Things That Kill- Kathy Vargas

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #54: Kathy Vargas

1. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?
I teach full time at the University of the Incarnate Word.

2. When did you consider yourself an artist?
I first considered myself an artist at the age of 5 when I got my first (Diana) camera. I got hooked pretty quickly. My uncle was a photographer in Laredo, Mexico and he’d come visit, Graflex in tow. To this day I use Graflex cameras in addition to the more complete Calumet 4×5.

3. What are your influences?
I’ve traipsed through the entire history of photography, in addition to looking at quite a lot of the contemporary work being made, so pretty much any of that would apply. Specific photographic influences are Hans Bellmer and Joel Peter Witkin for the grotesque; Graciela Iturbide and Julia Margaret Cameron for beauty; Duane Michals and Pedro Meyer for the surreal. However, my imagination is even more easily stirred by literature: almost anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Rosario Castellanos’ Balun Canan; Akutagawa’s Cogwheels; Cecile Pineda’s Face and Frieze. Face is particularly relevant to this series.

4. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?
My 3 bedroom house is my studio, so pretty large. I have two “shooting” rooms: the living room for larger work and a small bedroom for still-life type work. I also have a three room darkroom: one room for printing; one for washing and toning, and one smaller room for drying. I also have a room for painting and framing pieces. Lighting is simple. Usually smaller, simple lights for smaller work and Paul Buff lights when I need to photograph larger or moving subjects.

5. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?
There’s no “typical”. If I’m in the darkroom I listen to music (CDs). If I’m painting I may listen to music or put on a movie. But on certain days the silence is nice too.

6. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
My preferred medium is photography, but I draw and paint on the photographs, and now I’m even drawing on the negatives by scratching them. I’ve also sewn on photos as well as collaged on them, used gold and silver leaf – whatever fits the theme. I work on several series at a time at the beginning, when I’m trying to decide what to do next. However, usually one idea comes forward; then I work almost exclusively on that series. Sometimes I think I’m done (like with the masks) and go on to another series. Then the previous idea recurs in a new way. That’s happened two or three times.

7. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?
Not really. I guess most people don’t use 4×5 cameras anymore, so maybe that, but that’s about it.

8. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?
I write. I started writing lyrics about three or four years ago, when a friend of mine from the old days (I used to do rock and roll photography) decided to do a solo CD. I asked if I could help with text and he said he’d try me out. We wrote about 19 songs in the space of three months: my words, his music. His CD is called Incantation and I wrote the lyrics for half the songs on it. The videos are all over You Tube. Albert used to be a member of Blue Oyster Cult and recently he rejoined them for a few gigs, during which he performed one of our songs “Ravens”, during his solo spot. One of my favorites from the CD is “Road Show,” which is about MY experiences on the rock road, though they do seem to coincide with Albert’s; I also really love “Ghosts”, “Voyeur”, and “Face in Your Mirror.” “Voyeur” is about photography, as you can tell in the video. “Face in Your Mirror” was inspired by Cecile Pineda’s book, Face. There’s an online review with mentions that Albert and I seem to be in sync, music-wise, and we were under Grammy consideration for all of about five days; we didn’t have a chance though, not up against Keb Mo and Greg Allman. Oh well. In addition to writing with/for Albert, I am working on a novel about rock and roll in the 1970s. That’s great fun.

9. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
My work for “Things That Kill” is pretty much typical of what I do. The subject of these photos, masks, originated with the “Innocent Age” series. The earlier masks depicted “nicknames”/perceptions I heard parents use in addressing their children: gordo/piggy; fool/stupid; monster, etc. I wondered how many times those “nicknames” became self-fulfilling prophesies. It’s bad enough when children are bullied with those names; it must be horrible to hear your parents say them. The later masks have a different slant, not as a direct relation to childhood, but as a consideration of masks worn inwardly while showing a face of normalcy/innocence to the world, specifically the concealed identities of true monsters: terrorists and murderers. How might they look if we could see their anger and hatred when they walked down the street? And so the masks returned as the hidden face of an evil-doer, reversing the usual face/mask relationship: the bland face lies; the mask is the true identity.

10. How did you approach the subject matter?
As a photographer, I need an actual object to photograph. So I’ve been using mostly Halloween masks. I cut them, stretch them, scar them, or otherwise reshape them. The extra texture added during double exposure also altered the original mask, but I want the surface to look fleshy, like skin, to make sure that the human element is read along with the idea of a monster. Recently I’ve begun to add eyes, so that it looks like there’s a person (maybe trapped) in there; I’m working on those now. Haven’t finished any yet.

11. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
I think I’ve pretty much covered that, except to say that next time you hear a report about a shooting, check out the killer’s home life. (Didn’t one of those shooters kill his mother first?) Then go to Walmart, listen to the screaming parents and crying children; check out what the parents are saying to their kids, what they’re calling them. It’ll scare the heck out of you; that lack of sensitivity is one sure way to create a real live monster.

