Zach Murray – Interview

I met up with Zach over Zoom to discuss what it’s like being an artist. Through this interview I wanted to find out, how Zach’s experience as an artist could help and inspire others, we approached the subject from two different perspectives ; a creative and critical. What follows is our enlightening conversation:

M-How do you overcome lack of inspiration?

Z- Thinking about the last time I experienced artist’s block, I feel like I am quite good at preventing it. What I do is I usually start by looking at magazines that are relevant to my art. I do a lot of science fiction, so I’ve bought a book from an artist called Tim White and I look through that. Doing this means that I have some sort of reference to start with, instead of just sitting and looking at my computer. Having said that, if I feel like I’ve ran out of ideas..protocol is; take a week break! I do nothing art related, it’s usually when you have no access to anything that you can make art with that I become flooded with ideas.

M- Do you feel like it is necessary to overcome that lack of inspiration? Could it be something that you can just accept?

Z- I’m in a position where I can kind of accept it. I don’t do a lot of commissions so I have no deadlines or anything. I try to accept it and think it’s ok, it will come back.But I also understand artists putting pressure on themselves and feeling like they always need to be creating. It’s not always possible.

M- Do you follow a routine when it comes to making art? 

Z- Yes, I want to be mobile and I want my mind to be stimulated. I follow a routine in my life, I like start the day by being active so going out makes me feel energised and inspiration comes to me easier.

M- What difficulties do you face when trying to experiment with a new medium or style?

Z- I guess, being afraid to try it is the first thing. I used to think that different things are too hard to even try. But now I have changed into thinking, that its ok to be bad on your first try. You can also watch tutorials and you know just giving it a go! As long as you have the information on how to do it, you can try anything.

M- Are you worried about how a new style will be received?

Z- Definitely. I think that a lot. A lot of my popular pieces are portraits or pieces that have to do with people. But the thing is, even though that’s quite popular I also like other styles, like science fiction, and landscapes. There is always that complex of what if nobody likes this and they keep focusing on my old stuff? Is it going to be worth it? [trying a new style]. But because I’m so interested in other things, I just get on with it. I think you should always do what you’re interested in, although it’s good to listen to what others say. If I go back and do more pieces with people it feels like I’m regressing. What is your experience with that kind of stuff?

M- I think evolving or changing in any aspect of your life is very complicated. It has to do with carrying a part of your past, like you with the portrait pieces. You carry it because people like it, and then it becomes a part of your identity. It’s definetely confusing having people focusing on what you did in the past.

Z- I agree! Even with my old stuff, I really like it and want to do more of it. But it’s hard to put myself back in that position because I have moved on.

M-Where do you draw inspiration from? And how do you go from seeing something that you find inspiring to making it yours and using it for your art?

Z- Ok so, for example I watched this movie June. I was really impressed by the structures in it, so I set myself this challenge of figuring out how to do it. I see something that I feel like is hard to do and I think ok let’s try this, let’s solve this problem. It becomes a self-learning process. For digital art, you have to think about how someone has produced what you see, there’s no tutorials.

M- Is it the challenge part of the process that leads to you making it yours instead of just replicating? 

Z- Yes, this whole thing is about challenge! That is it! It is within that process that you find your own art. It is from learning new things.

M- How do you view your career as an artist?

Z- It’s intersting. I’m trying to view it differently from my previous career, where you do  a job for a certain amount of time and then you go up a level. I try to view this part of my life differently, it should be something that grows, and develops alongside with my personal life. I view it as life long dedication. I would be interested to see what other people say.

M- What difficulties did you face entering the art world and how has it changed?

Z-Trying to find your identity I guess, where to put my work to be seen. It’s hard knowing how to approach things, it’s not like applying for a normal job. In the art world it works differently, I don’t what the right way of doing that. So that is the challenge that I’ve faced and I’m still facing.

M-What effect would you want your work to have on the viewers?

Z- Very simple things. I would want them to think that they like what they see, that they’d want to be there [in the image]. They want to visit that place! That’s what I get when I look at work from , for example Tim White, I want to know what it’s like there. I create places that I think would be nice to visit.

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