Art in Process/Interview with Gilbert West

By Carolyn Edlund

Artsy Shark recently featured Start Looking, a fascinating site about the process of art. Gilbert West, the creator of the site, answers some questions about why he created it, and how you can submit a video of your art as well!

AS: Gilbert, what led you to produce the site Start Looking? Why the emphasis on the process?

GW: Whenever I go to exhibitions, there’s often a piece of art that leaves me trying to figure out how it was made, so that’s where the fascination with process comes from.  Through Start Looking, I hope, in some small way, to widen the audience for contemporary art by showing people who might ordinarily be dismissive of contemporary art that there is a thought out process . . .

We’ve all heard people say “I could have done that” when they see new works of art, but they didn’t do it, so I suppose in some ways Start Looking is a response to that. The name Start Looking is a simple statement, a challenge if you like, to actually look and I mean really look at a piece of art. And then to look again! Sometimes that’s easy if we have an instantaneous emotional reaction to an art work. But sometimes we just need a little nudge and I find that by speaking to the artist about a painting or sculpture reveals an insight that helps me appreciate the work more. I can’t go and talk to every artist in the world, so I seek out short films of artists working or discussing their work.

AS: Your site is growing quickly with frequent additions of video. What are your plans and how would you like your audience to interact with you?

GW: Audience interaction is crucial. I only write a couple of lines about each video to stimulate a bit of interest and that is a deliberate policy on my part. Watching the video should be a starting point for people to leave their reactions.

At the moment, I’m committed to adding a new video every three days, but as it’s a new web site, I’ve been adding new material every other day.

AS: Are you looking for anything really unusual to feature on Start Looking?

GW: As I’m not an artist, it all unusual to me at the moment! I’m looking for videos that give me an insight into the day to day life of an artist in their studio. You cannot be comprehensive when it comes to artists, there just so many, and therefore you have to start making judgments about what is included in a site.

I just pick out the stuff that interests me. Anyone is welcome to suggest new videos that fit the criteria and I watch everything that is sent to me.

Interested in seeing a video of your own creative process featured on the site? Visit Start Looking, take a look around and submit your own video!

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