Art Plugged is glad to welcome Netherlands based artist the renown B.D. Graft. He is a multi-discipline artist, focusing on working in the fields of collage and painting. B.D work places emphasis on exploring concepts of ownership and the deceptively decorative. B.D. has also worked with many well-known Art brands such as Uprise Art, leading him to also collaborate with Virgil Abloh Off-White brand.
Graft has exhibited extensively throughout the world, including The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, South Korea, France and the USA. Currently has an exhibition at New York’s Launch F18 gallery titled “Planted Thoughts”. In this interview will be getting to know more about B.D. such as his creative process, inspiration and more.
Q: First things first, why do you do what you do?
A: Because, three years ago, I had the great privilege of being able to turn my hobby and passion into a profession.
Q: What is your inspiration?
A: I draw inspiration from everywhere: art, music, films, conversations, walks in the park. The artists that inspire me include Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Tal R, Ellsworth Kelly, Gerhard Richter, Henri Matisse, Milton Avery and Jean Arp.
Q: What is your creative process when you’re creating?
A: I don’t have a strict process. I usually just put on good music and make a start; then things unfold from there.
Q: Which is your preferred surface for working on?
A: I like rough textures, so I work mainly on grainy paper and canvas. I work a lot with charcoal and oil pastels, and a good surface texture is important for the right feel, and look, of the artwork.
Q: What would you say is an integral part to the work of an Artist?
A: Having expressive freedom. Even when a work is commercial, the people commissioning an artwork shouldn’t dictate the outcome too much.
Q: How do you know when a piece is finished?
A: After going too far on countless artworks and throwing them away, you develop a sort of intuition and just know when it’s finished. This has taken years, but I now feel I’m at a stage where I can more easily tell whether or not something’s finished; at one point, the artwork possesses a certain harmony.
Q: What is your favourite piece from your collection?
A: That’s like having to pick a favourite child; almost impossible. At the moment I really enjoy painting bees though.
Q: How did you feel when you did your first solo exhibition?
A: Very happy and proud, but also vulnerable. It’s great to show people your work and receive positive reactions, but you also feel laid bare – something personal is out in the open for people to not only appreciate, but also judge.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing for you about being a part of the Art Industry?
A: I’d have to say getting the opportunity to travel and experience great places and cultures. So far, my art has taken me to places like Seoul, New York and Lesbos, and that’s something I try not to take for granted. Also,it’s extremely rewarding to see how people are positively affected by my art. When they come to my exhibitions and tell me how my work brightens up their day, that’s really gratifying.
Q: Is there anything that worries you about how social media is affecting the promotion of artists?
A: Social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it’s great for giving artists a platform to show the world their art, on the other it’s such a popularity contest. It’s so focused on getting likes and followers, and I often grow weary of it.
Q: In your opinion, do you have any advice for artists on how to manage their social media image? Or does it even need managing?
A: Just be yourself and don’t focus too much on being cool. Post only your best work, and not too frequently. Try to keep people engaged with interesting Instagram Stories that provide insights into your life and practice.
Q: Do you have any advice for artists starting and don’t know where to begin?
A: Be patient and don’t force things; good things unfold over time. Try to connect with people who could benefit your practice and career, but don’t be pushy. Let your art speak for itself.
Q: What would you say is the best way of getting your art noticed in the age of the internet?
A: You shouldn’t adjust your style just to get noticed online, but in general it helps to have a recognisable, unique style. When people and platforms post about your work it helps as well, so try to connect with people who can help you with exposure.
Q: Are there any places where you feel Art and Technology really shouldn’t overlap?
A: I can’t think of anything right now, but I’m generally against boundaries and limitations.
That was the B.D. Graft for Art Plugged’s artists inside the industry, and you can keep update with B.D. works, exhibitions and more by following him on Instagram or heading over to his website. Don’t forget you can view his works at his current exhibtion “Planted Thoughts” at LAUNCH F18 from February 29 – April 11, 2020
B.D. Graft, Planted Thoughts, LAUNCH F18, New York. February 29 – April 11, 2020