Briefly describe the work you do.
I am a photographer. I create portraits and staged tableaux’s that most often express idea’s and emotions of identity.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
I went to Brooks Institute in CA and received a BA in photography. I have experienced and observed society’s, individuals and families reactions to peoples identity and differences. It’s a main narrative in my photographs. It is important for me to tell my visual narratives with well crafted photographs. Process and craft is an important part of my work.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
My studio is my creative space to both work and relax. I find inspiration in the way I chose to decorate my studio environment. It is often a hang out for other artists to come and talk about art and life, usually over a glass of whiskey. Most of the photographs I create are visualized and brought to fruition with in the four walls of my small creative space.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
When I first began making art is was all about the process. That is still an important component in my art but I have become a much more public person, both in promoting my own art and that of fellow artists. I’ve discovered and realized the importance of a strong artist network and I work hard to cultivate that environment. I have also taken on the role of teacher, sharing my knowledge of the art and craft of photography in a university setting.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
I work when ever I can. My full time job managing a photo studio for a publishing company, teaching and personal obligations forces me to be very fluid with my time and availability with conceptualizing and creating my art.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
I used to do a lot more still life work and now, especially since finishing my latest Identity Project series, I’ve moved my attention more to photographing people. What is the same is that my narrative tends to still focus on issues of identity and family.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
I really consider myself an outside artist since I have been educated in photography and not art and art history. My work has been and continues to be very organic and personal. Growing up my greatest influence has been the album artwork of bands/musicians of the late 1960’s and 70’s.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
I make my living as a professional photographer. This work has creative elements but it’s about commerce and not art. I enjoy it immensely and it helps to fund my art. I also enjoy and appreciate the separation of the two because it keeps my art personal and less about having to sell it to make ends meet.
About William Zuback
William Zuback began his career as a professional photographer in 1988 after graduating from Brooks Institute, in Santa Barbara, California. He has been making his living as a professional photographer ever since, currently managing the studio for a magazine and book publishing company in Waukesha,Wisconsin.
Inspired by the classic album covers of the 1960’s and 70’s, Zuback has been creating conceptual/staged contemporary photographs for exhibition since the late 1990’s. His narratives generally deal with issues of family and identity, in an often surreal style. His most recent work explores identity with the nude figure as portrait.
Zuback’s work can be found in private collections through out the country. He has participated in many Juried group exhibitions and solo shows in Southeastern Wisconsin. Zuback has curated the exhibition, Madonna & Child: Interpreted, 2011 for Gallery H2O, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and co-curated the exhibition, What She Said: Wisconsin Photography Now, 2012 for Effjay Projekts gallery in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Zuback often considers or describes himself as a fly on the wall. Always in a state of observation, testing the surroundings, and at times participating. His goal as a fine art photographer is to take those observations and life experiences and create visual statements that really become a mirror for the viewer. When people view Zuback’s photographs, he would like the viewer to come away feeling visually satisfied but intellectually curious.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.