A Little Background:
Derek Gores was born in New York in 1971. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design and graduated with a BFA in 1993. He has been a successful artist for fifteen years and his client list surely reflects that. He has worked with Lenny Kravitz, U2, Van Halen, Kings of Leon, Madonna, Lucasfilm, ESPN, the National Football League, cult brands Harley Davidson and Adidas as well as many others. His most recent honor was being featured at the Manifest Hope exhibit in Washington, DC, prior to President Obama's Inauguration. The exhibit was juried by Spike Lee and fellow artist Shepard Fairey, where one of Derek's pieces fetched $35,000.
Derek currently takes commissions for both private and commercial clients. He lives in Melbourne, Florida with his wife Jamie and their three daughters. To contact Derek Gores, scroll to the end of this post for his information. Now, on to the interview...
July 2009 Interview:
Janelle Steinberg: Derek, I am so thrilled that we can finally get around to doing this interview. I know you’ve been very busy with work and revamping your website. What's new at Derek Gores.com?
Derek Gores: Just some general updates, more examples of work, current shows. You can see everything at www.derekgores.com
Janelle Steinberg: That’s great- I can't wait to see more of your work. What's your process when approaching a new piece?
Derek Gores: Sometimes I start from nowhere, and enjoy digging around, building on the canvas until something interesting starts showing up. Other times I have an idea for months and finally launch in furiously. Still other times, I start with the recycling-- gathering up magazines and parts I can re-use. Sifting through the inspiration always conjures up some magic.
Janelle Steinberg: The creative process in art and design is both curious and magical. Is there anywhere you turn for inspiration? What inspires you as an artist?
Derek Gores: My favorite subject is the figure. I trust and CRAVE randomness and intuition. I like my pictures to barely come together in the brain with teasing little details. Sort of like how the mind can't help but wander, even when trying to focus on one thing. In the collages, some of the little bits I use are deliberate, but in most I'm trusting randomness to help build an end result more interesting than I could have planned. One friend calls it a 'Zen Narrative.' I like that all the elements react with any history the viewer brings to the table.
Janelle Steinberg: Yes, I agree. Perception is one of the most magnificent aspects of art. What do you think is the appeal in your art?
Derek Gores: People say they like seeing classic subjects treated in a new way. Others mention that they continue to see new things (in my art). I like that. I hope it’s celebratory and playful.
Making art and viewing art is being a kid again. Exploring and being open enough to be led by the senses. I like re-awakening people to art. I find many people had the art squashed out of them, usually in their early teens. Usually caused by preconceptions, peers, and being surrounded by TV and photos. The definition of 'accuracy' becomes limited. I like pursuing an ‘accurate’, or at lest compelling, depiction of a feeling or a sensation, or an experience. I sometimes get to see people have a child-like response to my collages, and I LOVE that. Art just may have the potential to cut through a life's worth of walls and numbness of the senses. Victory! And then, there's that person who falls in love with a piece enough to take it home so they can have that feeling every day.
Janelle Steinberg: I'm one of those people! I have told you many times to consider me a patron in waiting. I'm waiting for that perfect wall in my house (or, rather, to build the perfect wall in my house)! In all seriousness, that's very profound. I think your sentiments resonate with many people, especially art lovers. Speaking of, who are some of your favorite artists?
Derek Gores: My biggest figurative influence is Egon Schiele, from early 1900's
Janelle Steinberg: What an intriguing cross-section. I like that. An artist's influences and inspirations is always something that I find interesting. Second to that is what an artist was like as a child. What about you? Did you have a favorite medium or genre as a child?
Derek Gores: Good old pencil. Sitting on the edge of my bed drawing Star Wars characters, and making up my own.
Janelle Steinberg: Is that how you snagged work with Lucasfilm?! I'm kidding. Do a lot of your commissions come from commercial interests, or private patrons?
Derek Gores: I take private commissions as time allows. Here's what people love: When I create a collage portrait for a person, not only do I capture their likeness, but the little ripped pieces of paper I use are custom also: favorite foods, places traveled, schools, family photos. I can recycle all those old goodies into the piece. I take a lot of corporate commissions, too. I enjoy the challenge of taking an intangible feeling or message and building visual metaphors that make an emotional connection.
Janelle Steinberg: I LOVE that custom element to your collage work- the little bits of paper! I never knew that! Honestly, that's more fantastic and impressive than I can conjure words for at the moment. Wow. Your work can truly hold intimate and personal value well beyond the "custom commission" aspect. I'm sold. Where do I sign?! Where else can people connect with you and see your art?
Derek Gores: I have a few shows coming up. I have a one man exhibition, "TORN", at the 321 Agency in
Janelle Steinberg: I know you are a family man, too. How does your family inspire you? What about other non-art inspirations?
Derek Gores: Teaching my kids to make music without instruments, how my wife makes people laugh, Twizzlers, side roads, back roads, woods, trails, inclusiveness, Springsteen, Mom n' Pop shops where you can see the owner, slate walkways, guitar solos... Contact Derek Gores: Derek Gores Fine Art & Design firstname.lastname@example.org 321) 258-2119 (Eastern Standard Time) Twitter:http://twitter.com/Mr_Gores_Artist FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Derek-Gores/54788087483 321 Agency (show starts July 24, 2009) 1010 E New Haven Ave Melbourne, FL 32901 "TORN" http://www.321agency.com/torn/ SLOW Gallery 1905 Municipal Lane Melbourne, FL 32901 Parlor Gallery (Show starts August 22, 2009) 717 Cookman Ave Asbury Park, NJ http://www.parlor-gallery.com/