Alan Derrick - This Is Not Your Parents Artwork – Part 2
The following is a continuation of our spotlight on Artpromotivate, of Alabama, USA 3D metal pop artist Alan Derrick.
Find the first part here: Alan Derrick Artist – 3D Metal Pop Art – Part 1
Tibetan Tantric Skull Art Zoom Detail © Alan Derrick
Tell us about your process of creation
I do most all my design work on a computer before I actually start to make anything. My creative process starts with my digging through my folder of ideas and suggestions. From there, I will spend some time researching subjects on line looking for available images of popular subjects and digging deeper to understand what is behind their popularity. While I'm doing that, Mike my assistant will interrupt me to explain that something went terribly wrong. When I'm done dealing with that, I get my focus back and start doing preliminary tests (sketch ideas) to see if what I'm picturing my head will translate well into my medium. But before I'm through with that, my wife Nina will interrupt me to get the artist statement that I did not get to last week. Before I'm done dealing with her, Mike will interrupt Nina's interruption. So I ask that he and the creative process each take a number.
Once I settle on what I want to do, I will build layers of images, one on the other in digital form. I use a Wacom tablet with stylus to draw, erase, draw again, and blend forms until I get the design I want to make in a form that pleases me. This is done in black and white. It is a labour-some and time consuming process.
Then I must go convert and adapt the design so that it can be cut out of metal with my CNC plasma cutter. The plasma cutter works like a printer or plotter, but cuts metal with a super heated stream of gas like a laser. The whole thing is very impressive, high tech, and all that stuff. Visitors tend to be awe struck, except sometimes the machine will crash into the surface and do major damage and fuel lots of cussing. It is usually Mike's fault (never my fault) and so then he will interrupt me during the creative process. I usually have to go back and change the design a little to make it not crash. In fact the manufacturer of the machine told me it would not make the art that I make just before I purchased the machine. Good thing I did not listen.
Kurt Cobain Art © Alan Derrick
This 3D mixed media artwork pays tribute to Kurt Cobain, best known as front man for the grunge music band Nirvana. In it the tragedy of his life and death has been explored by the artist, Alan Derrick.
After the parts are cut out, they are marked up and hardware is welded on. This involves flying sparks, noise, and dirt. All of that must be washed off with environmentally friendly cleanser (had to slip that in) and prepared for painting.
Before I paint the parts, I come up with the color scheme on my computer. I have to do it that way because I cannot tell what the finished artwork will look like until the paint has dried and the parts have been assembled. It's still a stab at best. Sometimes the finished artwork ends up looking nothing like what I did on the computer. In that case, I must do the green thing and smash my new artwork up placing it in the recycling bin. (Notice how green I am) Other times, my expectations are met, but just barely.
To paint the parts, they are hung on easels. I work in a spray booth and wear protection as it is kind of dangerous otherwise. I spray and splatter the paint on with an automotive spray gun. I tried once to brush the paint on, but I cannot paint with a brush or draw things right, so I just ruined the art. Everyone knows that splattering paint is fun and looks very cool. So, that is how I always do it.
The final step is assembly and inspection. That is when I sign, date, and number the piece. After I hang it on the wall and step back to take a look, I will either ok it to be sold, or do the green thing and smash it up for the recycling bin.
I did that for a few years early on. I found it to be something that cost me more than I got in return. I got into shows and all, but the application process and fees, shipping costs, damage, tied up inventory, and all that was more than I could bear. Besides, I get enough rejection without having to pay for it.
Tibetan Tantric Skull Art © Alan Derrick
This 3D mixed media artwork pays tribute to the art of Tibetan Tantric Skulls crafted from real human skulls.
Have you sold any of your art?
Yes, a lot for too little, mostly on-line; also, a little to friends and relatives. Compliments are appreciated, but there is no greater compliment than when someone buys your work.
How have you promoted your art online?
The usual - Etsy, eBay, AlanDerrick.com, Google Shopping, Facebook, Blog, SEO, Email list (managed responsibly), PPC. I tried Amazon, but they ignored me.
When I was young, I worked for my father unpacking GE appliances for display in his furniture and appliance store. I noticed that the appliances were splattered with black and white paint specs on the back. I thought that was an attractive finish. So, 30 years later, when I was trying to figure out how to paint my art, I figured that I would do the same thing since I only messed things up when I tried to paint with a brush.
Wind of God Art © Alan Derrick
This 3D mixed media artwork pays tribute to Wind of God, by Ascend the Hill. In it the concept of peace within one's self has been explored by the artist, Alan Derrick.
Can you recommend another artist to us?
Shepard Fairey: He got sued for ripping off the Obama image and then became rich and famous. If that's not pop art, what is? Actually, that was an egregious act and no one should ever aspire to do such a thing. Instead, I recommend Andy Warhol. He never ripped off any images did he?
Any memorable achievements?
I got honorable mention for a work of art I had in a local show a few years back. But then that is enough bragging about the greatness of my creations... Actually, now that I think about it things have been a bit uneventful.
Do you have any embarrassing moments in your life?
My wife and I joined the mile high club. I arranged for a pilot to take us up in a private plane with champagne and all that. Very cool event. Later, like within the year, we were on a cruise attending one of those interactive shows they do. It was a packed house and Adults only. They got a bunch of couples up on stage. The men had to go around back where we could not hear anything. The MC asked the wives to describe the most romantic thing ever, etc. Of course the audience was privy to the responses. Apparently it was decided that everyone else's story was lame by comparison to my wife's story. (I am keeping this G rated) They brought the husbands back out and asked us to guess what our wives described. When they got to me, I could not think of a thing. True, I could not give them one single romantic event ever. Needless to say, we lost. On top of that, I spent the rest of the time on that ship being reminded of my blunder. I mean like it was relentless, the one-liners never stopped.
Would there be anything you would do differently if you could live your life over again?
Study harder in school. Oh, and not drop out of typing class.
Plans for the future of your art
Do it until I can't.
Advice for emerging artists?
You will be advised by the experts to reject the influences of commercialism and to embrace pure and unadulterated creativity for creativity's sake. These same experts will also advise that you maintain/develop an alternate source of income. If you take their advice, be sure to take it in its entirety.