Sean Diediker has always had a connection with New Mexico.
Although he grew up in California, he spent a few years in Farmington. His grandfather also owned a trading post at Star Lake.
“(My grandfather) was fluent in Navajo,” says Diediker. “He learned it so he could make deals with the artists. I lived in Farmington until I was 8 years old. Cultural influence has always been a factor. While I am a white man in the suburbs of Utah now, I have the chance to tell stories through my travels.
It was his time in New Mexico and his love of travel that led him to host the travel television series “Canvasing the World with Sean Diediker”.
He says the series is a modern marriage of “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac and “Humans of New York,” as he explores the interplay between art and the human condition.
Diediker is an artist whose work appears in museums and galleries around the world. Included in his commissions is a portrait of President Barack Obama. He has works on display at the Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe.
“You could say that my work has always been directly affected by where I live: the people, the scenery, the things I see every day,” he says. “I like to observe the stimulus and the reaction of different human situations. The environment should affect the work of an artist; if not, you paint decorations.
In the series, he goes on an adventure to explore creativity, discover people and reveal places that inspire his original paintings.
“The idea for the series arose when the digital SLR camera (single lens digital SLR camera) could take a resolution high enough for video,” he says. “I could also have it in my backpack because I would be on the road and find people to paint their stories.”
The current season sees Diediker traveling to Costa Rica, Paris, Australia, Indonesia, Germany, Patagonia. He also did an episode in Utah, California, and Santa Fe.
The Santa Fe episode airs at 8 a.m., 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Wednesday, September 15 on New Mexico PBS, channel 5.5.
Diediker and his team go through a four-part process to create the series.
The first is to travel to a destination and immerse yourself in the local culture.
He then worked with Bruce Royer, a seasoned filmmaker / producer, and their team to pursue the most inspiring leads.
For each episode, Diediker develops an original painting influenced by people and his travels.
The final stage sees Diediker and the team craft the human-interest story. He unveils the painting at the end.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into an episode,” he says. “For the episodes in Paris and Australia, I lived there for months and immersed myself in the culture there.”
With the Santa Fe show, Diediker spent two weeks with his production team.
He walked along Canyon Road and found the inspiration behind what would become “Medicine Man”.
“I gravitate towards more creatives,” he says. “Whether it’s a musician, a writer or a scientist. The stories that each person has are wonderful. As we peel off the layers, it connects us more. This is what the show is about. “
Diediker never planned a career in front of the camera, but he feels good there because the stories are the first.
He says the hardest part is gaining the trust of each person.
“I think being a painter opens a lot of doors,” he says. “When someone sees me as an artist, I become a priest in a way that they’re going to open up. I nod as I listen to them and the stories unfold. “
Diediker says the second season is almost over and will air soon.