Things That Kill- Joe Crookes

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #27 part 2: Joe Crookes

P1060059

1. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
Ironworkers do occasionally take calculated risks. Crane operators depend on men with walkie-talkies to guide their blind loads to out of sight “connectors”. It is a little bit
like glass blowers in a hot shop intuitively communicating their precise intentions.

2. How did you approach the subject matter? Prographica4

I often gave the ironworkers heroic pictures of themselves. I let them know that I admired their skill and agility. I kept returning to the rigorous beauty in the large-scale structural ironwork. The strict function of the the design carries with it a strict aesthetic beauty. Even a bolt or nut, a beat up carpenter’s canvas bag have integrated beauty and function.

 

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work  in “Things that Kill”?
Since I was given a hard hat and permission to access all parts of the stadium during the build, I was the ironworkers’ mascot so to speak. I became part of the crew.

Things That Kill- Brian Blackham

Featured

Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #25 part 2: Brian Blackham

in studio

1. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
My painting is of cubes of sugar. The reflection of the theme “Things that Kill” is how the obsession of sugar is killing us. One tasty bite at a time, getting us addicted to the sweet taste of things. Losing the desire to eat anything that doesn’t have sugar in it is taking a toll on us, physically and mentally. This show is inline with the way I think about my work. I approach subject matter for my paintings with the hope of knowing how ‘loaded’ or ‘unloaded’ it will be. Although subject matter is very important, I want the formal elements of painting to be at the forefront when viewing my work.

2. How did you approach the subject matter?
My approach of the subject matter was to try to present it in the same way you would present something special. To give it center stage, and see the beauty of what it is, not what it does.

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
I’m unable to think of anything at this time. I do hope though, that you will become addicted to looking at my work.

Things That Kill- Evelyn Woods

Featured

Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #9 part 3: Evelyn Woods

IMG_1009 (1)

1. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
The self portrait “Silence” is a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill” in that if one cannot speak their truth and is forced to stay silent, then that very silence has the ability to kill their spirit which eventually can kill the essence of that individual. Throughout history we have been witness to individuals, groups of people, cultures and even countries who die as a result of forced silence. One has only to remember the Holocaust as an example.

I have done self portraits in the past as an exercise in painting from direct observation never intending them for a show. What better source than your own face. What is revealed in the process of painting can be a surprise even to oneself.

The painting “Twisted #2” was nearly completed before hearing of this show and was in continuation with a series using similar subject material. Its Medusa-­like quality has the effect of something that could kill due to the feelings evoked when looking at the image. After exploring the myth of Medusa, I discovered how she was forced into having a head of writhing snakes as punishment for being a victim of rape. Another example of what happens if one has the courage to speak the truth.

2. How did you approach the subject matter?
In approaching the theme I could not help but think of all the ways things could kill with some obvious ones such as cars, cancer, natural disasters etc… But I decided to take a risk using my own personal history in the form of a self portrait. My dilemma was in painting a visually successful image while within a heavily loaded context.

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
Whether my subject material takes the form of a still life as in previous drawings, or the painting of tree forms as in my latest work, the approach is the same. To paint or draw is a personal exploration of selected subject material. In the end, if successful,the inherent meaning is revealed.

Things That Kill- John Fadeff

Featured

Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #53: John Fadeff

fadeffstudio

 

1. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?
I have worked a number of jobs; printer, fishing pole repair, store clerk, sign maker, exhibition graphics fabricator, photo spotter, public works inspector, toy designer, and animator.

2. When did you consider yourself an artist?
I always liked to draw and make things.

3. What are your influences?
Well, everything; the good, bad, and ugly. Things often come up in the work that I didn’t recognize till later. It’s foggy most days where I grew up. Some days we couldn’t see the houses across the street, but a few blocks away, there was a declining seaside amusement park and you could hear the screams from roller coaster. A few blocks up the hill is the Legion of Honor Museum. My brothers and I were looking in the door one day and the guard invited us in, telling us kids were admitted free. The Norton Simon collection was housed there at the time along with the permanent collection. It became a regular haunt. The park and golf course around the museum had been a Chinese cemetery, relocated out of city limits in the 1930s, and we occasionally found bones and pieces of skulls. Around the corner was a carnival supply store, Royal Merchandise, that rented pinwheels and festival games, and sold gag novelties and grab bags. We studied that place as closely as the Legion. One of the old guys that ran the place had a padlocked plywood storage room full of shiny hard-plastic masks, floor to ceiling, he would occasionally invite us to view. Unlocking the padlock, opening the door, ushering us in to the pitch-black room, finding the pull-string to a single hanging bulb – a real performance – it was something to see.

4. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?
I have a 12’ by 12’ room in a former flat that was broken into small apartments many years ago. Two west-facing windows look out at the building next door, late in the day the sun beats on the windows, but I can get a few good hours of natural light.

5. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?
It depends what I am working on: drawing, printing, or cutting stencils, or compositing on the computer. I listen to music sometimes, or the baseball game for the pace, and the crowd and the crack of the bat. The street outside is busy, with all kinds of traffic and the panhandle park is across the street. Most times I go with that.

6. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I like ink on paper. The light passing through the ink and reflecting back off the paper and back through the ink. Lately I have been making prints for animation and working on stand-alone ink drawings, going back and forth between the two projects.

7. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?
The drawings for the exhibit were done with a standard dipping pen on hot press watercolor paper. I start with drawing in pencil, and then hatch against the direction of the pencil lines in ink. Where ink covers pencil, encapsulating some of the carbon, it darkens the ink. Once the inking is done I erase the pencil.

8. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?
My partner Rebecca and I have been fixing up our fixer upper, that we swore we would never spend all our time fixing up!

9. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
I tried to get a sense of the immediacy of commonplace, internal and external, life and death situations.

Yes, I work this way sometimes.

10. How did you approach the subject matter?
Sort of like the Carnac the Magnificent bit by Johnny Carson. The drawings are in the envelopes.

11. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
Many years ago a relative and some of his colleagues had a plan to rob the coin depository from one of the old streetcar companies. On the way they decided to stop and get gas; once there they decided to rob the gas station. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, for many possible reasons.

My great Aunt Maude (given name Hundoume) died before I was born so I never met her. A few month’s ago I was buying tires and noticed Maude’s husband Buck (given name Adolfo) in a photo in the office. I asked the proprietor and was told that Buck was a relative of his and he also knew and well remembered Maude describing her movements and her laugh.

A friend has a theory that the Myth of Scylla and Charybdis refers to the relationship of dialectically opposing forces. The orbit of one draws you inward but if you give yourself over completely it will take you down with it. However, the counter force, like the attraction of the clashing rocks or the current of the swirling waters can carry you back from the brink. The myth emphasizing that there is no middle route, no stasis between the two forces, but a struggle.

Things That Kill- Ellen Garvens

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #52: Ellen Garvens

eg studio

1. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?
I am a professor of Art at the University of Washington. That is how I make my living.

2. When did you consider yourself an artist?
I remember students calling themselves artists in College and I felt like I hadn’t earned the title yet. However, I did know at the time that I had found a commitment that was likely to be for life. So in reality, though it sounded pretentious at the time, I did see myself as fitting the label of an artist in my early 20’s in college.

3. What are your influences?
It depends on the series. I find myself looking at other work in Painting, Drawing and in Sculpture perhaps more than in photography for many of my series. I am interested in materials, process and accumulation in a way that fits those mediums. For the recent video work I am noticing things around me, specifically how things move in new ways. Mundane things in my immediate environment have become my inspiration.

4. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?
I moved my studio from our basement to an empty bedroom with natural light several years ago. I was about to paint the walls white but instead started the series I am still doing now using the overly push pinned, fingerprinted walls. The aftermath of childhood activity in this room for 18 years forms the backdrop and inspiration for this series. It is tiny – only 10 x 10 feet square!

5. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?
My activity is pretty quiet. I am lost in thought, moving things around, setting up different cameras and points of view. I also spend time on the computer processing images and then going back to the set ups with different ideas to try. With the video work I can lose a whole day trying to get an effect to happen with the sequence because I am a novice and learning the video editing software as I go.

6. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I go back and forth between the stills and the videos often getting inspiration from one that leads to the other.

7. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?
No, but I do find that the best work is often “found” not created. That is, while I am trying to do one arrangement, another inadvertent juxtaposition happens. The aftermath of props from one idea can insinuate itself into the next set-up and add the unexpected. I am also drawn to “stupid” materials. Materials that look awkward, like a failed science experiment, but become about process, resourcefulness and humility.

8. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?
I have a family. Those three things, family, job and art, are more than I can handle already!

9. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
I have chosen to include objects that can kill somewhere in my still lives. I wouldn’t have normally incorporated these things but enjoyed their potential to blend with the other materials.

10. How did you approach the subject matter?
It was a fun challenge. I made a list of things that I wanted to consider. I did some internet research too. The flypaper I thought would be interesting for its dangling shape and golden color. (I also found out that there is a case where someone used the arsenic in flypaper to kill someone!) The drapery cords were something I only became aware of as a new mother. Filled with warnings about strangulation, I cut my cords so short I needed a stool to reach them afterwards. With the image called Poison I was noticing how beautiful hydrangeas are, wanting to photograph them and finding out that they are one of the most poisonous plants to consume.

11. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
I was able to borrow a room at the University of Washington larger than my studio to shoot these images. With it I had access to a huge ladder and towering perspective I couldn’t achieve in my small studio. That additional height allowed an extended sense of space in the Flypaper image I am continuing to experiment with.

