Simplicity Is Not Simple: Interview with a Digital Artist

How do different art forms affect both the viewer and the creator? Is art an integral feature of the human condition? What does it mean to be an artist? We asked a digital artist these questions and more in an interview about art and its essence.

I do not believe in formal artist statements. Art should speak for itself, and the artist should maintain a respectful distance and silence. I work intuitively and compulsively, believing there are archetypes that are shared among us all, but amenable to being expressed in one’s own individual style.

“Bad Moon Rising,” by Edward Michael Supranowicz

What medium/media do you typically use? Why?

I started out as a painter using traditional media, but have been doing digital paintings for the last 12 years or so. Problems with storage and wasting canvases are now solved; plus, prints can be shared with more than one person. But most importantly, digital work fits with my way of thinking and working, i.e., I can consider and reconsider, change this and that, without muddying colors.

Do you have a particular focus when it comes to visual art (e.g., does your visual art tend to represent similar themes or feature similar figures? If so, what and why?)

Too often I use an isolated figure. Part of me feels we are like Bishop Berkeley’s windowless monads. Then again, I use moons and suns and organic shapes, all of which suggest growth and connection.

“Goodbye Cruel World,” by Edward Michael Supranowicz

What initially attracted you to the art world?

It was a natural attraction as a child. It seemed to make sense to copy the world and also try to change it into something else, something new.

How has your visual art style developed/evolved over time? How/why do you believe this evolution occurred?

I stopped trying to use linear perspective, allowed things to inhabit their own atmospheric space, which fits with growing up in the country, with air and sun and sweat not merging into some imaginary vanishing point. Plus, I allowed myself to work more intuitively — when I tried to plan pieces, they came out as stiff and lifeless.

“Trapped in Two Dimensions,” by Edward Michael Supranowicz

What is your greatest achievement as an artist? Explain why.

To still try to be an artist. To still want to see what I can make and to still be amazed when it is actually good.

What is the story behind your art submission? What event, situation, or characteristic of human existence do your five images describe? Do they share a theme? If so, how is that theme connected to what it means to be human?

Simplicity is not simple. I use simple shapes and designs, yet they can combine in a multitude of ways. I try to express a childlike innocence, but it is filtered through experience. I believe there is an essence to each thing and person that is beyond experience and situation, but is too often confined by a need to appear more adult and sophisticated than what we really are.

“Winging It,” by Edward Michael Supranowicz

Why is this event/situation/characteristic relevant today?

There is too much pretension, fear, and striving. Some simple acceptance and enjoyment of things would help us all. Diamonds are only ancient rotted vegetation.

Do you believe art is an integral feature of the human condition? How so/why?

Yes, as much as thought, breathing, and/or a sense of humor or sense of absurdity. Otherwise, we descend into Puritanism and hypocrisy.

“Winging It #2,” by Edward Michael Supranowicz

What does it mean to you to be an artist?

To be myself. To be more than what a job or title or elected position would allow me to be. And, was it St. Augustine that said, “All works of the intellect and emotions are to the glory of God?”

Edward Michael Supranowicz is the grandson of Irish and Russian/Ukrainian immigrants. He grew up on a small farm in Appalachia. He has a grad background in painting and printmaking. Some of his artwork has recently or will soon appear in Fish Food, Streetlight, Another Chicago Magazine, The Door Is a Jar, The Phoenix, and other journals. Edward is also a published poet.

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