PM360: Tell us about how you became involved in wildlife art and what inspires you?
Friedman: As someone who still thoroughly loves to explore nature, I grew up fueling an insatiable interest in the outdoors. My earliest memories were filled with Norman Rockwell-like images observing wildlife in their natural habitat. These experiences, and the desire to capture, relive and share these experiences with others are the passion and inspiration for the wildlife art I create.
When you create art, what is your process?
All the artwork I create begins with graphite (pencil). This is the foundational element for all my work, especially in my paintings where a good under-drawing is essential. As someone who maintains several sketch journals (they’re an obsession of mine!), working in pencil allows me the freedom to draw virtually anywhere, anytime rather than just in my studio. These journals are where I capture various composition ideas and design layouts for my artwork. While some have commented that my art looks “real,” I do not strive for hyperrealism like many artists. I prefer being able to visualize the human touch within the piece. The pencil marks and brush strokes, which are the artists’ expression and otherwise “imperfections” of the piece are what provides the rich character and a more meaningful, emotional connection between the artist, the viewer and the artwork. This multi-dimensionalism is how an otherwise static canvas covered in various colors of paint actually takes on a life of its own.
What’s been your most memorable experience as an artist?
As a frequent attendee of wildlife art shows, I have become very close friends with some of the most accomplished wildlife artists in the world. It’s through these relationships that I continue to learn and strive to improve my artwork. A few years ago at one of the largest wildlife art shows in the country, I took several prints I had created with the intent of gathering feedback from other artists whose level of skill I deeply respect and aspire to. While at this show, one particular artist, Carl Brenders, who is recognized as the premier wildlife artist in the world, and who is a dear friend of mine, was signing autographs for an incredibly long line of admiring patrons. As I walked by, he called me into his booth. We started talking about art and I shared my collection of prints with him. The crowd was noticeably taken aback wondering whom this “unknown artist” was being invited into this celebrity’s booth and causing such a disruption with art of his own. As I shared these prints, he commented very positively about my artwork, and then delicately removed two prints from my hands (titled Gun Dog and True Colors) and very respectfully asked if I would autograph them for him to add to his personal collection! That was truly a most memorable and surreal experience to say the least!
That sounds fascinating. What would you ultimately like to achieve with your art?
Regardless of the subject matter, my goal is to provide viewing pleasure and to foster a positive emotional connection between the viewer and my artwork. If I accomplish that, I have succeeded. That simple, yet challenging pursuit, especially given the subjectivity of art, is also at the very core of what keeps me drawing and painting. To view more of my work, please visit: www.wildlifeartcreations.com.