 

Things That Kill- Elizabeth Ockwell

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #28 Part 2: Elizabeth Ockwell

e-studio'16

1. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
The work in this show is not like the drawings of late 19th century architecture that I usually show. These are closer to the more private work in my sketchbooks and drawings that I did with my School of the Art Institute of Chicago anatomy students at the Field Museum of Natural History. Dover Beach, the Matthew Arnold poem ends: “….we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.” The words Things that Kill brought Arnold’s poem to mind. I decided to reopen a series of drawings that I made in 2000. The series was meant as an elegy for my father, who loved the poem and often read it aloud. It felt appropriate to bring together three things that interest me deeply: drawing the skeleton, handwriting, and maps.

e-Dover Beach No.5

Elizabeth Ockwell, “Dover Beach No. 5”, June 2016, etching ink transfer, black gesso, nautical chart, 46.5 x 33”

Skeletons of animals that were killed or died, relate to the theme of Things that Kill, but even more directly, the skeleton of the harbor seal, an animal that looks so humorous and friendly in life, has a very clearly carnivorous skull! This skeleton appeared unexpectedly last fall in my local library. It was placed in the library by Seadocs, an organization that concerns itself with the health of littoral regions of Puget Sound. I was delighted to have such a beautiful specimen to draw.

2. How did you approach the subject matter?
I have always liked writing faint little notes to myself on my drawings, but formally combining words and images is more difficult for me because the result often looks self-conscious and stiff. The ink transfer method that I have been using for this series makes drawing and writing feel much the same and smoothes out the difference between images and words.

To make an ink transfer, you roll out etching ink on a large piece of glass, place the paper on the soft wet ink and draw on the back with a broad unpointed pencil. When you lift the paper up, the image is backwards on the back of the paper. The resulting lines are thick and greasy and if you have touched the paper your fingers and hands make prints too. The out-of-control randomness of this works well with the irregular forms of islands and coasts shown on the nautical charts.

dover_no2_web_1

“Dover Beach II”, 2001, mixed media on paper, 33 x 46.5″

This dark, inky, reversed way of drawing is at one with the grief and rage of the poem . It also feels both in tune and in contrast to the violent calligraphy of the landscape recorded and tamed by cartographers.

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
Here are some sketches that I made when I was working on the skeleton of the Rocky Mountain Goat for Dover Beach #1.

e-RMGoatSkele-R M Goat sk

Both larger finished drawings are about ¾ life-size. The Rocky Mountain Goat drawing was done on large sheets of tracing paper that I taped to the glass of the vitrine at the Field Museum. I did this because it was hard to see through the glass, but mostly because if I moved around, then I could draw every part of the skeleton straight on without foreshortening the legs and hooves.

dover_no1_72

“Dover Beach I”, 2001, mixed media on paper, 47.75 x 35.5″

 

Things That Kill- Graham Shutt

Featured

Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #24 Part 2: Graham Shutt

shutt-studio-2016.jpg

1. In what way is you work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill?”
If my photograph, The New / Oxford / Annotated / Bible // with the / Apocrypha // Expanded / Edition // Revised / Standard / Version // An Ecumenical / Study Bible // Oxford (2016), reflects the theme “Things That Kill,” it does so indirectly as I’ll attempt to explain below.

2. Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
Norman Lundin remarks in his curator’s comment for the current exhibition, “In our last thematic show, Observing Observing (a white cup), the content . . . was essentially emotionally neutral, devoid of psychological associations. . . . In Things That Kill, because of all the psychological associations, the content is the polar opposite of the ‘white cup.’ It is this red button content that is challenging.”

Because my photographs tend to be about processes rather than representations of identifiable subject matter with which one associates specific emotions, I found it helpful to interpret the prompts for both the previous exhibition and the current one in a slightly different manner. Rather than focusing on the emotional valence of the subject matter, I found I could think of Observing Observing as being about form and Things That Kill as being about content. My task, then, was to represent form in the case of Observing Observing and to represent content in the case of Things That Kill.

3. How did you approach the subject matter?
For Things That Kill I had thought to begin by photographing the text of the passage in Plato’s dialogue Apology of Socrates in which Socrates recounts the accusations brought against him by Meletus, that he is “guilty of corrupting the minds of the young, and of believing in supernatural things of his own invention instead of the gods recognized by the State” (24b – c). As we know, the jury finds Socrates guilty of all three charges and, in a separate vote, sentences him to death. As I worked I became interested in the books I was photographing. I decided to make a book rather than a text my subject.

4. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in Things That Kill ?
Even though I use a DSLR, a raster graphics editor, and an inkjet printer to make photographs, I nevertheless do as much work as I can in the camera. The principles of “straight” photography, first expounded by Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and the other members of Group f.64, still hold true today.

shutt_new-oxford_2016_archival-inkjet-print_18x12_web

“The New Oxford Annotated Bible / With the Apocrypha / Expanded Edition / Revised Standard Version / An Ecumenical Study Bible / Oxford”, 2016, archival inkjet print, 18 x 12″

Things That Kill- Dianne Kornberg

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #35 Part 2: Dianne Kornberg

Kornberg Studio

1. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
“Madonna Bomb 2” is the second in a series of four pieces that are a response to a poem by Celia Bland. The poem describes a suicide bombing, while referring metaphorically, in the context of the project as a whole, to the “bomb” of childbirth and parenting. It is one of twenty-six images that make up the exhibition and book titled Madonna Comix.

The stylistic elements I employed for this series are unique in my work–I developed them for this particular image/text project.

The subject matter–a pregnant woman wearing a suicide vest, plus the included poetic and comic text, is loaded content, at the very least the shock of a woman surfacing as a militant combatant in a religious cause, a jihad. For me there is an equivalency between the content and the “art” and I believe the art holds its own. But you will decide for yourself if the piece is “front-loaded.”

2. How did you approach the subject matter?
The project began when Celia sent me a selection of poems about the Madonna. I found that they addressed a range of ideas: the physicality of childbearing, self-sacrifice and suffering, ecstasy and adoration. They spoke of fears and choices and of things we take on faith. They spoke to multiple experiences of being a woman.

I considered the “smart-alecky” nature of some of the poetic text. I decided to scan Lulu comic book pages, and partially erase the images to serve as the surface on which to work. The proto-feminist “Little Lulu” comic books were empowering to me as a girl in the 1950’s because Lulu stepped outside gender roles–she went her own way, had opinions, out-witted the boys. I allowed some of the Lulu text to show through to serve as a “down to earth” commentary on Bland’s lyric language. My working process was very experimental. I utilized skills from my background in painting, printmaking, and photography. In addition to the figure, I included in the image the pentimento comic book page, a map of Jerusalem, a selection of text from the poem, and text from Little Lulu.

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
When I began working with the poem “Madonna Bomb” I went on-line to learn about suicide bombers. I came across a picture of a 15 year old girl hand-cuffed to a chain-link fence, wearing a suicide vest. At the time I did not realize that girls were being used as suicide bombers. The Lulu text included in Madonna Bomb 4 reads, “A little girl! WHAT?”

Madonna Bomb 1

“Madonna Bomb 1”, 2012, archival pigment print

Madonna Bomb 2 copy

“Madonna Bomb 2″, 2012, archival pigment print, 31″ x 20” image, 32.5 x 21.5” framed (included in “Things That Kill”)

Madonna Bomb 3

“Madonna Bomb 3”, 2012, archival pigment print

Madonna Bomb 4 copy

“Madonna Bomb 4”, 2012, archival pigment print

Things That Kill- Anne Petty

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #15 Part 2: Anne Petty

Studio1.jpg

1. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
For the past two years my work has been exploring the character of what I have named “the wild woman”—a mishmash of the cultured lady and primitive woman. Within this body of work, I consider her day to day life and existence, of the figure stripped away from society and off on their own in the wild. Among other thoughts, sustenance was something that came up—how and what does she eat to survive? The parallel between animal and human as well as the gradients of civility are interesting to me. To eat she must hunt. She takes on the role of the feral animalistic hunter as well as the more methodical hunter, using tools and traps. I enjoy the blurring between the two—she is clothed giving her some connection to society yet she is crawling about like an animal, perhaps even displaying her prey from her mouth.

2. How did you approach the subject matter?
As mentioned in my previous response, I had already been working on subject matter that the theme “Things that Kill” overlapped with. It was a really nice coincidence, and gave me a push to explore that side of my subject matter a bit further.

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
Being a vegetarian for many years, this theme is an interesting one for me to work within. In the beginning I felt slightly conflicted depicting these women hunting prey, something I don’t see myself as being able to do, but only initially. I view their hunting as an outward display of their strength and tenacity. While still having its own unique challenges, I appreciate the straightforward simplicity of their existence.

Things That Kill- Caroline Kapp

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #29 Part 2: Caroline Kapp

Kapp_Photo_In_Studio-1

1. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
Working within a theme is a natural way of working for me, whether it’s a single image idea or larger concept for a series. I generally start everything with sketches, but looking back at the initial concept work for this show, I started with written words and scenarios. Things like ‘ways to be killed’ and ‘things that can die’. This led to more words, ‘suffocation’ ‘buried’ ‘canned’ then concepts like what we find ourselves living up to, or what can break us down, air and breath. Those led to more ideas about what doesn’t kill, what lives and thrives. The sketched images emerged out of those words and concepts. So the process for creating the ideas for this theme was a little different because of the words and scenarios I considered before the sketches that dissected ideas surrounding ‘things’ and ‘kill’ independently of each other as well as together.

Kapp_KillSketches

2. How did you approach the subject matter?
The subject matter came directly from the sketch concepts, so all of it had to be gathered and staged in different ways, and that’s not unusual in my approach. Some of the objects I worked with for this show required some unusual manipulation or arrangement though, like ‘Consumed’ with the empty cellulose capsules that had to be melted layer by layer with warm water around a straw to form the shape. It took about 6 days to fully dry, and by then it had started decomposing which was fascinating to watch. This theme pushed the need to transform the subject matter more than usual. There was a lot of waiting and gritting of teeth waiting for something to collapse, wilt, pop or explode before actually capturing the imagery or even setting things up.

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
The title struck me as menacing when I first heard it, and the show theme really made its way into my subconscious. I think that’s a good thing to happen in any theme or series-based work, but it surprised me; for a while, every article and book I read, every site I looked at, every commute and trip to the grocery store began to relate to killing or surviving – food, work situations, basic needs, power struggles, medicine, health and physical deterioration of all types. This theme definitely led to working with a few new materials and techniques to explore different ways to realize the ideas in relation to the theme – materials that are impermanent, techniques that are not lightfast, things that are really fragile and can break up, fog or deteriorate easily.

