Scott Troxel

Born 1971, Philadelphia, USA

Lives in: Marmora, NJ, USA

Describe your art in 3 words: timeless, retro-futurist, balanced

See More Work:

King (2021)

"I draw on the aesthetics of bygone technology and the forward-looking designs of the Atomic Age and mid-century modernism to make dynamic, retro-futurist wooden sculptures that evoke nostalgia for the past as much as they look to the future. I am fascinated by the way pieces of technology, culture, and design reveal their age and aim to make work that cannot be pinned to a specific era."

What themes does your work involve?
I am inspired by design and technology throughout the twentieth century, such as mid-century modernism, the Atomic Age, and art deco. In terms of what my work is trying to say, I tend to expand upon Frank Stella’s famous quote “What you see is what you see.” While the viewer tends to bring his or her experiences to my work and “find” something familiar in it, my goal is to create art that features strong composition, balance, color, form and movement. My work relies heavily on these pillars. I then incorporate themes of aging, organic versus man-made, and new versus old in the sense of how we engage with technology, design, and aesthetics across generations.
Describe your creative process.
My process is significantly calculated and pre-determined. I start with a concept or raw idea—similar to how I would approach a product development project. I spend hours in graphic design software refining the concept and purging bad directions. I do this mostly from a modeling standpoint, as it is difficult to work with the materials I use without a clear direction. Once I have a concept dialed in, I gather my materials and begin constructing the piece in my wood shop. Usually, the piece ends up around 70 to 80 percent true to my mockup. Things change when creating in the studio, but my direction is mostly clear. At this point I bring the piece to my finishing studio to paint and mount the piece. In a nutshell, it goes from a concept on a computer screen to the wood shop to the studio.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I am heavily influenced by industrial design and movements like Art Deco, Mid Century Modernism and the use of plastics in the 1970s. I am inspired by artists like Frank Stella, Franz Kline, Martin Puryear, Harvey Quaytman, and the tondos of Leon Polk Smith. But I am inspired by all great art, no matter the movement or artist-- I also love the work of Magritte, Picasso and Giorgio de Chirico.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
In my opinion, great art has the rare ability to be timeless yet dated, modern but retro, organic and grounded but still futurist and otherworldly. I find this concept fascinating, and it is the foundation of what I try to achieve in my work. I want it to feel both modern and bold but perhaps from another era—when it was cutting edge, before time passed it by and changed the definition of “new or modern.”
What is the role of the artist today?
The role of an artist depends on the actual art the artist makes. I am obsessed with modern abstract art. So I wrestle with formal issues like balance, symmetry, composition, color, and scale versus politics or other themes.
Spinnaker (2021)
Instant Crush (2018)
Terebellum (2020)
Ronin (2018)


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist