THE GRAPHIC HEADSTONE: JEFFERY SCOTT, DIGITAL RENAISSANCE WIZARD!

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Jeffery Scott, digital photographer and owner of Factory 1019.

Deadwest: Howdy there, Scream Freaks! You just caught me in the middle of picking up some mechanical devil bull parts for Heck Machine back at the Howl-Inn. Seems he’s been gett’n banged up pretty good lately and in need of repairs. One special component had to be built from scratch which is why I’m in this secluded cemetery. Only a genuine Renaissance wizard has the skill to reconstruct such a delicate doohickey, and one just happens to have a factory right around . . . here! Factory 1019. This is the place.

Jeffery Scott: Can I help you?

DW: Howdy! I’m look’n to pick up a part for a mechanical devil bull?

JS: You’re early. I was just putting the final touches on it now. You can look around my factory if you don’t mind waiting a few minutes.196903_205651209445971_3044329_n

DW: Thanks. Wooo wee! These are some wild photos you got hang’n around here! You must have had some serious school’n to be this good of an artist.

JS: I didn’t go to art school, but I was placed in advance art classes in high school. I was prematurely advanced and knew how to do a lot of artistic techniques (like cross-hatching and stippling), but I didn’t know the terminology. When I graduated high school, I could have gone to a couple of art colleges, but they told my parents I really didn’t need it unless I just wanted to learn the technical terms and different techniques. I was in California at the time, and I had always wanted to be a filmmaker from the time I was six, so we started looking at schools in California for me to be a director.

DW: So you wanted to take your natural talent to the big screen, huh?

JS: That was the plan. I had done some storyboards and shop work for a film company my senior year of high school and amassed some references and credentials. Some film opportunities opened in Sydney, Australia in the early 80’s, and my mom knew a guy that was connected to that who she asked to give me a call. That call ended with me moving to Australia for a couple of years where I worked on music videos and a lot of independent stuff.

DW: That sounds cool. Is that anything I can look up?

JS: I don’t think so. When I was in Australia, I couldn’t get my work visa, so I was working illegally. The people who hired me didn’t complain about it, of course, because they could hire me for cheap as an illegal immigrant. Sounds like what we do here in the States which is the same all around the world. So, they got me for cheap and were thrilled, because I brought something new to everything and had plenty of knowledge of American cinema (which they knew worked). It earned me my nickname, the Hollywood Kid. I couldn’t attach my name to anything, because I was working illegally, but I got lots of work. It was cool. I ended up getting deported. Had a one way ticket back to the States, but it was really nice, because it was first class. So, when Australia deported you in the 80’s, they treated you really well.

DW: So, you were back in the ole’ U.S of A and started bust’n heads to make an art career for yourself?

JS: Well, around 1990 I tried to get my first feature film off the ground along with my directing career. But you know, it gets to a point where you ask yourself, “How much do I have to lose to finally get out of this?” After I got my answer to how much I had to lose, I finally woke up and said, “Okay, enough of this,” and moved to Vegas. About 2 years after that, I went back to L.A., because I had a friend of mine who wanted to play agent and manager for me and represent me artistically. So, I was living in my friend’s garage while bouncing at a pool hall when a chain of events led me to people I was supposed to meet and got involved in sculpting and doing prototypes for the toy industry.

DW: You worked on toy lines too?! Which ones are we talk’n about exactly?

JS: Action figures and limited edition collectibles. I worked on tons of that stuff! I did a lot of Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings, and worked on things like mini-busts for Star Wars and the Matrix. I was working on all this stuff for this one toy company for 10-12 years which was actually the longest job, so to speak, I held down. When I started out in the business, the attitude was, “This is rock’n roll sculpting, and we have a good time. If you’re not having fun then get out!” By the end, the owner was very exploitive of the artists, and I have a big problem with that. I ran into some artistic and business differences with him and separated myself from it all.

DW: That must have been an unpredictable time for ya.

JS: It’s situations like that that force you into having to make some pretty hard decisions. The weekly paycheck is dead, no health insurance . . . What do I do? I had already started playing around with digital cameras, but that was mainly because it seemed like a cheaper way to get photographs for my paintings.

DW: So, you go from working in film and toys to painting?

JS: And I wasn’t happy with any of my paintings at that time, but I gained some small recognition for them and got commissions. Painting and drawing always felt like a huge compromise, and I just don’t feel like there should be any compromise in artistic endeavors. I think the individual should get confident enough in one’s work where they can see it through to a subliminal perfection. You know? Work on it till you’ve done everything you can do to it, and I wasn’t feeling like that with these paintings at all. Turns out that’s because I was in the wrong medium.

