Urban Atelier: So you recently finished your 365Project, which was a photography adventure that you completed over a year. Tell me a little about it and why you decided to do the project.
Greg: For the 365Project, I took one photo a day, every day, for one year. It's a project I had seen in many forms over the years executed by various artists. I had always wanted to start such a project on the 1st of January, but it had always slipped my mind when that date rolled around. So on January 1, I was walking the dog and I snapped a photo. It struck me that the project had finally begun! I decided that I would announce the project via Facebook and post the daily photos there as a way to keep myself honest. Once others knew I was doing the project, It would be more difficult to let it lapse. I then decided on two simple rules. I could only use my iPhone to capture, edit and share the photos and the photos had to be taken the day they were posted.
Urban Atelier: Do you focus on particular subject matter?
Greg: Nothing in particular. Everything is fair game. Landscape, abstraction, still life…my goal is always to create a strong image, regardless of the subject matter. Usually a composition or lighting situation or color combination presents itself and I’ll document that, but I do on occasion obsess over a particular subject. Most recently, that subject has been vintage signs around St. Petersburg. I started out taking a few pictures of local signs as part of the 365Project. After I collected a handful of vintage sign images through that project, I decided to develop them into a standalone project. That project consists of a website and full-color photo book featuring 16 local vintage signs: http://vintagestpete.com/
Urban Atelier: Do you work primarily in photography or do you work in other media as well?
Greg: I primarily work in photography, as I find its the most accessible medium. With digital photography, the medium has become very democratic in that it is not imperative to have expensive equipment and dedicated working space. While I do have a decent DSLR camera and professional editing software that I use quite a bit, I am also very proud of the body of work I have created using just my iPhone.
Urban Atelier: Keeping the fact that you used Facebook instead of a traditional gallery setting to show your work do you think submitting your work to traditional galleries is still a worthwhile process?
Absolutely. In fact, after the 365Project received some local attention, I was invited to participate in a photography show at a local gallery. Facebook was great for very superficial feedback, by which I mean that I could only judge the relative success of an image by whether (and how often) it was "Liked". In the gallery setting, the feedback was much more in depth. I had some wonderful conversations with everyone from professional photographers to everyday art fans and I could really get a sense of how deeply affected these viewers were by a particular image. Nothing can replace that face to face interaction.
Urban Atelier: Did you go to school for art? Do you feel that you’d be a different artist if you hadn’t gone to school for the arts?
Greg: I received a Degree of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Florida, and I later received a Degree in Graphic Design from the University of South Florida. I feel the experience of attending university for the arts was invaluable. Creatively, I feel you either have "it" in you or you don't. You can't teach creative sensibility. But you can further develop that sensibility through exposure to other artists, alternate methods of working, various materials and media and feedback from other creative people. I know for a fact that I would not be the same artist I am today had it not been for my education in the arts.
Urban Atelier: Have you become more or less daring as an artist as you’ve gotten older? If yes, in what way? If no, do you think it is necessary to take chances as an artist?
Greg: I've never been particularly daring, and that has worked out for me so far. I guess it all depends on your individual goals and whether pushing yourself out of a particular comfort zone would help you reach them. I've never felt that I hadn't gone far enough on something, although I don't know if it would necessarily be a conscious decision to do so. I've always just done what I wanted to do.
Urban Atelier: You don't think putting your work up on Facebook for the world to see and critique is a little daring?
Hmm…I never thought about it that way. I tried to put such a high standard on the quality of images that would ultimately be posted that I never really feared outright rejection. I guess it was more that I was honestly sharing images that I already loved, and any positive feedback was a bonus. Plus, I think its a very passive way to put your work out there. You have the option of whether or not to engage those that have reacted to your work on Facebook, versus a gallery setting where its much more interactive and you must react to feedback in real-time and in the flesh. I think that is FAR more daring.
Urban Atelier: Have there been obstacles to practicing your craft? How did you move beyond them?
Greg: As with most artists, my main obstacle is time. Between the "day job" and other "adult" responsibilities, there's not much time left for creating. That is why the 365Project was such a wonderful exercise. I HAD to find time to create an image because I had a daily deadline. After having a full year of daily deadlines, I got in a habit of making time to do something creative. The project officially ended on December 31, but even now I still post a daily photo. I am not beholden to follow the same rules, so that has allowed me to revisit some previous photographs that didn't fit the criteria for the 365Project.
Urban Atelier: What part of your life do you feel has been most influential in your work?
Greg: Being married to another creative person has had a great influence on my own creativity. Kelly and I share a uniquely compatible aesthetic, so we both act as sounding boards for one another. She can fill the gaps in how I may be approaching a problem, leading to a more successful, well-developed solution. We also share an affinity for travel, from which I draw much inspiration, both for design and photography.
Urban Atelier: When did you know that you are an artist?
Greg: At an early age. I would draw comic strip characters by sight almost perfectly without actually tracing. My mother and grandmother noticed this and were (and are) very supportive and have always encouraged my artistic development. While I had been interested in various professions growing up, I always knew I would end up in a creative field. Thankfully, I was never pressured to consider something more "practical". If anything, there would have been more disappointment if I HADN'T gone into the arts.
Urban Atelier: Do you have any rituals or habits that you observe before or while working?
Greg: Nothing in particular, although I guess you could call the final part of my process a habit. Before I can send anything I have created out into the world, I run it by Kelly for her seal of approval. Being so close to what you are creating can produce a certain tunnel vision at times, so having someone with a similar aesthetic review your work can be very beneficial.
Urban Atelier: Is there anything you want to make sure people know about you as an artist?
No, I think this just about covers it. I'm usually not very analytical about the whats or whys of my work. I do what I enjoy and hope that shows in the final product. My primary drive is to have some constant thread of personal creativity in my life. Whether that takes the form of photography, landscaping or web design doesn't matter. I'm most fulfilled when I have a project (or two, or three).