Meet photographer David Wong. Wong began showing his work only eight short years ago after a prior lifetime career in film production. He was inspired by his teacher, Ted Orland, one of Ansel Adams assistants, who felt he had a unique eye for light, subject and composition. In his work, Wong looks for a unique sense of art and story as created by the subject, light, composition, movement, and other “of the moment” factors. Wong’s soft spoken manner is evident in his photos, each of which offers a calm, peaceful reflection of nature’s beauty.
Wong is one of over 35 artists showing at the annual Artisans Festival, Friday & Saturday, November 28 & 29 at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center. This holiday tradition is one of the longest running festivals in Nevada County and is known for showcasing the exceptional work of regional artisans. This year’s festival takes the term “Art Party” to another level with dozens of new artists, installation art displays, performance art, live music, children’s holiday art activities, and a rustic, bohemian Acoustic Café and Wine Bar. Tickets $3, $5 Weekend Pass, Children 15 and under free. Daily hours are 10am-5pm.
What was the art background of your childhood?
I was a photographer from the age of 15. I did darkroom work and experimented a bit but it wasn’t until later in my life that I “woke-up” to art and photography. I made a switch from engineering and business mentality to an art orientation.
When did you recognize a special talent or interest in art? Was it a moment or a process? Can you remember a specific setting?
I had taken a photography class from Ted Orland, who was one of Ansel Adams assistants. I did a photograph of a lighthouse at night for the class and I found out later that he was showing the photograph to his classes. It gave me inspiration and encouragement that maybe I could do this. Shortly after, I entered a number of photographs in a show and was successful in selling many of them. I never looked back.
What did your parents say when you told them you were going to be an artist? Was it a moment or a process? Can you remember the specific setting?
My parents were gone by the time I became an artist.
Who or what were your early creative inspirations?
Edward Hopper, Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Georgia O’Keeffe, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh
Which artists are you following currently?
Charles Cramer, Annie Leibovitz, Art Wolfe
What, besides the obvious, do you like about selling your art?
I enjoy relating my love of art to the people who enjoy my vision. I very much like teaching photography and getting others to excel in their development of photography and the arts.
What do you think is the role of art in a society?
Art brings great enjoyment and appreciation to life. It expands ways of thinking and creativity in how we tackle our individual lives. I believe that people who learn to appreciate art in their lives tend to be less self-focused.
What have been the biggest sacrifices you’ve made for your art?
I don’t feel that I’ve had to make big sacrifices for my art, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I have gained much by being an artist.
What is the funkiest job you’ve taken to support your art?
I pretty much enjoy all my work.
Anything particularly interesting or striking about your story that you’d like to share?
I didn’t come to art until I was almost 60. I think self-doubt and thinking that you can’t do art is too big an obstacle for many. I never thought I had an artistic bone in my body. I used to hate going to museums and galleries! Now, I am biggest student. Never too late to learn.