 

Things That Kill- Fred Birchman

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #6 Part 3: Fred Birchman

FB_Studio_0816

1. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
All of the objects are quite literally and obviously, “Things That Kill”. This was definitely not a stretch for me or outside my usual way of working in that I started with a kernel of an idea and riffed on it. It is a bit unusual for me to work thematically, but not too much of a stretch.

2. How did you approach the subject matter?
I took the theme (or the “objects” of the theme) and used them as a basis for the work. For “Overture”, I took the trappings of targets and target shooting and used those elements as an abstraction of sorts, hopefully subjugating the loaded (no pun intended) content. Same for “Hatchet Job”. An axe handle and blade are quite beautiful as objects by themselves and by detaching the pieces, that is a bit more evident. It’s probably no accident that a person could read certain things into the separated objects, such as the detachment of the head from the “heart”, but I view that as an ok subliminal response. Icing on the cake, if you will.

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work  in “Things that Kill”?
I used to work as an illustrator for my day job and working with themes and content were a given. Conversely, I usually resist narrative or story telling with my studio (fine art) work. That’s hard to do when working with such charged content.

One thing I should admit is that, “Witness” was really Norman’s idea. He was responding to the wrecking balls that I have in many of my current drawings and he suggested I use that. My normal response is to immediately reject that kind of advice, but somehow it stuck and I like what turned out.

Things That Kill- Riva Lehrer

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #51: Riva Lehrer

Riva-3

1. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?
I teach figure studies and anatomy.

2. When did you consider yourself an artist?
When I figured out I wasn’t going to med school…

3. What are your influences?
The artists I feel the closest to use figuration for social justice. There are too many to count, but include Christian Schad, Kathe Kollwitz, Felix Nussbaum and Otto Dix from many decades ago; Leon Golub, Bailey Doogan, Betye Saar, William Kentridge and Kerry James Marshall moving towards our current moment.

4. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?
It’s what would be the dining room in a typical apartment in my building. There’s track lighting and an overhead fixture, but not a lot of natural light.

5. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?
I start work in the mid to late afternoon. I usually have Netflix on; something kind of silly, because anything really good makes me watch, when mostly I just want to listen.

6. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
For the last four years I’ve mostly been drawing, often with collage elements. I started painting again for my recent solo show in Chicago. It felt so good that I want to make sure I never take a long a break from it again.

7. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?
Yes – I have physical impairments. I’ve devised quite a number of structures and processes that let me work, while accommodating the impairment’s demands (too complex to go into here).

8. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?
I curate, I read, I spend time at the lake, I write and perform my writing at theatrical events. Both my partner and I have busy careers as lecturers/visiting scholars/artists. We often travel together for tandem gigs at universities and conferences.

9. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
My work centers on depicting the vulnerability and resilience of the body. The majority of my studio practice as a portrait artist deals with subjects who live in non-normative bodies. I reserve the darkest images (in regard to literal or metaphoric pain) for my self-portraits. “Adhesion” is personal, though it does not literally depict the nature of the threat.

10. How did you approach the subject matter?
I aimed for wry.

11. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
There are many ways to read a woman’s bound yet signaling hands. I’ll leave that open to the viewer’s own signing language.

adhesion_6.21_web

“Adhesion”, 2016, acrylic on panel, 6 x 12″

Things That Kill- Jim Holl

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin
Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #50: Jim Holl

jholl.studio (1)

1. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?
I have supported my art making over the years as a graphic designer. Currently I am the coordinator of the Graphic Design Concentration at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC.

2. When did you consider yourself an artist?
I understood to be an artist could be a career freshman at the University of Washington in an art class taught by Norman Lundin.

3. What are your influences?
In the early 70’s my main influences was the “west coast figurative school,” Diebenkorn et al.

The mid 70’s was the apogee of conceptual art.  This influence began with Duchamp.

4. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?
I have a summer and a winter studio in Catskill, New York and a summer studio in Manchester Washington, and  a storage shed to put it all in, all of them small.

My studio lighting is mixed, mainly tungsten.

5. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?
I wish I had more typical days, when I do I spend the mornings in Catskill, sitting in the screened-in porch working on the computer. In the afternoon I am across the field in the studio, and running errands. I dine early and am in bed by nine! In years past when in NYC I spent the day doing commercial design projects at an office in Manhattan and made artwork in my Williamsburg studio until the wee hours of the night. My music of preference is ambient. Reminds me of nature.

6. What is your preferred medium?  Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I prefer oil paint on board. I have experimented with many mediums over the years and found it wasn’t the mediums that made my art better. So I settled on a medium that does not call attention to itself.

I work on a few paintings at a time, going back and forth as they call me for attention.

7. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?
I go to art shows, dinner with friends, nothing unusual, I work all of the time. Life is short.

8. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
I was wondering that myself when Norman asked me to be in the show. I have been working on a theme I call “All the Living Things.” I choose plants as the subject matter for their organic and many times simple forms. The images rendered close up can easily cross into abstraction. I think all paintings are still-lifes, lives that have been stilled. The organic forms I have been exploring enliven the compositions. This and the contrasting colors express a vibratory quality that complements the stillness of the paintings. In addition I prefer the work to express an ambiguity, for uncertainty is innate in nature.

All of this was crossing my mind while having lunch with Norman. Norman replied, “Why not poison plants?” I thought, what a great idea!

IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Ira Korman

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IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation
Darlene Campbell, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz & Peter Zokosky

July 7 – August 27, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, 2016: 6 – 8 pm

Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely – is the exhibition’s topic.”

Artist interview #49: Ira Korman

korman studio

1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
My ideal working environment would be a large, light, uncluttered studio overlooking the ocean somewhere.  My actual working environment however, is a converted two car garage that can barely contain my work materials, various collections and overflow household miscellany.  I prefer working during daylight hours even though I use artificial light to illuminate works in progress.  I like some type of background sound while working whether it’s music, news, or Mod Squad reruns but I frequently find myself having worked for several hours straight in total silence.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
After many years of varying formulations, it really boils down to 20% inspiration and 80% looming deadline….and lots of strong coffee.

3. What is your preferred medium?  Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I’ve worked almost exclusively with charcoal on paper for the last 30 years. I work obsessively on one piece at a time until it’s finished. However on occasion I’ve reworked a drawing several years after I first completed it.  I’m definitely not a multi-tasker.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
I read somewhere that people buy more books than they can possibly read as a subconscious way of guaranteeing they’ll live long enough to read them all.  If that’s true, I might live forever.   When I started teaching I began to buy old, obscure drawing manuals, and books on drawing technique.  I especially seek out material from the 19th Century and earlier and even have several drawing manuals from the late 18th century.  Aside from the beautiful engravings and diagrams, the text is the closest we’ll get to hearing the voices of teachers of past centuries.   I also collect vintage drawing supplies and have found several elaborate 19th century French and English sketching boxes complete with all the original materials.  I use these antique items to demonstrate to my students how the concepts, materials and techniques of drawing have remained basically the same for hundreds of years and how they are now traveling the same path with the same tools as previous masters.

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
My material and technique is influenced by traditional methods of 19th century life drawing using charcoal and stumps to achieve fully tonal drawings.  While I take liberties with the “atmosphere” in my drawings, my aim is to render subjects with a high level of realism and fidelity to nature.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Method- Degrees of Separation, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
I believe that drawing is the foundation of all art-making and take my role as a drawing instructor seriously.   The mannequin in “Disillusion” is one of a core group of objects that I have my students draw.  My goal for them is to see, understand and then render the effects of light and shade on three dimensional form – the essence of observational drawing.

IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- F. Scott Hess

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IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation
Darlene Campbell, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz & Peter Zokosky

July 7 – August 27, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, 2016: 6 – 8 pm

Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely – is the exhibition’s topic.”

Artist interview #48: F. Scott Hess

PaintnWave

1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
At various times in my career I’ve had some quite ridiculous studio spaces, like a flat in Vienna where I shared the hall toilet with the old lady next door, or small shacks at two different residences once I moved to Los Angeles. Now I paint in the garage, which seems quite spacious. I get studio envy easily because I’ve never put much effort into where I paint. I see some other artists with spectacular spaces and wish I had that, but have never found it necessary in the creation of my work. I think that is because when painting my head just goes into that image space, and I don’t pay any attention to my surroundings. The lighting has to be good, however I don’t require natural light, just bright and neither too cool or too warm. I also listen to music or books while I work. It is a good time to catch up with the classics of both.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
I don’t need motivation to get into the studio. I’ve been quite prolific over the course of my career. Painting is what I want to do to most, so there is no special effort required. When I was younger I painted from about 9AM into the night, but once I had kids I usually knocked-off at 6PM. Even though the kids are now grown I still stop at six unless I’m under a deadline or just really pushing to finish something.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
Oil paint is the medium I am most at ease with. In college, and a couple of years after, I was just doing drawings and etchings, When I learned to paint (it took at least two years to do it adequately well) I loved the speed of application, the intense color, the variety of brush strokes, and the surface of the paint. I continue to do sketches and life drawing as important means of study, and I do finished drawings when someone asks me to take part in a drawing exhibition, but otherwise my energies are directed towards oil painting. Usually I work on only one piece at a time because I find that most efficient. In my Paternal Suit project I often had ten or more pieces going at once, and that slowed down progress on the whole series.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
Except for art related interests, I’m probably a very boring person. I’d rather be painting than socializing, going out to eat, or seeing a movie. I enjoy hanging out with fellow representational painters the most, as we all have a common interest that consumes us. I have enjoyed traveling with my family, preferring places where we can spend an extended amount of time, like five-weeks north of Rome, a couple of summers in a small village in Greece, or a year in Iran. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in museums all over the world, especially when I was younger, and still enjoy seeing great painting as much as anything out of the studio. My wife and I have always enjoyed hiking in nature, and take two or three long walks a week in our local Griffith Park.