DW: I gotta know then. How’d you finally figure your true call’n?551455_593146130696475_1004962983_n

JS: I would photograph a model then use the photo for a reference for what I was putting on the canvas. I had Photoshop 2.5 at the time and would tweak these digital pictures I was taking of the models and play around with them with the full intention of using them for paintings. Then one day, a model who was a good friend and I were looking through these images for paintings when she said, “These are great photographs!” She said I should look into Photoshop more, and I guess that’s what jump started the whole thing.

DW: I feel like so many messages and meanings could be drawn from every image you produce. They carry a lot of depth.

JS: When I was nine years old, I heard a saying that changed my life. My dad pulled me aside and said, “You’re an artist. You’re a true artist. You’re not a trained artist. This isn’t pretentiousness. This isn’t pulled out of you. We didn’t beat it into you, this is what you are. Do you know what the true responsibility of a true artist is? The responsibility of the true artist is to think and feel for all of those who can’t or won’t.” Those words re-shaped me.

DW: Looks like these pictures are express’n a lot of taboo subject matter like sex and religion.

JS: My art is about day to day life really. I’m a very religious guy in my own way. I have my own beliefs, politics and what have you, and this is what it translates to. It’s a selfish act, and I do it for myself and nobody else. I am my own biggest fan. The majority of artists right now are saturated and obsessed with, “What do I do next to sell?”

DW: You don’t even focus on the marketability of an idea when you start creating? You just do whatever it is you feel like you gotta do at the time?

JS: Yeah, however, I do get concerned about it from time to time, because art is not like a pair of shoes or a shirt that you need. You don’t need it like you need food. It’s a luxury. Let’s face it. In this economy, nobody rolls over in bed and says, “Oh, honey, don’t forget we absolutely have to go to the store and buy some art today, because we’re completely out of art.” My idea of art is it’s a want not a need. If I were to try to do what I think people want, well, I can’t even conceive of that, because I have absolutely no idea. So, it’s a good thing I don’t try to do any one thing in particular, because I’d be wrong all the time. A piece I might think is boring after I finish it, people sometimes love. The stuff that I absolutely love, people look at it, and they just don’t give a damn about it. So, it’s a good thing I don’t gage my actions off what I perceive as what people want, because I’d be wrong every time. I’m good at reading human nature and putting it into my subject matter and using it as my subject matter, but apparently I’m not good enough at assuming what people want.

DW: Looks like you work with some pretty girls here. Some of them I see several times. Are they like your muses or somethin’?

JS: Dani, Sarah, and Rachel are the 3 models that made the biggest impact on my work I think. I’m not a fan of people, and I’m not very patient with models. I make it emphatically clear to the models I work with for the first time, “Look, this isn’t about you at all. You’re playing parts of me. This is my artwork. It’s about me and my perception.” In most cases, some or all of the characters are me, and I’m focused on my characters. I’ve been criticized a lot for being cold, but let’s face it, models are a dime a dozen. Hot girls are not a commodity, but beautiful women are. Beautiful women like Dani, Sarah, and Rachel had such influence, because they were such muses to me. They were these beautiful armatures under the pieces that truly elevated the art. They’re what I measure other models against. I’ll show new models pictures of those 3 and say, “This is what you have to worry about. This is what you have to live up to to stick around and be one of my regular girls.” Those 3 were my favorites, because they wanted my work so much, they became part of it. I could always value their opinions and acceptance of a piece because of their involvement for genuine love of my work. That’s why their images are so brilliant, because they wanted so badly to be part of that process and be in that world that’s exclusively mine.

DW: I’d say you were creating these masterpieces with a magic wand and the blood of virgins, but I’m guessing you’re more technologically savvy than that.

JS: I shoot my pictures on a Nikon D610 and edit on a Mac Pro with Photoshop CS6.

DW: Some of these are so incredibly detailed with layers and layers of Photoshopped pieces. Are these pieces from stock photos online or you shoot it all yourself?

JS: I shoot all my own stuff. I never use stock photos. That’s a really sensitive subject to me. Art should be the artist. I have a big grievance with that. When you use stock photos for something I do, where only the girl is your picture, it’s not really your work. It just isn’t. I photograph a wall, that’s how I see the wall. It’s no one else’s idea or interpretation of it but mine. That’s not for me, and I don’t condone it. I’ve been to junkyards and other places where this stuff is and photograph it for my photo library which is massive. It takes up about 3 drives and is a real nightmare to go through when I’m looking for a particular photo.

