Today, we welcome Mason Graff to the Calgary Art Market roster. Graff is a minimalist artist, using optical illusions in his work. He creates artwork that may seem obvious at first but then provides new perspectives of how the piece can be viewed as time is spent with it. In this post, Graff shares a little about his approach to his visual work.
Let’s start with how you developed your unique style?
I didn’t always know I was going to be an artist, but I have been drawing and painting ever since I can remember and have always known that I wanted to find a career that would allow me to be creative. When I first started painting in a minimalist aesthetic, my work was very uniform in size and colour. As I continue my practice, aspects such as the size, colour and perspective are constantly evolving. My work reuses a lot of the same forms and shapes so discovering new ways to use these shapes is a challenge that helps to push me when creating new work.
Where do you find the greatest inspiration?
Many different things inspire me. Specific artists such as Donald Judd, Frank Stella, and Sol LeWitt were major influences when I was first becoming interested in minimalism. Architecture and how spaces are created is something that influence my work as well. I am inspired by how a space is created and the emotion it can provoke from people.
I also try to not look into art trends too much. I love exploring popular colour pallets and other minimalist artists but try to not be influenced by trends when seeking inspiration or creating work.
How do you know when a work is finished?
I am my own worst critic so I feel as though a piece is never really truly finished. When creating work, I get to a point where I am happy with the state of all the different aspects of the painting and just have to step away.
What is your most important tool in your studio?
One of important tools in my studio would have to be my headphones. Music is something that inspires me while I’m creating work and keeps painting exciting and fun.
In your opinion, what is the difference between art and design?
I think art can be very personal. I create my art for myself because it speaks to the emotions I feel and the events that happen in my life. As a graphic design student I have become aware that artistic skills are needed in order to create a successful design, but design is something that is created with an intended function.
We like to end every interview with a light-hearted, personal question. For you, what song is infused with a happy memory?
It would have to be “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones. This song reminds me of summer vacation car rides and singing at the top of my lungs with my family as we cruised to the beach in Kelowna!