In case anyone was wondering, I like to colorize images because it allows me to travel back in time without those pesky ramifications, and time machine fuel is risky and expensive to use. It also lets me expand my reach, and allows me to make things, I could never get with my own camera. I don’t like traveling much, I’m an inside kind of person. Yet there are vast resources of free images, and I can travel as far as I want.
What’s your background?
I’ve done stained glass for over 20 years, starting when young. I learned at a summer workshop, doing one class when I was 9. I liked it so then 2 classes, 3, then 4, and it pretty much took up my morning. From there I built a workshop, and it took off. It’s hard to say how long it took to learn it but I did it for about 25 years. I would still be doing it if I didn’t own a computer, or get into photography, or run out of space. I switched to photography at least 15 years ago, learned to colorize and did that for 3-4 years now.
I find it interesting that people think I colorize only, when in fact I am a photographer first and foremost.
Does your artwork come from that background?
The photography part of it does, but I always used photos to make glasswork.
What are you trying to say with your work?
Nothing. Art has no meaning to me, no real feeling. I hope it means something to someone else.
What made you choose the medium you work with?
Once you get past the camera, its cheap. No chemicals, no burns, its safe, inside, away from sunlight and so on. For me it had an easy learning curve. When I worked with glass, the supplies are expensive. If you slipped you would cut your hand open. Burns were possible as well. When I work with photography, its kind of free.
Do you work in a studio?
When I did stained glass I had a studio. With digital and photography, I have a home built computer. 2 large screens, and a huge mess on my desk… who has time to clean?
What is the one thing in your studio you just could not be without?
Wacom tablet, (Intous Medium), I use it for everything. That and a laser mouse – I’m soooo done, cleaning that ball in the mouse.
Who are your biggest influences?
When it was stained glass, I’d say Tiffany and LaFarge. For photography and such, I really don’t have any.
What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?
I don’t have any real favorites. I tend to forget what I last made when I focus on a new piece.
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
When it was glass, it could take a week or two.
A photo will take only a few hours, even if its an HDR
A digital photo will take a week or so depending what it is.
A colorized image usually takes between 4-20 collective hours.
How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?
You know its done, when its done. I can walk away with confidence that i’m done. However in the future, I may see the flaws I didn’t see the first time.
What project are you working on now?
I’m finishing my 389th colorized image. (Before I had this published I finished that one,
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I don’t think anyone gave me any kind of advice, or I never listened to them. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t talk to people, they don’t talk back.
What was the first piece of art you sold?
That I can’t remember, I’ve been selling for a pretty long time. And if I counted the stained glass stuff… That would trail back to high school, maybe earlier.
Do you find it hard to navigate the artworld?
If I learn something new, its confusing. Stained glass I learned when I was 9 years old. Photography took me longer, but I was able to really experiment with digital. It took me over 6 months to get the hang of colorizing, and a year to really nail it down.
Selling it is always confusing, what works this month won’t next. And what’s popular now won’t be later. You have to be a real salesman, of which I am not, due to my hermit lifestyle.
What are you personally doing to advance your work career?
I’m just a local suburban boy, I’m not some city slicker, I can only do what I know how to do, which isn’t a whole lot. I can’t see myself going to galleries and stuff like that. I can only increase my product range.
How do you price your work and why do you price it that way?
I don’t really have a method, I just try something and see if it sticks. Wish it was more scientific than that.
Do you use social networking in your day to day life?
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mike.savad
Twitter – https://twitter.com/MikeSavad
Google + – https://plus.google.com/u/0/103135376608986610292
Instagram (though I don’t update much) – https://www.instagram.com/mikesavad/Is there anything that really annoys you about the artworld?
People that take my ideas, locations, angles etc, then sells against me. There is too much competition, anyone with a phone considers themselves an artist, and it seems to get harder and harder to sell.
To stay on top of technology, its quite expensive if you want the right gear.
What advice would you give new artists?
Break away from your own work, don’t attach yourself to it, or anyone that comments on it, you may end up with hurt feelings. Learn how to give yourself a critique, always be honest with your own work. Look at it when your done and say – is this the best I can offer, can I make it look better? Is there something that is distracting in it? Should I clone it out, fix it, adjust it etc?
Every piece you do should be the advertisement for the next piece. There should never be the attitude of – it will do, they will never notice the mistake etc. Always make every image or creation your best. It will be just your luck that the one image your not proud of, that’s the one piece someone will find, and end up not looking at the rest because the image itself was less than stellar.
Always challenge yourself to get better. Every now and then do a challenge project, something that is hard to do. Something outside of your normal art. When I did glass work, I would increase the pieces, or the curves, or the shapes (I made a lot of 3d work). After, not only will your skills increase, but anything below it will seem easy by comparison. Its sort of like learning how to speak Latin, before you learn Spanish.
Have you got hobbies?
Beyond art, I go to garage sales and I collect and restore tools.
I collect tools. No one gets them till Ii die. It’s important to have at least 12 of each thing; for no particular reason though. Mostly i want each size of each thing, usually unusual tools.
I can’t call it collection since I call them tools and i use them.
I’m running out of space and couldn’t count the amount I have. Probably over a 100 hammers/mallets of different kinds. I don’t yet have a full size anvil, but should I find one at a sale, and its a good price, and I can lift it, I will probably put it some place. I do have one made from a rail road track. and I’m starting to collect vises, despite the lack of space.
The basement is densely packed and I took over the furnace room, a closet, the back porch.
I guess I’m a pro hoarder, but i use the stuff I get.
I like to think that I have whatever the heck it is I need for that particular job. and as long as I can remember where I put it, or where I would put it now, or in the general vicinity of where it should be, then I can find it and use it.
I still do stained glass now and then, but as hobby only (I ran out of space years ago).
Where are you based?
Beyond art, I go to garage sales, I collect and restore tools. I still do stained glass now and then, but as hobby only (I ran out of space years ago).
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