Interview with David Slutzky, whose exhibit, BEWARE OF THE TRAINS, is on view at the Kaaterskill Fine Arts & Crafts Gallery & Bookstore in Hunter Village through Aug. 31, 2015.
The other day I told a friend that David Slutzky was having an exhibit of his train drawings at the Kaaterskill Gallery. Oh, she said, is that the guy in the black hat? Do you get that a lot?
Yes I’ve been wearing the hat for so long that people don’t recognize me when I don’t wear it.
How did you come to start drawing trains? What was the attraction?
I started drawing trains when I wanted a record of my trains and some of the trains that I’ve seen in my travels. The attraction of trains to me is I find them fascinating in the time they have been around and the history they have created. For me it started in 1983 when I wanted to see the Forth Bridge in Scotland, the sheer size of that great bridge was overwhelming.
You’re a photographer and sculptor as well. Care to weigh in on that? Such as, do you express different feelings in your photographs than you do in your sculptures?
I will answer this question in a different way. I’m a snowmaker who loves to be creative in the Arts and grew up around Big Machinery and see them as works of art from drawing and painting them and using parts in sculptures. From being a two dimension artist in drawing, painting and photography to work in the third dimension as in sculpturing helps one see more, much more in what you are looking at.
You worked on a giant bluestone sculpture of Rip Van Winkle at the top of Hunter Mountain with Lexington sculptor Kevin Van Hentenryck some years ago. The inspiration for the sculpture was yours though. Why did you take on that project?
We are in the land of Rip Van Winkle and I thought it would be appropriate to have a sculpture of” Rip” waking up with one of the greatest views in the Catskill’s from Hunter Mountain. Most people only see a sculpture when it’s a finish piece of work, I wanted people to see a work in process and see how a sculpture is made. It was to be a 5 year project that took 14 years to complete, along the way many people had the unique experience of seeing Kevin, me and 2 Caspers working on “Rip”.Every once in a while someone will stop me and say” My parents brought me to Hunter Mountain as a kid and I saw “Rip: being worked on by you and Kevin, I tell them Kevin was the sculptor and I was his helper.
I’ve seen your photographs of snowmaking and other large machinery and they are fabulous! What inspiration do you find in these large mechanical objects?
In growing up in the construction and ski business I feel very comfortable around big machinery and snowmaking and to show off different sides of these unique business.
Were you formally trained as an artist?
Not until I went to art school and by that time I was too entrenched in my own style for teachers too change me. I have a B F A from the University of Pennsylvania and attended The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia
When you’re not creating art, you’re creating snow, am I right? Is there any difference in the creative process when creating one or the other?
I think when someone creates something and loves what they are doing the creative process takes over and the end creation is for the world to see and enjoy……
If there’s one question you wish I would have asked, what it is? And would you answer it for us?
The one question I would have liked you to ask me is what is the future of the mountain top art community and who is trying to help it grow and who is not…….