Chuck Redux sat down recently with Steven Chorney, the artist behind the posters and promotional campaigns for literally hundreds of your favorite TV and movie-going experiences, to find out what makes this particular artist tick...delving into his creative energies, inspirations and passions. Discover with us the inner-workings of an artist whose creative output spans several decades of memorable movie and TV fare.
Chuck Redux: Tell us about the early years, growing up, what part painting and drawing played in your childhood.
Steven Chorney: Early years were spent watching in awe as my father created paintings in oil. Trained as a professional illustrator in Toronto, Canada , he especially enjoyed exploring the abstract use of color and shape. It seemed to me right from the start that this was what I would like to do also. What fun! My earliest recollection of creating a work of art was in Kindergarten. After careful review the teacher stated "it's pretty clear you will never be an artist"! Perhaps that was my motivation to succeed.
CR: Did your parents encourage you in pursuing your artistic expression?
Yes, my parents were both creative and always had ongoing projects
going on in the home. They provided a
healthy environment for creativity.
CR: Was there a point in your young life when you knew that art would be your career?
SC: Without question, from the earliest of my memories, I wanted to be an artist.
CR: What do you feel you communicate through your paintings and drawings?
SC: In my
estimation, the goal of any creative art is not only to capture and hold the
attention of the viewer, but to infuse a "life of it's own" to the
work. It should at the very least, have
some expression or spark of life if it
is to communicate anything. Without that the message will be lost.
CR: When do you know that a painting or a drawing is successful?
SC: What makes a painting successful is the same principle that makes anything in life, including people, successful. Working together. When all the elements in a picture seem to come together, the colors, shapes, the direction of the design, when these all compliment each other there is a harmony achieved. This, along with that elusive "spark of life" are the best ingredients for a successful work. They insure the purpose or goal of the work is accomplished whether it be to sell a product or illustrate a story.
CR: Is it easy for you to let go of a work of art that you’ve been creating? How do you know when it’s done? Or is it ever done?
SC: I have read where artists through the generations have had special feeling for works and continue to 'improve' the work as long as it is in their possession. Since we all continue to grow with our experience I suppose we could endlessly retouch and revise our work. It is done when it has served it's purpose or when the deadline arrives, whichever comes first. This is one reason I personally like to have a firm deadline for completion. Otherwise we just don't want to let go of it.
SC: There are so many influences to any artist's development a list would be exhaustive. But to suggest a few I would point as far back as my father, then I would say my interests in the field of art were largely unconventional. I was totally absorbed in the art of popular advertising posters, record album covers, even early animated cartoons from the likes of Chuck Jones, Tex Avery and Walt Disney. The classic arts seemed so somber to me at that time, I gravitated toward the lighter, brighter, simpler arts that seemed like loads of fun! Eventually my entry to the professional field of art came through the back door of Animation Art. I feel this part of my experience was a turning point, invaluable in striving to impart that "spark of life" to art. And it was indeed "loads of fun"!
CR: What has been a highlight of your artistic career?
SC: The fun and excitement of film related work. First it was in the Animation Field followed by Television and Motion Picture advertising. I think the film I was most happy to work on was the Western styled QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER movie with Tom Selleck. I love horses and Westerns. Getting to work on a film like that was a highlight for me.
CR: Any special superstitions about working on a painting or a drawing? Do you have any favorite fetishes (toys, special pencil, can of brushes must face east, etc.) that adorn your workspace?
SC: I would prefer to use the term 'Inspirations' concerning the many odd items located throughout my work area. Toys, automobile hood ornament, Western spurs, all these things have creative features that seems to provide inspiration for any project.
CR: Tell us about your working methods. Early to rise and work, or work late at night? Since you work at home/studio, do you set a schedule for work in the studio?
SC: Being flexible is the operative word, I like the feeling of setting my own pace. Generally, though there must be a schedule in order to move to completion. I divide the projects into 3 sections, 1) research and design then 2) the basic painting, and finally 3) finishing the detail. Working late is a quiet time to work but not always practical, so flexibility is important.
CR: What’s your favorite color?
CR: Why do you paint/draw? How does it make you feel when you’re working on a particular image and how do you feel when you’ve completed it?
SC: I love it! I find it to be like therapy, to be a satisfying work and I feel a sense accomplishment all at the same time. After all these years I still find it to be "loads of fun"!