a r t i s t o f t h e m o n t h
Interview with Eric Gustafson
by Barbara Tampieri
Just to start introducing you to our public, who is Eric Gustafson and when art became part of your life?
Well I'm 23, currently reside in the United States (Austin, Texas) and for the most part I am a very independent and introspective person. Art and self expression have always been a big part of my life. I grew up heavily influenced by music and the fine arts. Listening to my parents Michael Jackson and Beatles LP's, constantly sketching, drawing things. I think something like that is inherent in all of us, but the ones who cultivate it and become good at it are the ones who stay interested (in some form) in it. I later moved on to playing around with technology and can vividly remember interacting with a very early Macintosh computer. By my senior year of high school I was hooked and spent time truly learning creative software and applications for the first time. I haven't looked back since!
What was your training process, did you attend art schools and did you have teachers whom you consider your mentors?
My training process specifically for the visual arts and photography has been within the past 6 years or so, and learned / perfected nearly entirely on my own. Aside from drawing inspiration from other's music and similar style that intrigued me, it honestly has been only through my own initiative, passion and love for art that I have come to learn what I know. But I think it's just the way I work and learn best, others work best under the instruction of others. While I did attend art and design classes throughout my entire life, I've always felt the most creative and significant moments were when I was simply experimenting on my own and not under direction of a specific mentor, teacher, tutorial, etc.
When did you choose photography as your main means of expression?
About 4 years ago when I left home for college, I got my first digital camera and took it out that very same night.. experimenting, playing, and generally starting to look at my enviornment completely differently - through a lens. As stated, I've always expressed myself creatively in some medium, and digital photography felt like a natural transition from just recently learning the creative uses of the computer's software a few years ago (although, I also wanted to purse 3d animation and modeling, but was a bit turned off by the numerical aspects, the required math involved, etc.).
Do you prefer using a traditional camera or a digital one? And, according to your experience, which are the differences, the pros and cons?
Definitely digital. I may make a few enemies in saying this (heh, as there are many who still stick to traditional film photography), but I just feel it offers so much more flexibility in terms of what you can create as well it's functionality. While there is more pressure to get your shots right the first time with film, as long as you do not allow the preview on digital to make you complacent, there is a greater ability to get exactly what you are trying to capture wherever you are out shooting with digital. Of course it is also much cheaper and easier to process your photos, and as I stated - there is so much more of a broad ability and flexibility to edit and manipulate your images as you imagine them when they are digital. Admittedly I know very little of traditional film, but from the one class I took in college, the darkroom techniques cannot compare with the near infinite possibilities that computers allow for (and will allow for in future advancements).