Rochester, NY, United States
About Doug Steward
Art has lost its everyday purpose. Art is too stuffy and self involved, too many "Do not touch" and "Do not think" signs these days. People are not getting a visceral understanding of what the artist is trying to say, express and feel. Many of my friends and family do not understand the art world and they find it very strange that people would pay millions for recreated Campbell soup cans, Sharks in tanks of formaldehyde, etc.. Artists, curators, and collectors have lost their way in creating, displaying and experiencing art with the public. We are caught up in creating art to sell, and we have abandoned our right to inform, teach and make viewers think for themselves. People need to get involved with art once again. I therefore have to remove all the stuffy rules and create an art piece that requires people to physically interact with my art and walk away with a smile and a thoughtful lesson. Breaking the rules to push my statements, I have started to create a series of Automata that requires the viewer to look, read, touch and interact with the piece by turning a crank to make the sculpture move. I am working on a series of Automatons or Kinetic sculptures titled "Pretty Grim Tales", each piece is a reinvention of the common English nursery rhymes to make a comment on our current political, economic and social situations. Each piece requires that I find a suitable tale and then re-envision it, create a new set of words for the nursery rhyme verse, create the characters, carve and paint them and then design the mechanics of the piece to create movement when an external crank is turned. It is surprising to me how I have to force people at galleries and even in my studio to touch and interact with them. However once they do they laugh and smile and make comments to others about the statement that I'm trying to make and they walk away talking about and thinking about my new "Pretty Grim Tale". The goal is to make people interact with art in a playful and meaningful way that will change their views, outlook, make them think and hopefully make them laugh and remember. The viewer must interact with the art piece to get the full experience of what my statement is, with the act of playful interaction the viewers normal thought process is interrupted and this allows my socal statement to sneak in. With luck they will take this interaction with my art piece and talk to others about it and how it made them feel. The overriding goal is to make people interact with art in a playful and meaningful way that will change their views, outlook, make them think and hopefully make them laugh and remember. I think that the worst reaction from anyone to my art work would be - - indifference.
State University of New York College at Brockport BS, Art and Computer Science 1977 – 1981 Art: Printmaking, Photography, Painting. Computer Languages: C, Pascal, Fortran, Assembler.