Thursday, August 21, 2014

Painting Parent - Billy Seccombe

Today's Parenting Parent is
Billy Seccombe

How many children do you have? What are their ages?
We have 1 child.  He is 4 years old.

How did your artistic career begin?
I think I knew I was going to be an artist at a very early age.  I realized that I excelled at art and enjoyed it.   It was my greatest asset throughout school and growing up.  Being an artist has always been an ambition of mine.   I began drawing when I was young and my favorite inspiration was MAD magazine where I would copy the drawings insesintly.  As I progressed, I really learned how to draw in high school.  I had a great teacher, Kay Polito; who taught me how to draw properly.  From there, I went on to art school at Syracuse University where I studied illustration.   Upon moving to New Jersey 8 years ago, I refocused my direction and spent time studuing at the Arts Students League in NYC honing my skills as an oil painter.  Curerently, I am represented by Dacia Gallery in NYC and am working on a series of portrait commissions as well as maintain a full-time position as a designer.

What is your Parenting/work/art situation?
As most fine artists, I have a full-time job as well where I am a Sr. Designer at a children’s licensing company.  Additionally, I maintain a painting studio where I’m currently working on a series of various commissions and gallery work.   Our son is in day-care locally and so I drop him off and pick him up daily as it is close to both our home and my office.  

When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?
The evenings and the weekends are the times when I burn the midnight oil painting or doing other freelance projects.  Lately, I have been saving my painting time for during the weekend so that I can utilize day light to my advantage.

Do your children get involved with your art?
That’s a funny question.   Yes!  My son loves to help me.  He is his dad’s helper and shadow at that.  He often asks to help me on my paintings which I have no problem with.  You’d think that it would be a crazy idea, and maybe it is, but I will allow him to place some large solid colors in the background occasionally if only to keep him busy.  I usually paint over it.   

Do they inspire aspects of your art?
Sure.  My son has ended up in my paintings as I recently did a candid portrait of him for a gallery show.  Ironically, it sparked a series of commissions from that work.  

How has having children changed your artwork?
Having a child limits the time you have to spend on your art.  This has actually benefited me because it forces me to be more spontaneous, looser and more impressionist with my work because I can longer invest 100 hrs on a work.  It must be done faster and often with limited free time.  I try to paint during his nap time which can be for a couple hours at a time.  You must move quickly and without as much thought.  Your actions have to be more spontaneous.  I’ve seen my work grow and develop into my own style lately as a result.

How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?
Again, you have limited time to work quite often.  I do find that I’m interrupted many times and so an in-progress portrait is put on hold for a trip to the park, or a bike ride, or the beach.

Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?
Yes.  When my son was first born I really didn’t paint for the first year or so.  This as a result of focusing on a new born but also wanting to take a break from my art and know when I got back to it, if I did at all, it would be more honest.

How do you encourage your children to be artistic?
I am trying to push my artistic values on my son as much as possible but I do enjoy watching him like to paint also.  He has a little easel in my studio right next to mine where he keeps his paints and brushes.  Often I will set up his paints so he can spend some time with me in the studio.

Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?
No, I don't feel pressure to raise my children as artists.  Of course, it would be great to have them follow in my foots steps but ultimately I want them to find their own voice.

In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?
I don't know that being an artist makes being a parent easier or harder but I will say that you spend every waking moment thinking about art and find every spare moment to create.  Being an artist is a way of life and I think it carries over into everything in your life including being a a parent.  

Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?
Not at all.  I don't think it affects how people look at my art or what people think of me as an artist.  


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