CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?
CS: I would describe my work as having a photo-journalistic style of photography where the subject is interacting with it’s environment. A lot of the time they feel like film stills.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
CS: A lot of my inspiration comes from looking at contemporary photographers work and browsing tumblr for hours. Philip Lorca-DiCorcia is a big inspiration of mine.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
CS: A lot of times I’ll base what i’m doing on my location or subject and then proceed to build the rest of the project around it. It’s different for every shoot. I always find a different piece of the puzzle first.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
CS: I try to make a scene that tells a story, starting from the middle. What happened before and after are up to the viewer I suppose.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
CS: I just started working in photography full time so it’s definitely been a time to hustle. When I’m not working commercially, I’m working on personal projects. I’m always moving. It’s hard to relax sometimes when I know something has to get done. I’m always looking for people to take pictures of. My lifestyle is fairly bare-bones and minimal. I don’t like to have a ton of fancy or expensive things. I always make time to be around friends and family.
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
CS: I think everyone has a different approach to this and it definitely isn’t always cookie-cutter for me. Some days my brain is really working and I can just jump into a project, but other times I’ll really have to plan it out or just wait until the ideas do come. It really all depends on what the project is.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
CS: Always go with your gut on your vision. If you’re wrong, you will find out soon enough. If you’re right, you’ll find that out too. Take advice from people you trust, but always go with what you think is right.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
CS: Those are both very important. I think that is the only thing in art that can’t be taught. It only comes naturally.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
CS: Making money to live is pretty hard, but if you are outgoing and can network, you’ll be fine.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
CS: It’s always challenging and I think that keeps life exciting and keeps you growing.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?
CS: Philip Lorca-Dicorcia is my favorite photographer. I’ll never understand what he does with light and how he gets the quality he does. Seeing his “Hustlers” project was eye opening to say the least.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
CS: Technology is very useful, but it’s still all just to be used as a tool. You have to be in control and know what you want. Having so many options can be a bad thing as well.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
CS: I think when you are constantly studying art and learning about it, there’s no way you couldn’t have a different view. I think it helps you to look at the world conceptually.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
CS: I do like traveling, but I love my home. I really like Reykjavik when I visited earlier this year. It was really relaxed during the day and really came alive at night.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
CS: I don’t prefer to read actually. I wish I did, but I can’t focus on it long enough.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
CS: Eventually I would love to have a large studio that my brother and I could work in. I’d like to work on long term photo projects full time.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
CS: It means that I have the freedom to make things, and hopefully people will like what I do or feel something when they look at it. Good or bad is fine with me, as long as they feel something.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
CS: The aesthetic of my work is the most important part. When I’m taking photos, that’s mostly what I’m thinking about. I try to stay consistent, but as my tastes change and I grow, my work grows as well. Aesthetic is the key to getting people interested in what you’re trying to say. That gives them an opportunity to look deeper or longer.
CHECK OUT MORE ON: CHRIS SCHOONOVER