beautiful the landscape is. It's been fun taking photos on these walks. I'm going to use them in a book I'm going to make that will document our month out here. I have some ideas for the book structure and layout and I'm getting excited to start experimenting with it!

Despite our days filled with art making and beautiful walks I'm feeling a bit of anxiety lately. It seems to set in sometime in the afternoon and last through bedtime. Ugh. I'm sure it's related to our move and all the changes and uncertainties that come with it, but it doesn't feel good! I wake up so refreshed and excited in the morning. Then, by late afternoon I start to feel yucky and then anxious. I try to take deep breaths, remember to say some positive affirmations, and talk with Tyler but it's just been consistently showing up lately. I will work through it, I know. Anyone have any anxiety relieving tips to share? To be honest, my strategy this evening was to get out of the house, drive into town, and get chocolate peanut butter ice cream. A change of the evening routine and a treat, I think it's helping :)

Thanks for stopping by. xo

Shared to Creative Every Day

Friday, May 16, 2014

Rain, rain

It's our first really rainy day out here at camp. Early this morning it was a lighter rain, but then it started to downpour by late morning!

It's nice to have a day like this now and then. To hole up inside and not feel bad for not getting out. I've been getting some tasks done- submitting to a magazine and folding and packaging my note cards.

Once I finish packaging I'm going to snuggle up on the couch and add some stitching to the water color experiments I did the other day. Some slow stitching is a good activity for a slow rainy day.

Happy Paint Party Friday, Friends! xo

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Making time to play

I've been so into making these wall hangings and banners lately which is great. They are very fun to make and I think they look cute. However, it is a very exact process. I need to measure and cut all of the papers to certain sizes, make sure they layers fit together nicely, embroider some layers together, stamp or stencil the letters evenly, etc.
After I finished the one pictured above I realized I needed a break. Too much structure and focus! I decided to get out my watercolors and paper and head outside to just make marks, intuitively choose colors, and not care about how it turned out. It was just what I needed.

Earlier in the day Tyler and I had a great adventure walk. We took a path that veered off of the lake trail, a path that I had never gone on before, even though I've been spending my summers out here for over 25 years! It was great! Madison County is so beautiful. It was quiet and green and new. I loved it.

 I'll leave you with this picture, the moon rising above the lake. So beautiful. Have a lovely evening everyone.