From filmmaking student to furniture salesman to marketing guru, Scott Troxel’s first love has always been artwork. The 40-something’s now pursuing his passion full time, and creating for collectors both near and far – from the Jersey Shore to Europe and Canada. – by Lauren Avellino Turton. Photos provided by Scott Troxel.
Scott’s road to success within the art world was a windy one. The Montgomery County, PA native attended Temple University where he earned a filmmaking degree.
“Its funny, in high school I was an art major, and began moving in that direction in college, but I had some bad experiences with some professors,” he said. “My roommate was a radio, TV and film major, and used to bring his cameras home. I became intrigued by moving images, and the visual creativity and accessibility of it. I could just go out on the street, shoot it, then edit it my way. That was very appealing.”
Once he graduated, Scott didn’t pursue video production, but instead went to work in the furniture industry.
“Then I got a job in the Ocean City area with a wetsuit company. I handled sales, brand management, and product development. I gained experience in industrial design, and creating designs for retail. I’d been married and raising two kids by then, and I was satisfied with my work. Developing graphics and packaging provided me with a great creative outlet.”
Four years ago, Scott came across an article featuring Lance Balderson, a Philly native, now based in Upper Township. Balderson has become an esteemed artist, with work on permanent display at the world-famous Philadelphia Museum of Art. He now teaches art out of his home, and is a member of the Ocean City Arts Center and Ocean City Fine Arts League.
“I started going to some of his classes and painting with Lance. He encouraged me to enter my work into the League’s monthly competition, which I did. My return back to art just snowballed from there. Call it a sort of ‘mid-life crisis,’ if you will,” he laughed. “Art was something that was always within me, but I buried it for a while. I can remember during family trips, always dragging everyone to the art museums in whatever city we were visiting, New York, Chicago, wherever.”
As he threw himself into his artwork, he was still working his other job full time.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to work from home, so during the day, I’d tackle my marketing, branding, and graphic design tasks, then work on pieces of art at night,” he said.
At first, Scott would paint on canvas using abstract impressionism as his inspiration.
“It’s kind of like Jackson Pollock’s method,” he explained. “I start to paint, and see where it takes me. The process determines the outcome, and I just paint until it’s finished. If I don’t like something, I can paint over it and begin again.”
Craving a new and different challenge, Scott moved into wall sculptures.
“My neighbor is a contractor in Ocean City, and I noticed he would throw away scraps of wood, so I’d take it. He has a professional woodshop, and taught me how to use the equipment. I found it a really cool process, much different than painting. That led me to mixed media,” he said. “I love the physicality of crafting wall sculptures, the cutting, the painting.”
Scott’s creative process is a calculated one, he says.
“I sit back and look at the materials I have. I use a lot of exotic woods, like mahogany and walnut. I get a mental visual, which gets the ball rolling,” he explained. “Then, I sit down and , using Photoshop or Illustrator, I come up with the concept. Call it a ‘schematic’ or ‘blueprint’ which maps out the shapes and colors. I print it out, and start cutting away. The finished piece ends up being about 60 to 70 percent of the original plans. That’s where the artistic part comes out, to work on the fly.”
Modern art is Scott’s favorite, he says, and that inspires his wall sculptures.
“It’s interesting. Modern art can be rustic when you combine materials. I appreciate the organic quality of the woods, and the modernness of the pure white, man made composite decking. The inherent texture of wood, combined with paint and other man made materials, allow me to explore the concepts of old and young, worn versus new, organic versus man made, and the past versus the present and future. I look to capture a sense of time in my work and often combine the feeling of different eras within a single piece. ”
Scott says he has a few select pieces that are most significant to him.
The Voyager series, he said, are transitional pieces that ultimately opened his eyes, and gave him confidence that art could become his full time career. Voyager4 is a large mixed-media wall sculpture, constructed from two layers of MDF board with solid African mahogany, wood stain, and acrylic paint. Both futuristic and retro, Voyager4 is reminiscent of the furniture designs of the Mid-Century Modern Art Movement.
“Feedback from curators and the art community was so positive,” he said. “Internally when I’m usually finished a piece, I feel I’m 90 percent there, but it could be better. “In the Voyager pieces, I say ‘it couldn’t be better. That I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve.’ I find I’m learning more and more the more work I complete.”
Scott attributes much of his financial success and widespread popularity to online sales, coupled with his extensive marketing and branding experience.
“I have a unique choice of medium,” he explained. “Not as many artists use mixed media, but more so watercolor. That definitely helped propel my business.”
Online art galleries, including UGallery and Saatchi Art, have given Scott’s business quite the boost and recognition, so once given global publicity, Crate and Barrel got on board with Scott’s work.
“UGallery formed a relationship with Crate and Barrel, and placed 15 to 20 pieces of mine on their online gallery. They send out emails all over the world, from San Francisco to Bangkok – anyone can buy my pieces. Crate and Barrel’s main goal was to bring the art gallery experience to the comfort of collectors’ own homes, and to feature custom made works of art that aren’t mass produced.”
Scott also works regularly with several local interior design firms on custom commissions for homes in Cape May and Atlantic County areas. The firms include Dompierre in Marmora, Surroundings in Northfield, and Stone Harbor’s Summer House Design Group. His wall sculpture House of Cards2 was a custom piece for a beach front home in Stone Harbor, commissioned by Summer House Design Group. Custom commissions are available through both those companies, or Scott directly. Find him on the web at scotttroxelart.com or on Instagram @scotttroxel.art.
Scott’s artwork is also available at a host of local galleries, including Nashville North Studios in Linwood, Ocean City Fine Arts League, and The Holtzman Gallery at Ocean Club in Atlantic City.