Meet the Local Artist: Greg Stott
Every week I highlight a local Upper Valley artist. I give them a list of questions and they choose to answer as many of them however they'd like. I hope you enjoy meeting our local artists!
Bio and History
"Greg Stott is a local Upper Valley artist who utilizes his inspiration from the natural world to dazzle and impress those around him. His favorite medium is acrylic painting. He is a simple man who spends his time teaching the youth of today as a local science teacher, working on his home, or being with family. He likes to travel, hike, experience new things, and be at the ocean."
How did you get started with art? Have you had any training?
I have had no formal training. I always wanted to go to school for art. I have taken classes over the years, a few at AVA gallery. Mostly I am self taught.
When did you first define yourself as an artist?
I have always liked to draw since 1st grade. I would doodle in the margins of my papers and I still do. Post college is when things really kicked in. I moved to the Oregon coast and things came together. I was doing murals, surf board art, paintings, and having a blast. Things are more open out there, more possibilities. Anyone can be anything. My wife always comes to me and says, "I need a birthday card" or a gift, so I am always cranking those out. It keeps the juices flowing.
Do you make art for a living? If so, for how long have you been about to do that? What jobs have you had other than being an artist? If you don't make your living doing art, what do you do in "real life"?
In real life I teach science to middle school kids. Almost 20 years now, it's fun, but I hope someday I can produce enough art that people like and I can make some money. In the summers I do odd jobs for people too.
How much time do you spend doing art?
In the summer (now) a handful of hours each week. I have 4 teenagers so my time is limited.
How do you work? Do you have a routine?
I am lucky enough to have built a room/studio above my garage. It has art and inspiration on the walls. I am hoping to get a wood stove out there for this winter so I can be a four season artist. I get out there when I can.
What are your passions outside of art? What's something non-creative that you do to balance and recharge?
I am a huge fan of the ocean. I love going there. I went to college for marine biology, so my favorite art includes sea creatures and stuff. We used to live on the ocean, I was surfing a lot, now I have a SUP board and love taking that out. Most of my early work was paintings of waves. I went a little overboard. Everyone got one for a Christmas present.
What medium/media do you use? Why do you like it/them?
Mostly acrylics on canvass. Some sculpture, mostly involving animal bones and skulls. I like acrylics because they dry fast and clean up easily.
What medium have you tried that you don't like?
I cannot figure out oils yet.
If you had only one kind of art supply to use for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A pencil or charcoal with a fat pad of paper. I am best at drawing, it does not 100% translate onto a painting.
What do you do with pieces you don't like?
Gesso over them and reuse the canvas. I am pretty frugal with supplies. I hate wasting paint.
Creation and Inspiration
Where do you get your ideas? How do you get started on a piece? How do you know when you're done?
My ideas can be very weird. I have many sketchbooks with ideas from over the years. Often I dig one up, find a good idea, and paint it. I am a huge fan of sci fi, fantasy, and comic books, so I rely on them for inspiration sometimes. I heard a quote once, "a painting is never done, it just stops at interesting places."
What/who inspires you?
One of my faves is a sci fi artist, Moebius. I love his colors and line work. I dig the Wyeths. Jeffrey Jones. Boris. Frazetta. I can find stuff to like in any gallery. Luke Eastman (Upper Valley), Michael Santopadre (formerly of the Upper Valley).
What's the best thing about being an artist? What's the worse?
Best is being creative. You are creating something never seen before. It's YOUR interpretation of something. No one can take that. The worst is not being able to pay the bills by just doing art.
What makes you unique as an artist?
I like to match science and art. I like to use my knowledge of marine biology into my work. Yes, it can be weird, I just did a painting of an octopus using an oar to paddle himself along while laying on a banana. My work has matured, so I am having a blast with my style. I find the simplest style of path is the best, especially when I struggle with something.
How do you get past a creative block?
Leave the room, come back later. Have a bourbon. Think about it. It will come. Listen to some music while you work, like Bowie, Tom Waits, or the like.
What is your dream project?
A big mural on a building. Or getting discovered by a famous person with $.
What are your fears as an artist?
I have no fear about it. It's fun. I have given away enough art (I should really sell it more!) and I have seen people enjoy it, so I am happy. All of my kids have claimed different paintings I have done. We are running out of wall space.
What's the best piece of advice (or a quote) you've been given regarding art and creativity?
Do it. Make it yours. Have fun.
About Art and Artists
What do people not realize about being an artist?
Not everyone can do it, and that gives me power and energy to do it more. I can actually do something that someone else cannot. That goes for many other careers and skill sets. I am a lousy carpenter for instance. I appreciate those that can do that.
What do you think are the qualities that define an artist?
Unique work. There is a lot of garbage out there that is not art.
What do you admire in other artists?
Their styles. Their histories. We all got here from many paths.
Sharing Your Art
Do you accept commissions? What is the process for working with you to create a custom piece?
I have done a few commissions. I meet with clients, do some sketches, keep them informed, and go at it. If they like it awesome, if not I will re do it until they are satisfied. I will do my best to paint anything for anyone - just ask. I can create a budget for supplies and time. Once, my aunt asked me to paint mural of the three book covers of Lord of the Rings from the 1960's. It still is on the wall of her house, 4 x 8 feet. If she sells the house, I will carve it out of the wall : ) I am very proud of how it turned out. My daughter once asked for a present of a painting of a walrus. Well, she got an orange walrus for her birthday.
Where is your favorite place to take a class/workshop (locally or otherwise)?
AVA has some good stuff. I would love to take a class at the Center for Cartoon Studies. Out of my price range currently.
Where can we find you/your work?
I keep trying to get an online platform going, I keep trying to figure a way to get prints made from paintings. Stay tuned. Email me anytime if you are curious. firstname.lastname@example.org
Would you like to be featured in "Meet the Local Artist"? Email Amy at RVCAmy at gmail dot com
Last Week's Interview - Naomi Hartov, Collage and Mosaic Artist
Next Week's Interview - Mary Gerakaris, Photographer
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More about the author, Amy Fortier: Her Artist Interview