DW: I see you’re selling your own DVD tutorials in the corner over here. Putrid Polecats! This first tutorial is 17 DVDs long just to show someone how to do ONE of your images!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

JS: I had a lot of people wanting to learn to do what I do. When they buy my tutorial, however, most quickly learn this art form is not for them. I use to do a 3 day 1 on 1 tutorial with people in real time. They’d live with me for 3 days, shoot a model, and then work on an image. Out of all those workshops I did, I don’t think one person had a completed image before leaving. So, we would continue working via email and things like that, and it was exhausting. I actually had 2 different guys say the same thing, “If nothing else, that was the best $1500 I ever spent, because I found out that what you do is not for me. I will never do that. I will never sit down and do this for 40 hours or more an image.” Seems a lot of people don’t understand being a photo manipulator isn’t spending a half hour on a whole piece. It’s spending a half hour on a hand, or one side of the face, or a girl’s hair. That’s what we do. It should look like a painting and that painting is feeling. It should be emotive. You shouldn’t care it’s a photograph or notice that it’s a photograph and not a painting or sculpture or whatever else people consider to be art.

DW: That sounds like some serious dedication to the craft! How many hours do you spend on a piece?

JS: Anywhere from 50-375 hours per image, and it’s exhausting. Creating is hard work. I put in 12-18 hrs a day, 6 days a week, and think about it on the 7th day, and I don’t really care about anything else.

DW: With that kind of focus for something so intricate, would you say you’re a bit obsessive compulsive?

JS: Clinically and medically, I am obsessive compulsive. When it comes to my compulsive nature, my art is the one place in this world I can OCD out. I can have one of the worst episodes of my life, and it’s okay! I can work on the hairs of a caterpillar crawling across the table in one image for hours if I want. I can spend 29 hours on 1 robot hand or tweak slices of flesh you can’t even see. I feel completely myself, and it’s okay for me to have a mental disorder. It’s okay to have a problem in that part of my world which is one of the reasons I love art. No one’s condemning me for the focus on detail. No one’s accusing me for being hyper analytical. This is when it’s truly okay for me to be me. So, there is some therapeutic value to my work. Just to be clear, however, none of my work or actions are born from OCD.

DW: That’s damn cool that art could do that for you. You ever take your act on the road to conventions and what have you?10012624_758779937466426_1587660248_n

JS: Oh, yeah. The convention circuit is cool, and I enjoy that. It’s nice to see the fan base. I probably sound like a douche to talk about my art being for me and to then turn around and talk about fans enjoyment of my work, but I see the impact it makes on people. One thing that amazes me is people telling me what my art means, and they’re pretty close! I had a couple who saw one particular piece they bought years ago they claimed help save their marriage. It affected them so, and they were crying, and I’m watching this like it’s some grand theatre piece, but it was real. It’s a great thing to witness. This is my own private little world, but people see it and get excited about it and excited about meeting me. I don’t think I matter. What matters is the art, but they like that connection. That’s an incredibly powerful thing to me.

DW: You truly are an artist’s artist! A bona fide digital age Renaissance mind! What a crazy diverse career you’ve had.

JS: I’ve lived all over the world. I’ve done some really awesome things, I’ve done some really terrible things, and this stuff manifests itself in the artwork and has created my outlook on the world and life. This is my passion. It’s all I’m good at. I suck as a human being, but I’m pretty good as an artist though. So I focus on that. I don’t suck when it comes to the art.

DW: Not to kill this Oscar worthy moment, but I was just thinking how they need to put you in charge of the visuals if they were to ever re-make “Westworld.” You remember that film with the robot cowboys that go ape shit?

JS: (Laughs). I love “Westworld”! I used to have one of the original scripts for that with the notes in it, you know. That was one of my favorite movies of all time when I was a little kid! I would love that. Yes, I’d like to work on a “Westworld” re-make. I’d be happy to die afterward, because I will have done it all. Alright, you’re all set here. Here’s your mechanical devil bull part.

DW: Thanks, partner.

JS: Thanks for the conversation. I don’t have that much to do with the outside world anymore, so it was nice talking with you.

DW: Likewise. Mind if I ask how you can be reached if the Scream Freaks or I ever want to look you up again?

JS: Sure. My website is http://factory1019.com and my Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/jefferyscott1019 . My site is the best place to buy my art and DVD tutorials, see where I am on the convention circuit, and reach me if you have any interest in modeling for future pieces.

DW: Well, sorry to up and go, Scream Freaks, but I gotta hurry back to the Howl-Inn with this doohickey before ole’ rust bucket falls apart. I’ll see ya later!

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