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Six of the Best, Part 19

Part 19 of an interview series in which I invite artists to respond to six questions about art, process, and creativity  (Part 1Part 2Part 3,Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12, Part 13, Part 14Part 15Part 16, Part 17, Part 18)After a summer break, this series picks up again with Luis Roca, a graphic designer and photographer based in New Jersey. He's another in a long line of artists I have discovered on Google Plus. 


"Woman of Faith"

Philip Hartigan: What medium do you chiefly use, and why?

Luis Roca: Currently, my medium of choice is the camera but for far longer, it has been a computer. I've become more and more restless. I need to get out and away from detail work on all the screens in my studio. Taking my camera with me for a long walk helps improve my observational skills. Even if it's in my pocket or bag, I look more, I slow down and observe life with all its small quirks. People and culture are important to me which has made street photography a very satisfying fit.

Philip Hartigan: What piece are you currently working on?

Luis RocaIt's an ongoing series of street and street culture photographs of cities in New Jersey. A few years back I began exploring the idea by shooting in my city of birth, Paterson, as well as Atlantic City. Since recently moving to Hudson County, I have the luxury of being a part of an urban setting I grew up visiting and so it has become one of my primary subjects.

"Pedestrian Traffic Cone"

Philip Hartigan: What creative surprises are happening in the current work?

Luis RocaStreet photography is new for me. I studied graphic design and have been doing that for over twelve years. Everything is planned, coordinated with clients and other team members. Now, though I can prepare before and plan for after, when I'm out nothing I do will force a moment to happen. I have to gamble on whether a moment will happen or not and be ready to catch it. It can be frustrating, terrifying and thrilling. On a good day, all three at once.

Philip Hartigan: What other artistic medium (or non-artistic activity) feeds your creative process?

Luis RocaI always liked to draw from observation. I find the restriction of using a pen for blind contours and gestures in public spaces or diners soothing. The problem is how much detail, movement and expression can you record with your eyes. The mistakes help me measure how well I was able to focus.

Outside of practicing art I travel, read, and like finding new, odd subjects to learn. My wife and I travel a few times a year, varying the locations and finding the locals as soon as possible. I like reading work that is challenging and uncomfortable. The book "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter continues to have a lot of influence on me. I spent two years teaching myself to program in Perl and bought dozens of books on the subject. During the same time I picked up a harmonica as a different way to develop a better understanding of patterns. — I don't recommend being in the same room when I draw on the '2' hole.

"Seeing More in a Tree"

Philip Hartigan: What's the first ever piece of art you remember making?

Luis RocaA painted macaroni piece of my left hand on green construction paper in kindergarten.

Philip Hartigan: Finally, and you can answer this in any way that's meaningful to you: why are you an artist?

Luis RocaI need to figure out the universe within and beyond me. The process of making art is the only effective way I can ever scratch the surface.

If you liked this interview, and you'd like to keep up to date with the series, why not Subscribe, or sign-up via Google Connect, using one of the options over on the right? Thanks, and keep creating.

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