An Interview with Creative Flloyd Sobczak
Ann Lee’s Farm
Wandering through a landscape, in the stillness and the quiet, is where Flloyd Sobczak taps into his creativity. As a mixed-media artist, Sobczak is always searching for the “neglected and overlooked” parts of life—the places that have a “different sense” about them. He is not interested in simply recreating a beautiful image or an epic landscape. Instead, Sobczak wants to capture the feeling or essence of ordinary life. “You want to use art as a doorway,” he explains, “so that when it opens, you can let yourself experience something fully.” An act of meditation.
Staying open is an important component of Sobczak’s artistic process. He notes that while an artist might approach their project with technical skill or a specific goal, they cannot be attached to an outcome. He believes that as you begin to work, the environment and your chosen medium become everchanging, “so there’s no forcing a result.” With a twinkle in his eye, Sobczak adds, “When things start going wrong, that’s when things start getting really interesting.”
Sobczak also stays open when it comes to what he makes and how he makes it. “I have a real desire to make marks,” he expresses; those marks, however, take many different forms. When he wants to work quickly, he employs oil paint for a “luxurious, smooth” effect. A grittier, more textured appearance is achieved through acrylic. And the slow process of watercolor, allows Sobczak to create a more dreamy, delicate experience. Sobczak is not just a painter, but also a sculptor, metal worker, illustrator, and author. He sees his diverse use of mediums as contributing to his “eclectic style” as a mixed-media creative.
Early Fall Cottonwoods
As a nature lover and seeker of simplicity, Sobczak often finds himself painting outdoors. “There is a current that runs through nature,” he notes; “the job of the artist is to tap into it.” As a self-described “private painter,” Sobczak’s creative spirit leads him on solo walks through a forest, to a lake, or to a simple building. In these quiet and calm places, he can capture the essence of his surroundings and put imagery to his thoughts.
Walking through ESAI’s new campus has brought fresh inspiration to Sobczak. An abandoned shed on the property serves as his most recent muse. “It’s an old, beat-up structure that housed things in the past. I want to record its story before it’s turned into something else,” he shares. As well, his painting “Early Fall Cottonwoods” was inspired by a cluster of trees at ESAI.
In addition to painting, Sobczak is busy publishing his first children’s book, “The Beekeeper.” Inspired by his own experience as a beekeeper, the book is intended to teach children about the importance of bees in the natural world. Sobczak describes his book as a “quiet and gentle story” that gives readers a view into the day of a beekeeper tending his hives. A year’s worth of watercolor paintings went into this thoughtful storybook designed for the young reader. Sobczak is also working on creating his second children’s book, “Orion and the Wooly Mammoth.” He is looking for a literary agent to help him publish both books.
Moving Up the Ridge
While Sobczak is thrilled to share his artwork with children and the broader public, he admits that his work is largely for himself. Since he was a child growing up in Buffalo, NY, he has been called to follow his imagination and create. He shares, “Art is critical. Art is everything that the world isn’t. The world is loud. There is good stuff and anger. But art gives you a sanctuary. You can feel things, save things, and slow down. Art gives you a new perspective that you might not be allowed to have in everyday life. Art gives you pause to just be there in the present…People do art because it’s one of the few places you can go out of control and back into control.”
One of the biggest obstacles for a creative, Sobczak believes, “is getting out of your own way.” There’s no right or wrong way to create, he encourages, so don’t overthink it. Accept that some days it might be easier to create than others, and that’s ok. “Keep moving forward, and the work will eventually come out,” he advises. “It isn’t easy to make art,” he explains; “but you have to do it, it’s part of your being.”
It wasn’t always possible for Sobczak to pursue art full-time. After earning his MFA, he, like many creatives, found it challenging to support his family through art alone. Therefore, his resume reflects a diverse range of employment, from marketing and advertising to working for the Forest Service and as a firefighter. “It’s been a long evolution,” he says, but through it all, he has always returned to the arts. “We are all creative beings,” he reminds us. With perseverance, commitment to play, and inquisitiveness, we can nurture that part of ourselves no matter where life takes us.
To learn more about Flloyd Sobczak and for updates on his books, visit: