Artist Interview: Peter Forster

1.    What have you been up to? Do you have anything coming up you want to talk about?  I do, but I cannot talk about it right now.

2.    How did you get involved with art? I was born into it, my father was a painter and professor of art.  And my mother was a museum director.

3.    What do you say when people ask you “what do you do?” I try to avoid telling people that I do art.  When I do, I usually throw out a few test questions to see what level of engagement they are on.

4.    From where do you derive your inspiration?  For me it is sometimes a distillation process, other times it hits my like a baseball bat across the head.  Sometimes it is just out of grasp, and teases me.  The best way for me is to practice the fundamentals, anatomy study, composition study, drapery study then ideas start to float.  I learn more about composition from musicians than from other visual artists.

5.    What's something that most people just don't understand about your field?  They don’t think it is a way to make a living, as if just getting by or going on is all there is.  Art affirms our humanity, and insures our future as a species.

6.    What's something that continues to interest you about your work? I like to examine ancient art, like that of the Greeks.  There is no longer any Greek Temples to witness what things were like, so I go to the Hindu Temples and see the similarities.  The Greeks must have put Garlands on the Gods, and feed them as the Hindus do.  There is an active buzz in the Temple as people scurry about giving offerings and lighting incense.  It had to be very similar in the Peloponnese and Macedonia.  

7.    What new idea or innovation is having the most significant impact on how people think about art? I hope not to offend, but modern art is all there is right now.  It is no longer cutting edge, and is the main curriculum and focus of all Universities and Museums.  There does not remain any true sculpture masters to teach young people these days.  So I ask, who is going to build tomorrows monuments?  The Chinese did ML King, no professor in the USA can teach this any more.  The eye has to be trained with rigor, and that is what is being lost.  

8.    What's an emerging trend that you have reserves about?  I see great young talent emerging, truly gifted people with boundless energy.  

9.    Please tell us about your training and how you transitioned to where you are today.  I was groomed to be an artist, my dad took my drawings from (me) when I was ten to college, to show college students.  I wrote my first university curriculum at seventeen. An introduction to art, and Why man Creates. I believe that was 1973.  I worked with an old master sculptor for ten years starting in 1969.  

10.    What artistic accomplishments are you most proud of?  My next project.

11.    What is your state of mind when you are creating?  Despair, pain, elation, fear, confidence doubt.  

12.     Does your social and political climate impact your artistic expression?  For my work, expressing a political view is not my job.  I Defer to the Vedic text the Arthashastra , by Chanakya, on how to be a complete ruler of men.  Reading the Arthashastra you realize that the biggest criminals are those who are always in charge.  It has always been that way, and will continue.  But some of these criminals have been my best clients.  Raphael “We pimp beauty to the highest bidder.”

13.     Are you thinking about the viewer’s psychology of experiencing your art when you create?  No, but I continually address my own issues.    

14.     What emotion would you say plays the biggest role in your art?  To be an artist, you have to truly live by faith.  Sometimes there are long gaps between commissions, and you just have to go to your studio every day and work.  GK Chesterton put it best when he said, to live a life of faith, you have to be prepared to be a fool.  

15.     Do you have any experience in the Orlando art scene? What have you seen or heard?  The Ballet is barely funded, there is no Opera, and what happened to the Symphony?  There is no more classical music on WMFE.  But the reverse is happening in the Visual Arts.  I think the Orlando visual art scene is really starting to get some traction.  I sense a huge surge coming to Orlando.  I say why not, the tide has been out long enough.  The energy is here.

16.    What advice would you give a young person considering a career as an artist?  Run away as fast as possible, get a good job have a happy life.  

17.     If you could go back to when you started creating art and give yourself some advice, what would it be? Don’t listen to anyone else but yourself.  Don’t trust anyone but yourself.  Doubt everyone, but never yourself!