CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?
JS: I’d describe my photography as fun and classic. I have several subject matters that interest me from commissioned lifestyle fashion projects to my ongoing documentation of southern culture. I approach them and everything in between with the same curious emersion and desire to create a fun and/or classic moment.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
JS: I draw inspiration from everything… from my daily life with my wife and our son to music, and anything americana. Really just anything can spark an idea for me.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
JS: As I said, I am inspired by all sorts of things daily. So my creative process is to first pin down one of the random ideas I have floating around in my head. Once I sort of have it, I start scribbling in a journal, collecting visual inspiration both tangible and virtually. Then I start a production schedule. Sometimes it’s as simple as – get camera and go create images, sometimes it’s a timeline and pre-lim for all the major parts of the project – casting, scouting, permits, budgets, etc. After all this fun and stressful stuff… it’s time to start making pictures. Either way it all starts with the daily inspiration.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
JS: A happy feeling.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
JS: **Readers must read this answer with enthusiasm – It’s great and it’s shitty. But it’s mostly great. It’s great because I do what I want to do for a living. I’m a creative person and am able to bring my ideas to life. I get to support my family with my hobby and that’s pretty rad if you ask me! It’s shitty because I have to support my family with my hobby and that can get a little scary sometimes when the real world problems decide to pop up. But like I said it’s mostly great because I’m the boss. And I’m a pretty chill boss!
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?
JS: It is definitely important for me to have a plan or creative direction to follow. I don’t always follow it, but it’s important for me to have this to communicate with the team on the project or to keep myself on track. This makes it easier for me to be spontaneous as Im not having to focus on the core stuff or plan as I go… I like a loose structure.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
JS: Follow your gut.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
JS: I think personal style and taste are very important to who you are as a creative individual. I surround myself with the music, visuals, and other things that just inspire and motivate me. I want to stress to be yourself though. It’s important to explore new things and/or styles, as long as you’re being yourself and curating things around you because you want it that way.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
JS: The Brutal Self Critique.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?
JS: Not one in particular. With access to so much stimulation via social media and google… I’m inspired and motivated so many times a day by really talented people in so many disciplines.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
JS: I think it’s so rad. There has never been a better time to be a creative person, especially a photographer. You can digitize old mediums to bring out details that you maybe never knew existed. The new possibilities with motion are out of this world. All the advancements with lighting and support. The ink jet printers that are on the market today are able to produce beautiful archival prints within a minute. And even if you’re more of a traditionalist and avoid most of the modern advancements, you can connect with like minded folks via social media, etc. The list is infinite. Like I said, there’s never been a better time to be a creative person.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
JS: I think that creative people are more receptive to everyday beauty.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
JS: Yes! my favorite place at the moment is the island of Kauai, specifically the Na Pali Coast. It’s so magical there. Truly paradise.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
JS: I like reading fantasy stuff at night before I go to sleep. JK Rowling is queen… haha.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
JS: I’m working on a short film that I’m really excited about! We’re finalizing details on the script for it now and planning to start production soon!!
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
JS: I dont really know honestly… I’m just stoked that I realized what I like to do and that I’m able to make it happen and be fulfilled creatively.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
JS: Nah, I’ll let folks have their own takeaway. And just encourage other creatives to keep on keepin’ on!
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