Art, // December 28, 2014
Derek Overfield – ARTIST
Interview with artist Derek Overfield
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Derek Overfield. I am a figurative artist, exploring and documenting the expressive power of the human form.
2. Why art?
Art, of one form or another, seems to be what impels us all, moving the world forward. For me, it’s a way to reflect back some of the greatness I see in humanity, be it through observation, mythic archetypes or historical heroes.
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
Honestly I can’t remember. However, I do remember being told that I had already long before stated that I was going to be an artist. I had apparently done that before I was even capable or remembering I had.
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
I deal almost exclusively with the human form, and nearly always with the male figure. I am currently painting with latex or acrylic paint, but I also work daily in drawing medium, such as charcoal and chalk pastel.
5. How do you work and approach your subject?
I work in a very direct manner. Drawing is direct, painting can be direct. Specifically, the type of paint I use dries in minutes. I use a video camera to capture the model in slow movement between natural poses, choose a captivating pose and begin. Lately I’ve been painting in two manners, one involving a “sgraffito” approach where I scrape lines into white paint, revealing the black beneath. This allows me to “draw” directly into paint. The second is to apply thin washes of black or subdued hues, and bring out highlights with a brush or cloth. This cloth-to-canvas action also resembles the drawing relationship of hand/medium to paper.
6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
Despite being a painter, much of my favorite art is sculpture. The ancient masters of Greece and Rome, Michelangelo, Rodin – they all brought the figure out from the depths of the picture plane, and placed it centrally, prominently in space. They celebrated the figure’s weight, its power, its presence and were captivated by its humanistic dignity.
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
I’ve been very fortunate to have students approach me through email and social media asking questions and expressing my impact on their work. This moves me beyond words.
8. What do you like about your work?
I like that it feels alive, authentic, honest and without pretense.
9. What advice would you give to other artists?
Work, and be brutal with yourself when it comes to time. We have too many distractions in our world, too many reasons not to make art.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Challenging myself, and further exploring the figure’s potential.