Q & A with Painter Scott Saw

In: Artist Interviews

10 Jan 2009

 Scott SawExistence is something that seems to weigh rather heavily on Scott Saw. In fact, it is the California artist’s proclivity towards big picture thinking (think space-time continuum, not stuffy business rhetoric) that has long been lending the inspiration required to produce his vibrant and fantastical creations in print, paint, and beyond.

As an homage to his own cognitive adventures and humanity’s innate sense of self-awareness through exploration, Saw has recently unveiled Microcosm – a solo exhibition of paintings on showcase from May 20 through June 10 at M Modern Gallery in Palm Springs, Ca. The installment, a product of many hours spent in comfortable isolation with his wife and son at home in San Diego, captures the ultra-heady and the sentimental simultaneously, as it marries themes like string theory with subjects like fatherhood.

A few days ago we caught up with Saw to find out more about his life in the art world and his latest offering within it.

How has having artistic parents help shape who you are today, both professionally and personally?

Growing up with a father who actively painted and had gallery shows had a huge impact on me. As a child I attended some of his art openings and saw him painting in the home studio on a daily basis. So I got to see both the creative side and the business side of an art career. Becoming and artist is a dream I have had since I was a child.

When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

After art school I did a couple coffee shop shows and then lost interest for a while. One summer while camping with some friends I decided to try a plein-air painting of the California coast… the painting I did was iffy at best – but got me motivated again… Then I discovered the underground art scene and was determined to become a part of it. I have been going strong for about 4 years now.

You have a degree in fine art and one in marketing. How has your marketing degree helped you market your work?

Having struggled as an artist, my dad encouraged me to study business in addition to art. It was a hard pill to swallow but I’m sure it has done me some good. Its funny… sometimes I will be painting a series and I will have flashes in my mind about how I will present it online. I suppose having a marketing background is not a bad thing if you take it the right way… I mean, I hate commercials, there is very little that I find interesting about mainstream marketing efforts … but there are ideas in there that can be used to help ‘get the word out’ with art.

Why did you choose to self-publish two books of your art?

For the past few years I have been creating series of paintings ranging from 20 – 30 pieces. Once they are sold and go to individual homes the bond is broken between the works. So creating the books is my way to keep these groups of images together. We live in a time where a guy like me can design a book on my home computer inside a week and pay a company a couple bucks a pop to do runs of 500 or 1000… It’s truly an amazing thing and I try to take advantage of this capability.

If you could pinpoint four characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

Good question… I suppose they are people who are aware of a facet of life that lies beneath the surface and are looking to explore that reality. At a base level my art is about existence and spirituality so I imagine people who pick up on that in my work have a similar interest and understanding.

Your upcoming show, Microcosm, explores space, nature, technology and family life. Which theme do you feel is most prevalent and why?

The most obvious is probably space… every painting appears to be to be in outer space. But every painting touches on all those elements. For example… the distant star field effect was created by spray painting through circuit board scrap. Rockets take the form of birds and fish, cities grow into tree-like structures and robots have tree trunk torsos. There is also a sense of family life in the new work. In one painting a robot father teaches his son about fishing. In another, a family of robots wave to another family member as he passes by their ultra modern space-home in a fish shaped rocket.

How has this latest installment help you develop as an artist?

Every time I create a new body of work I explore new techniques and ideas. An interesting factor that played into this series was time. I found myself within two months from this show and only had a handful of paintings. So I knew if had to drastically change the way I worked to make it all come together and get enough paintings done. So I did some experiments and came up with a twenty paintings series that I think opened some doors for me artistically. Working over a black background can be challenging… so I had to really adjust my style to make it work… in the end I’m very happy with the new work and believe it’s some of my best yet.

Becoming a father has affected your art already. Do you think fatherhood will continue to be a major source of inspiration for you?

For sure. Everything that I give my heart to finds its way into my work. Having a young son is triggering many memories of my own childhood and some of those ideas have already been incorporated into my art.

Do you feel that living in San Diego fuels your process?

I love where I live… and hope to stay here for the rest of my life. But this last series really let me know that I could be anywhere and probably get similar results. I have seriously isolated myself for the last 4 months… only left the home/studio a handful of times. So it’s pretty clear that the inspiration is coming from within.

You supplement your art income with Saw Blade Designs, your graphics company. What kinds of clients do you enjoy most?

Every once in a while I will take on a creative project with a band or artist and those are fun. I recently designed a CD and some t-shirts for Bauhaus. But I currently have a contract with a company called Mochila, which is a news content marketplace. It’s a big project and I have been working with them for a couple years now. It’s ideal in that I actually visit an office once every 3-5 months!

You’ve said that you don’t do art for the money; you do it because you need to. Explain.

I have always ‘kept my day job’ as a way of paying the bills and helping support my family. Becoming a full time artist is insane! I have been at it for 4 years and am just now beginning to see serious interest in my work. I hope one day to be able to support my family with my art. But I’m not willing to sacrifice my true vision for a buck. I’m just going to keep making art that interests me and if collectors decide to buy my art for more and more money – no complaints.

You’re working in your studio with your favorite food, drink, music, and medium. What are they?

I have been using oil paint for years. It’s a good medium for a contemplative guy like me. In the day I drink coffee and water, at night I drink fruit juice and Pacifico. Food… whatever satisfies the requirement!

Visit Scott’s Official Site: http://www.scottsaw.com/


New art by Scott Saw

May 20, 2006 – June 10, 2006

M Modern Gallery,

448 N. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs, CA

PH: (760) 416-3611 www.mmoderngallery.com


Interview By Bridget Deenihan

Thank You For Your Support – Curious Artist

1 Response to Q & A with Painter Scott Saw


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March 10th, 2007 at 12:05 am

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