Summit Creatives: Profile on artist Steve Schmidt
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Steve Schmidt, 30, is a local artist, whose work focuses on landscapes, using watercolor as his main medium. His current work is spanning from the Pacific coast up to the Continental Divide, and all the landscapes in between, beginning with the ocean, then shifting to desert, plains and finally the mountains. He works in the warehouse at iFurnish in Frisco, where he says his bosses are very supportive of his work. Originally from Minnesota, he moved to Colorado Springs, where he vistited Summit several times every winter and summer throughout the year before finally moving here a year ago. His work can be found on his website at burgermoney.com and his Tumblr at datbumo.tumblr.com.
Summit Daily News: How did you first get into art, and what kind of background do you have in the subject?
Steve Schmidt: I’ve been drawing and doing stuff one way or another since I was a little kid. My older cousin was way into it, and I looked up to him, and I always did it more as a hobby. I ended up getting into film, going to film school, getting my degree. I don’t have any formal training except, when I moved here, I took a class in Dillon at the community college … I knew that I wanted to get into art. I was doing editing in Los Angeles, and I got tired of looking into screens. I started doing art in my spare time as a way to unwind.
SDN: Tell me a little more about your editing work in Los Angeles and why you decided to leave.
SS: Before I had moved out of state, one of my good friends, now living in L.A. and a producer for an online video game entertainment company called Machinima, emailed me asking if I could do a Led Zeppelin cover for one of his segments, and that pretty much opened the door for me to do freelance work for them. I moved to Hollywood, and I did editing for the company — mostly short pieces about pop culture and video game reviews, both subjects that I know little about. After I’d been out there for a year, the company laid off the majority of my friends, and I was over dealing with computer issues and sitting in traffic all day, so I figured it was time to move back and start pursuing painting. Originally, the plan was to settle back in Denver with this girl I was seeing, but the relationship dissolved, so I decided that I would live in the mountains.
SDN: What inspires you?
SS: Mainly being outside, the clouds, and the sunsets here are amazing. That’s one of the reasons, too, why I wanted to move up here. That’s where I draw a lot of stuff. There are a lot of artists’ work that inspires me, like John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, John Blockley, David Choe and Andrew Wyeth.
SDN: What is your work environment like — do you like to work with music, outside, etc?
SS: Mostly, I sit on my couch and have all my stuff sprawled out on the coffee table. I like to have music going, have the TV on mute. The best way I work is to have outside stimulus.
SDN: What are your other hobbies and interest besides your art?
SS: Snowboarding is a huge one. Hiking is a big one. I dabble in music a little bit. I play guitar and bass and a little bit of ukulele.
SDN: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
SS: Do art that you feel like doing. If you want to draw cartoons or portraits, it’s all good. The only bad art is derivative art — art that is copying someone else. So, do what you want in any medium, go for it.
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