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Monday, February 10, 2014

Art/Work: Scott Demeranville

Greenland, Detail 2 - Ink on paper, 14" x 17"                                                               ©Scott Demeranville

Art/Work is a feature of Out of the Office that will be dedicated to the amazing artists who balance jobs, family, and all-around full lives – while still managing to find time for their creativity. I’ll be asking them to share their experiences, insights, and advice.

I’m excited to begin this feature with an artist who is very near to my heart: Scott Demeranville. Scott is an incredibly talented photographer  - you can check out some of his photographic work here. Today he’s sharing a drawing project that he worked on last year while working a temp job in a call center.

Let’s start with the job you had last year. What can you tell us about it?

In March of 2013, I got a photography job. One month later, the company that I was working for went out of business and my position was eliminated. By a stroke of luck, I was able to get a customer service job through a temp agency almost immediately. I was answering phone calls for a firm that handled class-action lawsuits.

How did the drawing project start?

I had long intervals of time in between calls. I wasn't allowed to be on the internet or look at my phone.  I read many, many books... but after a while I ran out of things to read. And then I started doodling on a notepad.

After a couple days of doodling, it started to evolve into a project. An idea started forming, and I knew I had to execute it within a set of constraints: the paper could be no bigger than the surface of my desk, all the materials had to be portable, and I had to be able to stop and start again many times throughout the day (so I could answer my incoming phone calls).

Norway - Ink on paper, 14" x 17" ©Scott Demeranville
Norway, Detail 2 - Ink on paper, 14" x 17" ©Scott Demeranville

Can you describe your creative process?

I knew I wanted to draw maps. I started by tracing sections of maps onto my drawing paper with graphite. I brought those blueprints for drawings to work, where I started filling them in with pattern.  I made up certain “rules” for myself about the colors I used, how the lines would interact, and the differentiation between land and water. I was most interested in maps with intricate coastlines, so I ended up on focusing on fjords.  

Greenland - Ink on paper, 14" x 17" ©Scott Demeranville
Greenland, Detail 1 - Ink on paper, 14" x 17" ©Scott Demeranville

Why maps?

I have always been interested in maps. I love the perspective you get from them- the sense of scale. Looking at a map of a place allows you to imagine what that place might be like. It describes is differently than words can.
Sweden, Detail - Ink on paper, 14" x 17" ©Scott Demeranville

It’s pretty amazing to get paid by the hour to draw. What’s your job situation like now? Do you still get to make art while you’re at work?

I am happy to say that I now have a permanent job with much better pay and benefits. Although I’m not able to draw while I’m at work, my mind is mostly free to think about the projects that I’m working on outside of work.

What advice can you give other artists who are working a day job?

Sometimes you have to plan your art project to fit you time and resources. Interesting ideas can evolve out of the constraints of time, space, and materials. Even if you can’t actually work on a project while you’re on the clock, your mind can still be exploring ideas and possibilities.

Thank you, Scott! 

The man himself.   

Are you an artist working a day (or night) job? I’d love to hear from you – and possibly feature your story in Art/Work. Please send a short bio and a few pictures of what you’ve been working on to:
jenniferisoutoftheoffice at gmail dotcom

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