The Artist Talks bring you closer to Daylighted artists. Today, discover Nick Carver who shared his insights with us!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What would you like your audience to know about you so that they can better understand your art?
Born and educated in Berlin, Germany. After a three-year apprenticeship in typography I studied graphic design at the Academy of Art. Bored by the static curriculum which left no room for creativity I left for California with my wife in the sixties and found employment in San Diego.
As art director at an advertising agency I had to hire and supervise photographers.
After a fallout with a commercial photographer during a shoot for a big real estate developer, I bought my first 35 mm Pentax, loaded it with Tri-X 400 film and shot the images for the project myself. That was the beginning of my photographic career!
I quit the agency, started my own graphic design and photography business, and moved to San Francisco in the eighties where, besides doing photography for my commercial clients, I began to focus on a series of close-up botanical images in Golden Gate Park as well as exotic plant studies in Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, and Hawaii.
The photo bug had bitten me!
When my wife accepted a position at the Monterey Defense Language Institute In 1993, we moved to Pacific Grove. I joined the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, served on the board, and personally met some of the most important fine art photographers like Ruth Bernhard, Michael Kenna, Arthur Tress, Richard Garrod, Rod Dresser, Kim Weston, Jerry Uelsmann, Maggie Taylor, and Huntington Witherill. My creative development and resulting achievements as a fine art photographer were influenced by these iconic photographers and helped me develop my own style. I am obsessed with the digital medium and determined to create images which will be better than the best ones I have produced to this day.
How would you describe your working techniques?
I do not believe in a single lucky shot. I always explore the subject under different light conditions, pace around it, shoot it from all possible angles, pursue it like there is no tomorrow until I have enough images for a series, then condense the series into a portfolio with the most striking shots.
What inspires your work?
Inspiration often happens when my eyes discover something invisible to other people, something worth exploring. One day, as I was washing my car, suddenly a brilliant image appeared inside one of the headlights changing constantly as I moved from side to side. I got my camera with a macro lens and started shooting. Viewing the images on my computer screen I noticed the transformation from what looked realistic THEN to something that could be interpreted NOW as new or non-representational since the reference to a car no longer existed. That was the spark igniting “Headlights Up Close.”
Your work is strongly based on reflections of automobile headlights. Why did you chose this element to come up with the aesthetic topic of a mirrored reality?
Because no one else had discovered the magic and powerful visual effects of head-
light reflections. Because I alone had discovered a niche, an endless source of exiting colorful images which could be captured in less than a second. And because I got totally hooked on documenting headlight reflections, ranging from realistic mirrored images to brilliant painting-like color abstractions. I spent untold days shooting headlights at dealer show rooms, city streets, parking lots, and driveways of friendly neighbors and clients. With every new image my vision spread and resulted in my first big show at the Fresno Art Museum in 2010 with 20 large format headlights on canvas, most of them 3x4 feet in size.
Are there any reflections or opinions you’ve heard about your artwork that surprise you?
At the Fresno show opening a couple of visitors asked me how long it generally takes me to paint such a large canvas and how I come up with all the different pictures. The fact that they were looking at photographs, enlarged and printed on canvas, seemed to amaze them. I heard enthusiastic comments, people loved the colors, the compositions, the abstractions and told me they will never look at headlights the same way again.
Two exhibitions followed at the Marjorie Evans Gallery in Carmel. The curator decided to change the title to “Life in the Headlights”. Some written comments read: “What a Knockout!” “Far out!” “Super cool!” “A dazzling kaleidoscope of mesmerizing colors and shapes!” The following years I had shows at different venues with good media reviews. Last year Monterey High School asked me to show my work at the senior photo class. I was delighted to see how the headlights appealed to these young kids and how my images inspired the group to explore the unseen.
Tell us about the story behind your favorite piece.
While hunting for headlights on public streets, I learned one rule the hard way: Always look inside a car to check if someone is in there. My favorite piece is the result of a sudden confrontation. I was kneeling in front of a Prius a block away from my house, did not hear the engine running and was concentrating on an extremely unique reflection when a young woman popped out yelling at me: “Hey, what are you doing? I almost ran you over!” I smiled and said: “I love your headlights!” Well, she took it the wrong way and thought I was hitting on her. But the single image I had snapped became my favorite. It is totally removed from reality and a beautiful abstract transformation titled “Prius butterfly”.
What, in your opinion, is the most difficult part of the creative process?
Hard work!!! For me, as a visual artist, creativity starts with my eyes. I think I am blessed with a special pair. People always comment on my different perception of the world, about my ability to discover the unseen and make it visible to others. To keep my creativity fresh and alive, I follow my own strict rules: Never loose your curiosity. Jump out of the box. Dare to be different. Listen to your inner voice. Explore. Experiment. Create with confidence. And always believe in yourself.
Daylighted is a startup company located in San Francisco, CA, founded in 2013 by Alex Cammarano, Elisabeth Mouchy, and Alban Dumouilla. Daylighted provides a contemporary portfolio of thousands of images, videos and animated art. Daylighted plans to bring the artistic diaspora to even more spaces, beginning with high-end venues— because art should be everywhere.
Visit www.daylighted.com to browse collections, view featured artwork and to receive more information.