Frequently Asked Questions for the Artist: Charles Alexander Moffat
Where are you from and how does that affect your work?
"I am not sure that is a factor for me. I grew up in the countryside north of Kitchener in Ontario, but I have lived in Toronto for over half of my life. I have been surrounded by art the entire time, regardless of where I lived. Either in my family's home, at university, when I lived in South Korea, and now. Always surrounded by art. But who isn't surrounded by art and beauty constantly?"
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
"I really like Edouard Manet, but I could also say the same about Cindy Sherman and some (not all) of Andy Warhol's work. Certainly lots of other influences too since I have studied art history extensively. I like Bob Ross's landscape works and that has certainly influenced my interest in landscape paintings."
Tell me about your favorite medium.
"Acrylic paint is definitely my favourite. I have tried oils, but they're just not my thing. I like that acrylic dries quickly and that suits my painting style and methods."
Where do you find inspiration?
"The news mostly, but also books. I used to read newspapers quite a bit, but also magazines and books. These days I get a lot of my news from the internet or YouTube so it has changed dramatically where I see things that end up inspiring me to paint."
When is your favorite time of day to create?
"Morning or afternoon when I have lots of energy. After 5 PM I don't have a lot of energy to paint. This wasn't the case when I was younger, I had more energy back then, but now that I am 'adulting' and have two boys to take care of it is very different."
Describe how art is important to society.
"Art goes hand in hand with freedom. You can't have a functional society without freedom and art."
What motivates you to create?
"The urge to paint something just hits me and I need to paint it. It also helps that I get an adrenaline surge when painting, so I am effectively high on adrenaline when painting."
How do you define success as an artist?
"Happiness. If I am happy with my finished paintings and hang them on the wall then it is successful. If the painting doesn't give me happiness and I am embarrassed to hang it on a wall then it isn't a successful painting."
Does art help you in other areas of your life?
"These days I make my own book covers for my writing career, so yes. I like having creative control over what the book cover will look like. I have hired illustrators in the past and they don't always do what they're told to do, and they're paid in advance, so I have since concluded that it makes more sense to just illustrate things myself since I studied painting in university."
How do you develop your art skills?
"I love a good Bob Ross or Frank Clarke video. Those are fun to watch. Otherwise most of what I know as a painter I learned when I was in high school and university studying painting. I still use many of the techniques I learned in high school and university, but it is interesting and useful to learn new techniques once in a while."
What's the purpose or goal of your work?
"I am either painting something in an effort to comment on some social issue, or I am painting something because I think that it is beautiful or interesting. Or both. Those are my goals."
How can your work affect societal issues?
"I think if people are talking about a social issue then I have done my job as an artist. Creating conversation is just the first step. However the second step is when fans create their own art pieces, influenced by mine. I love it when my fans contact me and want to show me their paintings because they were inspired by my work."
How do you navigate the professional art industry?
"I don't really try to, not any more. I have bypassed that in my opinion to focus on being an Indie Artist. Trying to be a professional artist, in the traditional sense, means getting your work into art galleries constantly and I have zero interest in doing that right now. I am too busy writing and painting and taking care of two kids. No, the Indie way is the way for me, at least for now. No art galleries, just focus on getting my art out there online so I can connect directly with art lovers that way."
Which art trends inspire your current work?
"My current work tends towards making book covers for myself and for colleagues, so I don't really get inspired by art trends. What I have found useful is AI art from inspirational perspective because it allows me to make something specific using keywords, play around with it in photoshop, and then produce the final product in the form of a painting or illustration."
How has your style changed over time?
"My work has always been stylized, so that hasn't really changed. I think the big difference is that I no longer care whether something is realistic or photorealistic. I have no interest in painting realism. If I want something to be realistic then I will use photography or photoshop instead of painting."
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of professional art?
"I love it when fans reach out to contact me, even more so when they buy something. I don't like the current traditional system of how art galleries work however. In my opinion art gallery curators should be taking more initiative to contact the artists they want to show in their art galleries, like I did when creating the Lilith Gallery, as opposed to artists having to contact the gallery and applying to show their work there."
Is there a specific environment or material that's integral to your work?
"Acrylic on canvas. I am not complicated in that regard."
What factors influence the price of your work?
"My personal attachment to the art piece. Sometimes I don't want to sell a particular piece so I jack the price up."
How do you manage a work-life balance as an artist?
"Take care of kids first, do the work that allows you to eat and live, focus on painting and writing last."
Describe your ideal working environment.
"Music with lyrics that get me excited, no distractions, ample supply of Coca-Cola."
Are you currently employed elsewhere?
"I run my own personal training / sports training business, which is seasonal. The benefit of it being seasonal is that I get to set my own work hours during the 'sports season' and during the winter I get to focus on painting and writing."
Describe how we can encourage your career growth.
"Buy a painting, a sketch, a photograph. If you cannot do that buy one of my books and leave a positive review."