Artist of the Month: Bill Svoboda
In the Twin Cities, we can point to several iconic images that are distinctly “MSP”. The Stone Arch Bridge in downtown Minneapolis, the “1st” sign in St Paul, our iconic skyline, and so much more. With such adoration for our urban environment, a living, breathing nostalgia can be found in the art of the Twin Cities from all walks of life. This week, we highlight one body of work that deeply embodies these feelings – the skyline work of local artist entrepreneur, Bill Svoboda. Calling upon points of MSP pride, Svoboda captures the essence of energy, movement, architecture and other hallmarks of the Twin Cities. Art Force MSP sat down with Svoboda to discuss his life as a business owner, artist, and veritable creative force of nature in the Twin Cities. Enjoy!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Was being an artist always a part of your plan?
Growing up I don’t know if I ever pictured one thing- but as a child, always kind of just assumed that I’d be doing what I loved- which would probably involve being creative.
Describe your art in one word.
Would you call yourself an artist, an entrepreneur, an artist entrepreneur or all of the above?
I’d call myself an Opportunistic Artist, because I am very entrepreneurial and tend to see business opportunities in so many intersections in my life. When I realized that there was no art like what I had pictured in my head, I saw a huge opportunity, and took it.
Did your artist career play into the formation of Coed Monkey? If so, how do the businesses strengthen each other or do you keep them mostly separate?
I view business like an art- because it’s always about creating something amazing. While systems and processes may seem “cold” or “boring” to the outside world, it makes me excited to think about the creative process of determining the best path to creating an amazing business. While I do not get to do a lot of artwork for clients, this business is my canvas- every aspect of it- and it’s fun working on it, forming it into a masterpiece.
Can you describe your interest in cityscapes? Does most of your work focus on cityscapes?
In my mind, Skylines or Cityscapes carry a deep emotional bond between the viewer and the city that is being viewed. Each city or geographic location carries a heartbeat or rhythm… I think the skylines magnify those heartbeats and rhythms. When I began this process, I knew I wanted the skylines to focus on the lines, and allow the viewer to fill in the gap and white space with their own memories. I wanted the Skylines series to allow the viewer to insert themselves into the image, and in a way, relive the feeling of the heartbeat and rhythm of the city.
What is your creative process and technique?
I’ve always loved doodling and throughout the process, I didn’t want to take myself too seriously. Lines capture the most elementary elements of a city, then combined with different stroke styles or shadowing, I wanted to add life to the lines.
What other themes do you explore through your art or do you hope to explore more in the future?
Right now I am very content with architecture or physical objects. I’d love to do a series of art dedicated to some of my favorite fashion designers though- ie. Saint Laurent or Tom Ford.
Is there a cohesive narrative between your bodies of work? Or does each piece stand individually?
The one narrative that weaves its way throughout my work is simplicity and allowing your mind to fill in the gaps. That’s where emotional connections occur, and in my mind, that’s where most artists try to steal from the viewer because they give “too much” away, leaving the viewer to simply look, not connect.
What are you currently working on?
I want to expand my current Skylines series, focusing more on the tops of the buildings, than the entire building.
Thank you, Bill, for sitting down to chat with us and for helping uplift the creative economy of the Twin Cities. For more on Art Force MSP or our Community Art Showcase, we encourage you to take a brief tour and reach out to Art Force to become a client partner today.
Remember, each artwork sale helps support artist entrepreneurs and charitable organizations through the Art Force Community Fund, so if you have a project, let us ignite the creative economy of the Twin Cities together by utilizing our network of artist entrepreneurs, art consultants and Art Force’s on-site production facility.