0:17CLAIRE: (Speaking Thai)
0:21CLAIRE: Mr. John Domont from America, welcome to Morning World.
0:27DOMONT: My pleasure, thank you.
0:29CLAIRE: So, John, what brings you here?
0:30DOMONT: Well, Claire, I’m lucky enough to come as part of American Artists Abroad, it’s
0:35a program from my government which has two parts. The Art in Embassies program where
0:41the ambassador to a particular country can decorate their embassy and receiving areas
0:46in the fashion that they are interested in and his excellency Ambassador John is from
0:55Indiana and chose some of my art to decorate the embassy and then I was awarded this position,
1:02American Artist Abroad, which is a program started in 1964 by our government and is outreach
1:08really our government trying to say here is our ideas and lets have some interchange and
1:13some friendship and exchange some aesthetic points of view as well.
1:17CLAIRE: Well this has been very beneficial for especially Thai students who receives
1:21for an artist from America, I think. So, what does it give you, personally?
1:27DOMONT: This is the most tremendous experience. I find the Thai people very generous in their
1:32hearts and very receptive in their minds and it’s a chance to really give the greatest
1:39depth that I have and it’s a chance to help them with perhaps some ideas that they haven’t
1:45been exposed to before so that they might have better lives as artists and individuals.
1:51CLAIRE: I know it’s hard to define art but what is art to you?
1:57DOMONT: To me art is that which reflects the best of human values, all human values, really,
2:04but good art is about human value, good art is that which helps me learn who I am and
2:11where I am and in relation to other human beings, what are we together? What is this
2:17world, what is this time?
2:18CLAIRE: You started off with photography and then moved on to painting. What are the differences?
2:25DOMONT: Great differences. Photography is a moment, photography is an expression of
2:31light and color and movement and shape that’s right now. And it’s a frozen moment in a
2:39way, even though that frozen moment can reflect a greater unity to something beyond the right
2:46now. Painting is a chance to give color and shape and technique to the depth of your soul.
2:56Painting is also a voyage of discovery. Photography is as well, but I think it’s a longer process.
3:03Paintings take up to two months.
3:05CLAIRE: Wow. So you’ve got different subject matters, waterlilies, landscape, a bowl, how
3:14do you select those subject matters?
3:17DOMONT: Some of it’s the time of year and the crops are coming and what do the fields
3:21look like because I love nature so much. My offering and receiving bowl paintings come
3:27to me in dreams or meditation and I paint them when they arrive. You never know when
3:34a poem will come. I think life is an art of listening, for us to have good lives, for
3:40us to have emotional balance, mental balance and a sort of spiritual journey we need to
3:47learn to listen to ourselves and listen to life. I think that’s my message as much
3:52as anything as an artist, what do we have in common and what is this moment and how
3:58do I receive it and how do I show gratitude for the journey.
4:01CLAIRE: Have you ever received critiques about your work and how do you deal with it?
4:08DOMONT: So far, knock on wood, I haven’t received any bad reviews, you know? And artists
4:15are always very sensitive and worried about what the public thinks of them and what the
4:20press thinks of them and I think I’ve gotten to the point in life where I’m just concerned
4:26with going on with the work and giving the best of what I have to give. You give the
4:33gift of love, you can never really control the outcome nor should you worry about controlling
4:38the outcome. You give your gift in the best way possible and hopefully it’s received
4:43in the best way possible.
4:49CLAIRE: (Speaking Thai)
5:05CLAIRE: So you’ve had a lecture with the kids today, basically, what are you trying
5:29to communicate, what are you trying to tell them about art?
5:33DOMONT: A lot. I’m trying to share some technique but I’m also trying to teach the
5:37idea of whole brain thinking. In art there is technique and there is imagination and
5:44life is a flow back and forth between structure and idea, color, concept and how to achieve
5:53it. But I’m also trying to teach something more and that’s how to feel, perceive and
5:59access the inspiration of your life. Inspiration is something more important than imagination
6:05and more important than technique. Inspiration is that thing that guides each of us, individually,
6:11though our lives. This is language that’s not necessarily taught in school, it’s the
6:16language of the right brain, it’s poetic language, it’s the language of color, it’s
6:20the language of imagination. If the imagination is tied to the person’s heart and mind,
6:26if it’s tied to if they find the way to contact themselves and know what inspires
6:31them and know what makes them feel good and know individually each student, each person,
6:36what gives them love, then they have the chance to go on this journey throughout their life.
6:40CLAIRE: But that’s the most difficult part. When I look at the piece of work, an artwork,
6:46sometimes it’s frustrating because you don’t know what the artist is trying to communicate.
6:52How can we start, people who are beginners, who begin to look at art?
6:57DOMONT: I think it’s, you don’t have to get too complicated about it. You see what
7:02you see and you feel what you feel and you trust that. You can’t have understanding
7:08without some relationship to feeling. Sometimes if an artist is process oriented, gluing and
7:17nailing and adding materials together, it is a piece of art for itself, it’s own closed-in
7:23idea. Sometimes a piece of art will be in the circle of someone’s imagination without
7:30having a bigger human inspiration of teaching us about ourselves and each other. And not
7:36every piece of art is equal. Nietzsche, the western philosopher said, for a piece of art
7:42to be great, it has to be about gratitude, it has to have gratitude in its notion.
7:46CLAIRE: Your work includes a lot of lighting, playing with lighting. How does that bring
7:47out the message that you are trying to communicate?
7:47DOMONT: Lighting is both a reality and a tool. There’s the light of nature, there’s inspirational
7:48light, and then there’s the surface light of the materials itself. And I think I’ve
7:48studied and worked hard to learn what other artists have done in the past so that I might
7:49become a contemporary painter, a painter of the now and be able to give something perhaps
7:50that hasn’t been given before.
7:50CLAIRE: Artists in the old days, they painted outdoors as well as indoors. Do you paint
7:50outdoors as well?
7:51DOMONT: I do, I do.
7:52CLAIRE: Is that why you travel a lot?
7:55DOMONT: I travel also to receive inspiration, culture, and ideas from around the world because
8:04I don’t know very much. I’m always trying to learn, you know? But yes, the early landscape
8:10painters, the plein air painters from before starting with Jean-Francois Millet and the
8:15Barbizon school in France in the 1850s and 60s then grew into the impressionists and
8:20post impressionists and this was a time when photography was being born and the science
8:26of light and film and black and white pictures were being born. So that kind of painting
8:36has a lot to do with the moment like photography has a lot to do with the moment. It brought
8:41us great paintings into the world and many people still try to imitate that style. I’ve
8:46tried to go on beyond that and talk about the contemporary moment, now what does life
8:51feel like and what are the results of the abstract expressions how do art and life keep
8:58growing. I think you have to be true and respectful to good artists from before but also have
9:02to integrate and know that but go on. And that’s what I’ve tried to do.
9:11CLAIRE: What’s your future project? Any future project?
9:16DOMONT: Well, that’s a deep question, Claire. Time will tell. I do always love the landscape
9:22because I do love being outdoors and I do love nature, nature is the guide, nature is
9:26the living moment. I’m really interested in drawing people and painting people and
9:33the human journey is the next phase of my work to talk about what it is, who it is,
9:38who we are in common. I’ve started a couple of projects here in Thailand through teaching
9:45that I’m interested in pursuing and we’ll see, I guess.
9:48CLAIRE: Well, John, thank you very much for your time today.
9:52DOMONT: My pleasure, thank you, Claire.