I’ve been in touch with Brooklyn-based artist Scott Albrecht for about five years or so now. Connecting with talented artists has been the best part about running this website, and Scotty’s work is really appealing to me – an arresting combination of intricate woodwork, original typography, collages, eye-catching geometric patterns, and ink on paper. In the same timeframe, he’s participated in countless solo and group exhibitions around the country and overseas, some of which I’ve been able to preview and recap here. I probably should have asked Scotty for an interview a long time ago, but hey, there’s no time like the present, and what a great way to jump into the new year. You can also follow him on Instagram for more of his great work.
Where are you today? Somewhere between here and there in Brooklyn, NY.
What are you working on? I just wrapped up a couple group shows and two solo exhibitions, one with Grass Hut & Helion Gallery in Portland, and another with Art in the Age in Philadelphia titled ‘the Distance Between Two Points.’ Now, I’m just getting back in the studio – sketching, planning and making new work for 2015-16.
What was your introduction to art? I feel pretty lucky because it was always around me growing up. I had a lot of artists and creative-minded people around me who really encouraged me to draw, build and create things early on – my parents and my brother being the biggest influences. My Dad is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer, so I really learned (and still learn) a lot from him. Just having that support was super encouraging and kept snowballing into making and doing more.
Are you self-taught or formally educated? A little of both I guess. I went to school formally for graphic design in Philadelphia but all of my personal work are things that I’ve been teaching myself along the way. Graphic design has definitely informed my work in a lot of ways, with simplified forms & color, typography, but the mediums and techniques are things that I’ve been teaching myself as I go. In college, most of my classes were computer-based, so within my work I probably don’t use a lot of the best techniques to do certain things, but I figure out a way to do what I want, and as I go I figure out if that works or if there’s a better way.
When did you decide to make a career of it? I always wanted to do something art or creative-related but when I was a freshman in high school I started making a zine called the Uptown Beat which highlighted a lot of music I was listening to at the time (mostly mid-late 90’s indie punk, ska, and hardcore), which got me interested in the idea of going to school for graphic design.
For me, the zine was great. I got a ton of free records, free show tickets, access to some of my favorite bands, and learned a ton. I never really had a conscious plan for the zine so it was just constantly evolving and I had to learn as I went how to do almost every aspect of it – writing, design, photography, advertising sales, PR, production, direct sales & wholesale… In the end, it was supporting itself and gaining good traction for what it was.
The zine ran for about 6 years but about halfway through my degree I started losing interest in the day-to-day of it and slowly started creating work for myself again. I started applying the things I wasn’t able to do in a lot of my projects into pieces for myself – it started with a lot of handwritten typography and textural pieces and kept evolving.
I don’t know if there was ever a definitive point where I wanted to make a career of it, but it’s something I’ve never been comfortable not doing since and as time went on I realized how much more important it was to me.
Rad! What are some of the ideas you’re exploring or playing with in your work? This past year I think a bigger theme I’ve been taking note of is ‘change’ – how to cope with it, how to anticipate it, embrace it and get lost in it. My wife and I have been talking about some bigger things like job changes and possibly moving to the west coast which is really exciting to me (we’ve both only ever lived on the east coast so it would be a pretty big change for us if we did). But peripherally there are all these other changes happening with our friends and family like people getting married, having a kids, moving as well or unfortunately breaking up, losing their job… And I what find interesting with both the good and the bad examples is that it’s all undefined once that change happens and its this thing that you have to sort out for yourself and make better. Depending on how you want to look at a situation even a bad one can turn into something great if you can find that perspective.
Have you had any big breaks or projects you’re particularly proud of? I’m always stoked on the work I’m doing at that moment and then when it’s done I’m excited to get on to the next thing. The projects I haven’t done yet are the ones I want to be most proud of.
Where do you find inspiration? There’s treasure everywhere! I actually get inspired in a lot of different ways, but I think the two that are most consistent are:
1. I take walks regularly just to recharge, see what’s around and clear my head. I usually try to get lost or just take different routes and that gives me a good reset for when I come back to the studio.
2. I have two friends, Stephen Spyropoulos (Minimaforms) and Yis Goodwin who I continually look to as motivation. It seems like they are always producing work (I’m pretty sure they don’t sleep), and so whenever I start getting too comfortable I remind myself how much they are doing or what they are working on and it pushes me to work harder.
Does living & working in Brooklyn relate to your art at all? Absolutely! Probably more indirectly, but the culture and community here are really inspiring. I grew up in a pretty rural area of NJ and for me it was really easy for creative inspiration to dry up if I wasn’t being proactive about looking for it. That may be different now, but having galleries, artists, and music in such close proximity makes it less of an effort to find inspiration and just part of my surroundings. That environment definitely feeds in and inspires me on a regular basis.
Got any future plans or projects coming up? I have a few projects coming up that I’m pretty stoked on but don’t want to say anything to jinx them. Outside of those, I’m working out my exhibition schedule for next year and just getting in the studio as much as I can.