We are delighted to bring to you the sixth in our brand new series of interviews within our Portrait of an Artist column entitled ‘Seeing through the eyes…’. This is a section that has been created by our wonderful Portrait of an Artist Editor, Ile Mont. Mont has been inspired by the life and works of Carolyn Hall Young, as so many of us have. Young was the main contributor to our Portrait of an Artist Flickr pool and filled it with portraits of so many wonderful people, not only of herself. It is for this reason that Mont wanted to create this section, to enable us to view the artists style through their own eyes. At the end of each interview, Mont will keep Young’s tradition alive, with a portrait of herself, seen through the eyes of the artist. In this case, you will see that at the end of this interview there is a portrait of Mont, seen through the eyes of Clint Cline, what a gift!
Please continue to post your mobile portraiture to our dedicated Flickr group, that way, Mont will search through these artists first to interview. (foreword by Joanne Carter).
All images in this interview ©Clint Cline and the final image is a collaboration ©Ile Mont and ©Clint Cline
Would you like to introduce yourself?
I am both a writer and a designer and practice each professionally in the communication arts to produce print, digital, and film. I am a Christian. I am a husband, an adoptive father, and grandfather. I enjoy traveling (“the journey’s the thing…”) as much as the quiet of a back porch morning. I enjoy exploring artistic challenges as much as the comfort of practiced methods and proprietary techniques. I am a voracious reader, but love the escape of Noir films. I am a minimalist by nature and a colorist by habit and passion.
What does ‘being creative’ mean to you?
I suppose I could describe ‘being creative’ more by what it isn’t than what it is. Creativity is not a thing. It is not a unique gene set only some possess. It is attained neither by education solely nor pedigree selectiveley. And creativity is not the province of a special class of people, despite all preening and pretense to the contrary.
I believe creativity is as ubiquitous as it is egalitarian. It is natural, an innate human ability. Creativity is an amalgam, to be sure, forged in the tension between reason and inspiration. It is a pas de Deux engaging both halves of our brain: fact and feeling; logic and visualization; analysis and imagination; process and conceptualization; planning and intuition. And the more we practice the process of engaging left and right together, the structural and the free-form, those halves we’ve been given by design, the faster and deeper creativity penetrates our means of expression.
Renoir said, “When I have arranged a bouquet for the purpose of painting it, I always turn to the side I did not plan”. That, for me, is the proof text for the creative process, the harmonic balance of method that knits reason and inspiration”.
Can you describe the time when you first realised that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
I don’t think there was ever one ‘aha’ moment. It was more of something I grew up understanding from parents who fired us with the ambition and the encouragement to read, write, draw, explore, and express. My brother, sister, and I were simmered in a stew seasoned with history, language, jazz, poetry, art, travel, photography, faith, literature, and film, and with an appreciation for how each shapes our perception and understanding of the world. Both my siblings are artists in their own right.
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
I divide my time between exploring new techniques and treatments on no particular idea, with deeper explorations of veritology, anthropology, and theology. Truth, reality, man, God. These are things I ponder, then use my art to find expression for that which I learn along the journey.
Portraits are explorations of the soul, a means for illuminating through the eyes, or a gesture, or the position in a pose, a hint of the soul of a person. Each of us is wondrously and uniquely made and, like a sculptor chiseling away rock to reveal a scene, I find in a portrait a chance to reveal that which transcends outward appearance. I’m not really given much to self-portraits – something with which I have a kind of love/hate relationship.
What do you think are the ups and downs about working with your own image?
There are many whose self-portraits are stunning works of art in which they can step outside of themselves to communicate a character or a persona quite apart from who they are, or even a piece that is the very mirror of their heart. I struggle somewhere in the middle and don’t know whether it is a crisis of confidence or that I don’t find the subject matter of a selfie all that interesting. My relationship with selfies is a work in progress.
Is there an artwork you are most proud of?
Ironically, it is a minimalist abstract portrait scene entitled â€˜Le Rendezvous,â€™ the first abstract piece I sold in my California gallery debut.
How do you know when a work is finished?
A writer once told me that at a certain point in the novel writing process, the characters begin speaking to the writer and taking the story down unexpected or unexplored paths. This writer also told me that the characters will often tell him where and when the story is complete. I feel the same about my art. I know it’s done when I have a peace that its story is told.
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
I absorb as much of others art as my work schedule permits, I commit to studying techniques and methods with which Iâ€™m unfamiliar, and I try to create something – even if it is only a part of a work – everyday. On those days when I am dry I try anyway but, failing that, I am content to rest and to listen, knowing that in the quiet comes a spark. It is often after periods of intense quiet that a new direction will emerge.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by story, the voice of an image, and the manner in which the artist becomes storyteller. Inspiration also comes from ordinary life stories enlarged into a new context, or revealed from a divergent point of view. I also draw inspiration from the works of other artists – how they use line and shape and form, and from the words and lyrics and pictures born of poets and writers. And color! Kandinsky believed color could be used separate and apart from an objective form, less of an accent and more as an absolute, and much of my work explores color as voice in this way.
What are your favorite tools and apps while creating?
I regularly capture images, whether to record a scene or for use as an element within another image, with the iPhoneX onboard camera, Hipstamatic, and 645Pro. While I have 100+ filter and speciality apps on my phone and iPad, only a small cluster find their number called more often than any others. Those include: Snapseed, SuperimposeX, iColorama, Formulas, Stackables, Mextures, Enlight, Polarr, Handy Photo, Retouch, and BigPhoto.
What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative?
Take time to rest, to reflect, to focus, and to be silent. Always wonder. Always explore. Always. And especially when the ground is dry and brittle.
What advice would you share with us?
I heard of a Japanese custom once that said it was okay to interrupt a person who is working, but to respect the solitude of one in thought. I have since learned to value the immense treasure of quiet. So, whether I am traveling or at home, I look for opportunities to push out the everyday noise and the tyranny of the urgent. I will often spend those times in prayer, or percolating ideas and inspiration, or both. So to enhance creativity my advice would be to make time for quiet, because it’s there you’re likely to find your next story.
It has been a thrill and an absolute pleasure to be able to see a little through the eyes of Clint Cline but its a huge honor to have been seen through his eyes too.
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