An interview with Durand Seay


Given Moment, 36 x x36 - 2011
Given Moment, 36 x x36 – 2011

What made you become an artist?

Being that I grew up in a family of artists and being the youngest, I learned for them all. My father was an exceptional water colorist. Of course as a child I wanted to do what he did while he painted. He would stretch me some paper, show me how to layer my paints, and I would do as he did. So that was roughly when I was 5 years old. Growing up when you live in this kind of environment there was no fear of drawing anything, or painting whatever. Art was my life. It was when my father who felt art was a hobby and also was an architect felt I too should become an architect. My abilities in visualizing, three dimensionally was very much to my advantage. So I excelled in architecture school. But I always painted…always.

How do you define your work as both abstract and surrealism?

That is mostly something I use to help people who do not know or understand the futurist like Boccioni, that use these term. However, I see my abstract work as surreal formations, growing out of my love for forms and structures found in nature. Gorkey to me was a follower of surrealism but worked in an abstract context.

Durst Storm Cutters, 36 x 48 - 2014
Durst Storm Cutters, 36 x 48 – 2014

Has the artist Salvador Dali influenced your work in any way?

I stop here to say unequivocally …YES. It is in his ability to create his own language to express his meaning. All it takes is to read his diary, that one gains insight to his symbols meaning. It is that desire to develop my own language that comes from who I am subconsciously, that drives my process.

How have you used the subconscious mind within your artwork?

It is central to the authenticity and individuality. Even in my research, I find I am drawn to particular perspectives as a result of my subconscious. My entire process in painting, a zen experience, enhanced through spontaneity, embraces my subconscious mind tapping into my soul.

The Enlighted, 36 x 48 - 2009
The Enlighted, 36 x 48 – 2009

Many of your abstract surrealism paintings have a similar line quality. What were your reasons for this?

A great deal, of these happen because of my love of expressing structures. A number of my paintings utilize structures as way of expressing the infinite, as structures in nature have a spiritual quality. I also see these structures as a way to express time as bit and pieces of time happening all at once.

Are the works related in any way or is just the visual effect you like?

Related, yes, in my desire to embrace the viewer to feel, absorb and understand intrinsically a spiritual enlightenment.

Why is it important for only the object to have these lines instead of the whole painting?

A language of spirituality.

In your figure paintings your figures are blurred is this due to movement or did you want the figure to just resemble the shape of the figure nothing more?
I see space and the connection to space thought the manipulation of time. Movement becomes my way to build space and time. It is in my architecture, building time. Architects who understand space also understand that the architecture can manipulate the participant, fast, slow, stop.

Ascending Dreams, 48 x 36 - 2012
Ascending Dreams, 48 x 36 – 2012

Your photography work seems to focus on reflections in puddles is this layering quality also present in your paintings?

It was in my layering that caused more of my direction for the photography. The photography becomes my extension of art. However I do use my photographs as subject to the paintings. Water is a symbol for life, a continuance of life and a connection to our souls.

Do you use modern or old methods of photography?

I started many years ago using old old cameras with no light meters. I learned that in my training. I could capture tonalities in those black and whites that had a wondrous depth. But today, I use a digital camera, but never with automatic settings provided a camera. My focus is greatly driven by things that will never be seen again, a one time thing. That comes from my life of living in the moment.

Place of Duty, 24" x 24" - 2011
Place of Duty, 24″ x 24″ – 2011

Would you say all your work connects as a whole with its line quality and abstract nature?

Yes with exception of some of the more commercial landscapes I have done as requests from galleries…ending up being a bad idea with no sales. My love for expressing the infinite along the line of single moment and wanting others to have that emotional connection. I hope to bring light into people’s lives.

How do you create you lines in your work? How do you get them to stand out?

Through spontaneous connection to how something feels. To make them stand out, I think like an architect, building space. It also comes from my love for three dimensionality in lieu of flat surfaces. I have a classical understanding of colour theory and use this to establish dimension.

Angel Horse, 48 x 36 - 2013
Angel Horse, 48 x 36 – 2013

Do you have a constant paint medium or art process when creating a painting?

I paint oil on canvas. I would like to try oil on board. My process starts with painting the mother colour. It may be relevant to end, but establishes a place in the perspective, a starting point for colour that would occur halfway in the perspective. From their colour intensity increases or decreases. Where a part of a structure occurs determines its colour. I also premix large amounts of paint with medium, keeping them for base colours to the perspectives. I will always have more when I need it again.

How is your work different to other artists?

The best of my work always came from my inner voice. I have the ability to connect. Therein, it can only come from me and no other.

The Passage, 36 x 48 - 2011
The Passage, 36 x 48 – 2011

If you were in a group exhibition, who would you place your work against?

Thinking in terms of curating a show that is cohesive vs against: Boccioni, Archile Gorky, Joan Mitchell, Gina Rosa, John McLaughlin.

How would you describe your artwork in no more than five words?

Engaging time through abstract surrealism.

Softening Language, 36 x 36 - 2012
Softening Language, 36 x 36 – 2012

Where can people find you on the Internet?

Silver Ring, 40 x 30  - 2013
Silver Ring, 40 x 30 – 2013

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions?

I am preparing for a show in spring of next year with Stonehenge Gallery, Montgomery, Alabama. I was accepted into Art Comes Alive 2014 at Art Design Consultants, Cincinnati Ohio, opening in June.

What advice would you give future artists?

Look inward to find authenticity. Never doubt instinct. Create based upon how you wish the image to feel, not by what it looks like, therein capturing the soul of the subject. Step back and think, is the image mastering me or am I mastering the image. Nothing is absolute unless it is within that moment. The ultimate struggle is within ourselves and it is there we must not fear what occurs, but to flow with the process, embracing the light. Always believe in yourself. Never stop exploring.

Migration, 36" x 36" - 2011
Migration, 36″ x 36″ – 2011

Author: Helen Ingram

Self Published author, artist, interviewer and owner of New Art United