Thursday Spotlight: Grant Conboy

Tell us about your background.

I am a native to Rochester, New York. I got my BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2010, and I’m currently working on my MFA in Painting at The Academy of Art Architecture and Design in Prague, Czech Republic. In my childhood, I spent a lot of time traveling around the world, and camping in the woods of New York State.

Name some people, artists, artistic genres, etc. that have been influential in your work.

Although I don’t use any sound in my work, this is the sense that most often lingers in my mind. I enjoy a wide variety of music, but the tunes that really hit me right in the gut come from Elgar and Brahms. I don’t read nearly enough, but Hrabal and Steinbeck read like how I experience memories, and this gives me the chills. If anything is going to influence or stay with me, I need that feeling. Therefore, this is what I strive to recreate in my own work.

Where and how do you get your ideas?

Recently I’ve been getting most of my ideas from dreams, secrets, and memories. Ideas can come from anywhere- turning them into something comprehensible is the real trick. If ever I’m feeling stuck, I’ll grab my pen and start making lists on any scrap of paper I can find.

What materials do you work with? Describe your technical processes.

I work with whatever materials are necessary. It’s important to choose your materials carefully, but never to limit yourself too early on. I’m a big advocate for cheap or even found materials, otherwise good ideas can get stifled in precious hesitation.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of being creative? What is the best part of being creative?

The hardest part of creativity, is for me, the creating part. My brain is constantly flooded with ideas- to the point where it becomes difficult to focus in on just one. I suppose, that’s more of a personal brain problem rather than one specific to creativity. The most frustrating thing about being creative is society’s assumption that it’s effortless. I’ve worked a lot of physically exhausting jobs, and I wish that being creative could be as easy as digging ditches and cleaning toilets.

The best thing about being creative is the limitless potential that it provides. There is always a way to make the things in your head come about, you just have to work and work and work.

What advice would you give to someone seeking advice about being an artist?

Be honest, honesty is the key to making successful work. If you’re being a phony, people will sniff that out immediately and you and your work will deservedly get laughed at.

Grant’s website
Grant’s blog

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