It’s not uncommon for careers in the creative fields to still go under-appreciated in today’s day and age. For any artist, starving or not, this can be discouraging if making art is where their true passion lies.
Is this what I should be doing with my life? What can I even do with these silly drawings?
Truth is, you can do a lot. That is a fact, a promise, and a little something you should remind yourself of everyday if being an artist is simply what you love to do.
I had the chance to speak with a young artist whose fiery childhood imagination was fuel enough to get him to pursue his own unique style of art and illustration and attend the Pratt Institute; a perfect example of the power artists can have in this world and a feat that should not go unnoticed.
This is Steve Spavento.
Looking at your work I can’t help but comment on how vivid and playful it is while still managing to possess a sense of maturity. How would you best describe your style?
I’m glad you picked up on that because I feel it is an important part of what I do. I am heavily influenced by the entertainment media of my youth. Things like Saturday morning cartoons, video games, and toys have definitely made their mark on me! I am a firm believer that you don’t have to leave your imagination behind as you grow up. Adventure, excitement, and wonder are not static concepts. I want my work to show that you can enjoy these experiences without having to trade in your maturity, and I hope my artistic style can convey that.
You’re inspired greatly by the fantastic- monsters, mythology and movies like The Neverending Story. Do any of these have a greater influence on you when you create or is the mixture of them all what defines your art best?
Definitely a mixture of them all! I love the overlap between what is real and what is imaginary. There is a blurred line between the two. Fantastic and imaginary things can be just as ‘real’ as anything else as long as we allow them to be. For example, dragons don’t exist yet everyone knows what one is. If you were to ask everyone to draw a dragon no two would be the same, but all would still be dragons. This repetitious variation is something I am strongly attracted to. It suggests endless possibilities, which is always exciting.
Do you have a favorite piece and why?
My favorite piece is always the next one I’m working on. I thrive on that initial spark. Its when the idea is at its brightest. From there, it’s just a matter of coaxing it into reality.
Would you say that your work has an intended audience?
My first and foremost concern is that I am making something that I personally like. I try to stay as true to that as possible. Things can get pretty mucky if you get caught up on making your work to please others. I make things that I like, and put it out there in hopes that there are others who may enjoy it too.
You attend the Pratt Institute in New York City and decided to first pursue a Bachelor’s in Painting. This is a very unorthodox pursuit when it comes to the typical path of a college student and a lot of artists decide to put art on the back burner. What factors influenced your choice to stick with art during your college career?
When it came time for me to think about college, I couldn’t imagine doing anything besides art. I had just spent most of my high school career drawing in my notebook during lectures. I wasn’t about to spend another four years doing the same. I needed to immerse myself in the creative process. I knew that going to a school like Pratt would put me shoulder-to-shoulder with experienced, professional artists as well as peers who share my passion. It was an amazing experience and led to many other great things. I am now currently in graduate school working towards a Master’s in Communications Design.
It’s a lot of a hard work to be noticed for your talents as an artist. What has been your greatest struggle in getting your name out there, and what has been your greatest achievement?
It’s a very good time to be an artist, but its not an easy time by any means. Just making a post online gets your work exposed to more people than any previous generation of artists could have dreamed of. You can have your work viewed by people all over the world just by hitting a few buttons on your laptop from the comfort of your couch. However, there are millions of others posting their work as well. You just have to stick with it, and not get discouraged. Someone, somewhere appreciates what you do, and it’s such a great feeling and achievement when you find those people.
Platforms like Society6 are the up and coming outlet for artists to present their work to a greater audience and be rewarded for it. It’s also very nontraditional. How do you feel about the role technology plays in the lives of many young artists today?
I think we are very lucky to live in a time with so many resources and opportunities for creatives. It can sometimes feel overwhelming, but you have to just focus on what it is you love, and keep doing it.
Where do you envision art taking you in the coming years? Any big dreams for Steve Spavento?
I’m just setting off on my adventure, so I have many things coming up on the horizon. At the moment, I am playing around with some ideas involving animated and interactive experiences, but they’re still in the very early stages. It’s safe to say there’s much more to come!
For all the creative people out there, young and old, what advice would you give them in their pursuits?
It’s very easy to succumb to discouraging thoughts and self-doubt. I think all artists and creatives go through that at one point or another. Just remember there is no defined path you have to follow. Keep doing what you love and let the rest fall into place.
Enjoy Steve’s Artwork Here:
Interview by: Ana Luz Jayme
Written by: Ana Luz Jayme
Artwork by: Steve Spavento