The ART of (TAO): You were recognized for your work at a very young age (6 years old). How do you think this early recognition affected your development as an artist?
Don Frost (DF): Acquiring such acclaim at the innocent age of six was two-sided. This award gave me a direction and purpose that very few people get at any age, if at all. The award also had such a powerful effect on a six year old that there was very little room left open for alternative life choices. I am quite pleased the way my life has unfolded as an artist and concede to the present observation of my life being a creative experiment in every facet. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
TAO: You have created pieces, both large and small, for patrons all over the world, including Saudi Arabian royalty. How do different cultures influence the taste of the client? How do you adjust your process to accommodate these different tastes?
DF: The sculptures have been quite well accepted around the world because of the nonrepresentational shapes. They can fit into any culture in any location without causing offense. Because of this it isn’t necessary for me to adjust my art to fit the tastes of others; they simply like my sculptures or they don’t.
TAO: You found out you were colorblind as a teenager. How do you think this situation has benefited you in your development as a sculptor?
DF: I have essentially always been a sculptor and the discovery of colourblindness in high school just gave more justification to my 3D commitment. It may actually aid me in being more attracted to shape than colour so it is probably an asset to me rather than a liability. Sculpture is not the most popular choice in the world of creativity because it requires tools and is significantly less romantic than say ‘watercolours’. Sculpture in my world is a problem but it is also very stimulating and rewarding because of this perpetual challenge to invent and construct something that has never been made before. After embracing some of the challenges that I have encountered, the problems of day to day living are in comparison extremely trivial if not enjoyable.
TAO: What is the allure of freeform images in sculpting? How does it differ from more traditional sculpting, such as sculpting people?
DF: I have dabbled in many styles of sculpture and used just about every material available to create a sculpture in. It seems that my goal or at least my drive in life was to find the material that most favoured my chosen style of freeform sculpture. Most materials were too rigid, expensive, difficult to work with, slow moving and generally unfriendly to a whimsical, emotional imagination. The material which I presently work with offers virtually limitless potential and even after making a thousand sculptures it is exciting to ponder a new idea and create something completely new. I had the naive understanding of being a successful artist that absolutely original art was required before one could be considered great. This is why I took the direction of freeform sculpture since copying another artist was unacceptable behaviour. Freeform was such a fascinating pursuit because there were no limitations, rules, regulations, and when a piece was finished it was not immediately compared to a similar piece; it was the original. There was also the selfimposed challenge to attempt to cause an emotional reaction in others through a sculptural shape that had never been seen before and had no relationship with anything else on the planet. I was trying to get an emotion into a rigid form.
TAO: What are you working on now that you are excited about?
DF: I believe that the almost infinite freedom to express through my use of composite material has in turn helped to establish a very loose philosophy on life and art, for which there is no difference at this point. There is no established grading system in becoming a sculptor. It is not like I stepped out of college and then had to repeat myself endlessly until death. Every sculpture is a new learning experience and that learning plateau involved in creating the most present sculpture is what feeds the imagination to go just a little bit further on the next sculpture. It is the art that changes me, and it is me that changes the art in this continually challenging relationship. The concept of retirement simply does not exist in my world. To stop doing what I do would be to stop eating, drinking, listening, loving and vividly experiencing every emotion possible. It is the next sculpture that I am about to create that is the next dream that I live, the next romance I have with a form and an unknown outcome. It is exciting and I am indeed grateful for being able to survive in a world where I can bring fantasy into daily life.