Talented Young Artist: Zach Filkens!

I attended an art opening for Zach Filkins acrylic work at Layorart studio, in Bend, OR. He allowed me to interview him the next day. Zach is a friend of mine, and is a very talented artist. He is showing some of his acrylic work there for the month of November. Opening night was quite the party. The smaller gallery was filled with art enthusiast, until late into the night. The gallery had a live dj and was serving wine all night. Zach was available to talk to throughout the evening, and was enjoying the culmination of all his hard work.

Zach was born  at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, OR . Was soon moved to West Virginia for about 9 years. He also lived in Florida, Portland, Whidbey island, WA.  And has now found himself living in Bend Or. He said that he does feel influenced by the different places he has lived. Zach enjoys painting, gaming and snowboarding. 

Zack was already being recognized by his friends as being a really good artist in high school. His friends would see his art, and say “I would buy that for $20”, or whatever amount. And they did. That was how he first started selling his art. That’s when he knew he wanted to be an artist.

Art has been the only consistent thing in his life. He says that he has always had art to get him through the things hes going through in life.

He did say he is in an acrylic period right now. He’s also doing a lot of abstract. His show ranged in impressionism, expressionism, most of which had abstract elements. He also went through a colored pencil period. And his colored pencil work was amazing and life like. It almost jumped out of the page at you. He says that when he makes a piece, that he wants to come up with a plan, a meaning to every color. That it is all planned out, not just some arbitrary brush strokes on the canvas. He used to do exceptional colored pencil work. Now he is painting with acrylics. He said that moving from colored pencils to painting acrylics, when compared to gaming, was like going from a video game console to a computer. You just don’t want to go back, a console is just a console. It does what it does and that is it. It has limited functions when compared to a computer.

Zach currently runs his own house painting business, Pilot Butte Painting. This allows him to pay the bills and keep himself fed with art supplies. He really likes not having to rely on selling his art to live. He says that having his own business to pay the bills, takes the pressure off him having to pump art out. He has time to make it more meaningful to him. To care about the piece he is working on.

Zack gives aspiring artists this advice. To never give up. He said to stay off social media. You will see someone doing something similar to you. They may have learned to master it, and make it look easy. You don’t want to be discouraged because you haven’t  mastered something yet. You will have to do something for 20 years, and thousands of times to master it. And that’s ok. Every artist is in a different place in their career.

When asked his favorite color, he responded clear. From my recent conceptual visual literacy class, I was confident. I promptly responded clear is not a color. But he was insistent that clear is his favorite color.

When asked if he had goals as an artist, He said he didn’t really have goals, he said that he just wanted to keep doing what he is doing and keep working on his acrylics. He would like to work with oil based, but they can take 3 weeks to dry, and he doesn’t have any space for that right now.