I was first introduced to Joe Hodnicki’s work when he was exhibiting at the San Diego Surf Film Festival back in May. I saw a few of his surf-inspired pieces but I didn’t realize his style was so varied and his connection to his work was so deep. He lives on a 20-acre farm and basques in the space he has to let his mind wander a creative path that can sometimes turn in so many dizzying directions. Here he answers our five questions with thoughtfulness and honesty.
1.) Who are your top 3 artistic influencers?
My influences are generally the artists that surround me. All types of creatives, from photographers and painters to mixed media and the performing arts. I pull inspirations from every creative mind. When you see someone who is talented, passionate and driven, it shows. I find those similarities in myself, whatever it may be… and I see how I can grow. It’s hard to pin-point only 3 in this category because there are so many I’ve looked up to, who have helped me when I was starting to find my way.
2.) Where do you create your art?
My work is constant, everywhere and anywhere I can get something out and created. I have a studio/barn I rent on 20-acre old chicken farm with wildlife right out of a National Geographic documentary. This is where a lot of my soul searching, quiet time and large projects happen. Just last year I was able to paint a 60ft mural there which was commissioned for VIMEO.com and shipped out to the Winter XGAMES. I also have a full wood shop in the basement of my new home as well as an office/studio in my spare bedroom. I guess, pretty much my whole house is a studio as well…one big creative space.
3.) How much time do you typically spend on each piece?
Every piece varies. If it’s a painting or illustration, I literally keep grooving until it’s finished. I get too impatient when pieces sit around unfinished. When it’s a block print, depending on the detail, they can take me anywhere from 3 hours to 70+ hours to carve…then depending on adding watercolor and pressing, it’s often even longer yet. But I enjoy every second of the carving, it forces me to sit still and relax. My mind keeps racing the whole time but I think it’s good for my undiagnosed ADD.
4.) What mediums do you work in?
I work in everything I can get my hands dirty with. I am not formally trained, and didn’t even go to school for art. I actually have a pre-med degree in Molecular Biology, but did art my entire life. Everything is self taught and learning my own tricks over the years gets me stoked on diving into every medium, following no rules.
Primarily, at the moment, I have been focusing on my block printing and reduction prints but I love painting, shaping surfboards and building furniture as well. Coming from an illustration background, I am starting to merge that with paint and mixed-media which has been super exciting.
5.) Do you have any advice for young artists?
I think the best advice is to not stop creating. Life, criticism, and lack of inspiration can often derail your mindset. Adapting creativity into your lifestyle, keeps it with you everywhere whether it’s for personal reasons or business. Being an artist and making money at it is a tough gig, but staying focused, and not giving up despite the consequences has been something I have learned keeps me at steady growth in financial and mental happiness.
Check out http://www.SHARINGtheSTOKE.com for more from Joe Hodnicki.
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