Art Center Features Russ Widstrand
A Q&A from Art Center College of Design's Alumni Tumblr page...
What have been the greatest rewards and challenges you’ve encountered on your current path? I graduated from ArtCenter in 1982 as a photography major. Since then, incredible challenges have taken place in the photography industry, most of them in the last 15 years. The most impactful shift has clearly been the internet, with its ability to flatten the marketplace through worldwide distribution and democratization… for better or worse. Second to that would be digital technologies, of which I was an early adopter.
Describe a pivotal challenge or decision you’ve made in your career or creative practice? A pivotal decision that most affected my career was leaping with both feet into the world of digital photo-illustration in 1990. This decision garnered worldwide attention for a unique style that I developed.
What are some of your most reliable sources of creative inspiration? Meditation, yoga and journalling would have to be my most reliable source of creative fuel. That and the slow process of waking up often provides inspiration for my visual expression and fine art.
What’s your most vivid or valuable memory from ArtCenter? My most valuable memory from Art Center would be the “animal house” on Marengo that I lived in and shared with artists and designers from all disciplines. The cross pollination that this environment provided was enlightening, creative and fun. That and the smell of fixer from something called a darkroom - now extinct - is what I remember.
Describe your current project, creative practice or career path.
My creative contours are serpentine. I freelanced for the multinational design community shooting for Fortune 100 companies: developed a unique style of photo-illustration: rebelled against that digital "box" with my “Pear Series” photographs and now participate in the fine art collective the Daily Photo Game. The DailyPhotoGame.com is a visual dialogue amongst 10 professional photographers where a conversation takes place between images.
It is an inspirational challenge every 10 days to respond to another photographer’s work and create my own response in a matter of hours. This short deadline reminds me of Art Center and its creative and unrelenting demands.
What advice would you give a fellow ArtCenter alum considering a similar path?
Bucking the popular trend in lifestyle photography, I believe that it is how an artist thinks that differentiates them in the context of time.