Sunday, September 7, 2008

Exclusive interview with Scott Belcastro

Scott Belcastro is an up and coming artist represented by Project: Gallery in Los Angeles California.
At first meeting Scott, he can seem like a shy character, one that prefers to keep to himself but after getting to know him I quickly discovered he is full of creative energy and has a great talent for re enacting old 90210 series. Going to his Studio which he shares with a few of the other Project Gallery artists, he welcomed me in and gave me a sweet little tour of the space. (To Right: Titled Today)

TZ: So let’s begin, where are you from?
Scott: I’m originally from upstate New York, I moved to Santa Barbara and lived there for 4 years, and just recently moved to La March of this year.

TZ: How did you end come coming to the West Coast from upstate New York?
Scott: (silence……) I have a hard time answering questions about myself...
Well. I decided to move out to Santa Barbara because a friend asked me to come out. I wasn’t really doing any art at that time, I was doing different stuff. I saw that there was a lot of art around me in California, so I decide to get back into it more seriously.

TZ: How was your time in Santa Barbara? Did you know Yoskay Yamamoto then?
Scott: Yoskay and I met in Santa Barbara;. We used to have shows at coffee shops, even though it was in a coffee shop we would still sell stuff all the time, so I guess we were on the right track.
We would do everything at those shows, from the promotion to the hanging. It was a good experience.

TZ: Your paintings are very landscape based, where do you get your inspiration for those scenery’s?
Scott: Yeah, upstate NY has a lot of trees, a lot of places you can be alone. We used to have this place behind my house called Back Secret, it’s where we would go to have fires and camp out, and it was a nature preserve. I pull a lot of my style from that place, my friends back home see my work and they always say, “whoa that looks like Back Secret”. That place was magical; it was forests and sand dunes. And in the winter and fall it was beautiful, fall was the best time.

I’m not ready yet to paint fall, so much more needs to happen before I start painting fall with the huge trees and the fall colors. (To left: Titled Where are you)

TZ: Not ready? What do you mean by that? You capture spring and winter so perfectly, when will you be ready for the fall?
Scott: I'm waiting for that moment, it’s coming. I have certain things I have stored in my head that I’m waiting to do.I guess for the right time to bring them out, that’s how I feel; I need to have a certain feeling to paint some of my ideas otherwise they come out wrong.

TZ: So living in Downtown LA, with very little nature or even a healthy tree, how are you feeling about finding inspiration?
Scott: I pull a lot of my inspiration from memory, I’m having a little trouble with the city scape, and my memory is kind of emptying out right now, I need to refill it .But I’ll be ok.

TZ: You must have a very vivid memory then?
Scott: Do you ever feel though, that all those childhood memories are going to dry up and be like an empty well. Sometimes I feel like that, I get worried that I will lose all those memories. I would like to capture that feeling of being 8 years old again, in a way I do every time I paint. That’s why I do it, If I did not get that feeling I would do something else where I could feel void and make a living still.

TZ: What do you want to communicate through your art?
Scott: I want to communicate with people without talking, I want them to look at what I made and be as close to that stranger as possible, but only in the work. Then comes the distance, I can only give so much before I feel I am telling you what I think you should feel. It’s better to keep it inside, it’s warmer there.

TZ: So you leave it up to interpretation?
Scott: If someone buys a piece, and hangs it on the wall, I’m sure there not like, "it’s a back yard in upstate New York," because I don’t explain that to them, I think even if I did they would be like “great that means nothing at all to me” It means to them something different than it means to me, that’s what is so great about this. I can be close to you and so far away.

TZ: If someone asked you to explain yourself in three words, what would you say?
Scott: Difficult, Wanting, Focused

(To right: Titled As blue as my soul will go)

TZ: Could you name some of your top influential artists? Artists you look up to?
Scott: Jackson Pollack, Edward Hopper, and Turner.

TZ: Well that makes total sense. Your work is a clear combination of all three of those. If they all made one baby it would be you, because when you look at your work, your not 50/50, you are complete divided by 3. There isn’t a strong Turner or Hopper in your work, it’s so blurry.

Scott: Yeah I kind of grew up with them, my grandfather was an artists. He would have those books lying around. You know Hopper, Pollack, I would pick them up and feel it right away. I love that lonely feeling in paintings especially, what hopper could do.

TZ: What’s the first step to create your next painting?
Scott: Get my head in the painting,

TZ: Well, how about when you work in your sketch book, and you do a sketch, and you step back and go, "yeah that has to be my next painting."
Scott: A lot of my sketches were ideas for a painting at one time that never got done or are in the process. Usually when I get that background done I hear everything I need to hear.

TZ: You spend a lot of time on your backgrounds, it seems like the focus point in your work.
Scott: Yeah, I put the most energy and time in to my backgrounds. They are telling you something, actually they are screaming at you.

TZ: So I asked the other guys if they had a hard time sleeping, do you have that problem as well.
Scott: yes, If I let my ideas take over I can lay there all night.

TZ: So what time of the day do you feel most focused and in the zone to paint?
Scott: I’m an AM painter, I normally wake up at 8, paint from 9Am to 6 or 7 pm sometimes 8, It’s like an enjoyable 9 to 7.

TZ: How did you start working with Project: Gallery?
Scott: When I lived in Santa Barbara I ended up doing a show with Beau from Project because one of the artists pulled out in a certain show that he was doing, I guess he saw my potential too. and I started working with him from then on. That was about a year ago.

TZ: So Project: gallery is the place for you at the moment?
Scott:There is this feeling of something happening, it’s generating it’s own positive energy.I am happy to be a part of that. I am very at home with beau and project.
(To left: Titled Lost in the forest)

TZ: You have a solo show coming up at Project Gallery, when is that scheduled for and what can we expect?
Scott: Its for November…..lots of backyards in upstate NY.

TZ: What is this video you did with the Swedish music group that literally brings your art work to life? How did you develop that?
Scott:That is all Stephen Schuster, I just provided the images. I hope I get to do more of those.
TZ: What’s your future outlook? Where do you see yourself down the road?
Scott: Quiet life in a small town. I would like to paint in my studio, have a dog, wood burning stove, a garden, a forest right there for me to go into and explore. I don’t need much, I just have to paint ….forever.



(Above: New 08, Scott Belcatro's studio in Los Angeles)

For more information on Scott Belcastro please visit his webpage which is http://Scottbelcastro.blogspot.com or visit Project: Gallery at http://www.projectgalleryla.com

2 comments:

scott belcastro said...

Thanks.......I will invite you to my cabin one day to chop some fire wood for my stove.....

hana said...

great interview! the people in his paintings are always so itty bitty. i like that.