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
With all of our screen devices that cascade thousands of images before one’s eyeballs everyday, there isn’t a more traditional method of creation than that of applying colored mud to a woven surface and producing an image meant to be stared at for hours if not years. Mankind has been painting for 40,000 years, so I come from a long history of mud daubers.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Method- Degrees of Separation, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
Transfiguration grew out of a decision my wife made to have the giant rubber tree in our front yard cut down. She was sick of the continuous rain of brown leaves and a root system that invaded the whole neighborhood, but I saw the tree as the most beautiful thing on our property (it sure wasn’t the house). When it came down it felt like a violation ecologically, aesthetically, and personally. Of course, there are wonderful Freudian implications there as well, and so I painted an image with the two of us, a tree coming down behind the houses, and my arms out-stretched in Christ-like identification with its truncated form.

Studio Drama has two sides of the artist at work, the expressive and the critical. You need both of these to make art that is any good. You start in an inspired state, expressing a vision you have as best you can, fluidly and ‘in the zone,’ as they say. But this is a good way to churn out crap as well, so your inner critic has to step-in, take a look at what has been done, and say, “This shirt is the wrong color, that gal’s nose is off-center, this figure has big hands, and the whole composition has to move left three inches.” It is a back-and-forth collaboration between two diametrically opposed individuals. It sort of resembles the US Congress. I’m amazed I ever get anything done.

IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Judy Nimtz

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IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation
Darlene Campbell, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz & Peter Zokosky

July 7 – August 27, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, 2016: 6 – 8 pm

Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely – is the exhibition’s topic.”

Artist interview #47: Judy Nimtz- Part 2

JpaintingForIdentity

1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
I work best in a clean, organized studio.  I prefer natural, indirect light but I don’t only work during the day so I’ve figured out how to position my studio lighting to augment and replicate natural light enough for me to work when it’s dark.  Unless I’m painting plein-air I almost always have music playing — it serves two purposes and is very important – 1) if there is a certain mood I’m trying to convey or that I want to be in while I’m working I’ll make sure I listen to the appropriate music or audio books, and 2) when it’s silent my mind wanders too much to things not pertaining to art such as paying bills.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
I’m most productive in the mornings and daytime.  I try to end my painting work day by dinner, but when necessary I’ll paint anytime really.  Whenever I do a new photo shoot I’m reinvigorated and can’t wait to get into the studio.

3. What is your preferred medium?  Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I primarily work in oils.  I’m usually working on more than one painting at a time and also smaller studies in preparation for future paintings.  Because of this I make extensive notes on each painting to help me keep track of what I’m doing on the different paintings.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
Spend time with my husband, who is also an artist.  Physical fitness and health is important to me in general and painting can be fairly physical at times so I try to keep myself strong.  I love watching movies and discussing them, reading, cooking, having a glass of wine with friends, spending time in the yard.  My husband and I travel quite a bit, usually turning each trip into a painting adventure!

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
I consider myself a fairly traditional oil painter and my methods traditional too.  I’ve actively sought out historical pigments (lead tin yellow, vermillion, lead white) but am also not a slave to the idea of using only them — one of the main pigments for my figures is cobalt violet.  I build up my flesh colors in indirect, transparent layers, which is a method used for centuries.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Method- Degrees of Separation, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
As I’m answering this question I’m thinking about through lines connecting early influences with my current work.  I’m a hapa haole (half Asian and half Caucasian) raised in Hawai’i by my Chinese mother.  I am of two cultures—I grew up with Chinese art at home and fell in love with Victorian literature.  I find there is a similarity between the sacrifices in Chinese heroic stories and the sacrifices of the social norms of Victorian society. The stories of Jane Austen and Emily Brontë influenced me as a youth, evoking the windy, stormy, grey moors of England.  I’m drawn to these themes of heart-crushing personal sacrifice and loss–quiet, unseen strength–in all art forms: music, literature, film, art.

Though my work is not narrative, these underlying ideas of contemplative resilience swirl around me as I work.  I let them infuse my mindset while composing and executing my paintings.

I do my photo shoots on bright sunny days, with my figures on lava rock in Hawai’i or on rocks here in Southern California.  The nature of Hawaiian lava rock, which is both very hard and a viscous liquid, parallels how I think of the figures in my paintings.  Often dancers, they are graceful and fleshy but also strong and marblesque.  Above all else, I love painting the figure.  I love the feeling of my brush sculpting the forms on the panel, the drag of the paint revealing the muscles and flesh.

Compositionally the environments have been stripped down to simply a figure on bare rock.  This distils the image to the essentials of the moment.  I now see the early influence of the Chinese calligraphy and landscapes scrolls in my childhood house.  These spare compositions meld with my love of the tight vertical framing of Byzantine altarpieces and the 19th century Victorian painters such as Albert Moore.

IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Robert Schultz

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IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation
Darlene Campbell, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz & Peter Zokosky

July 7 – August 27, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, 2016: 6 – 8 pm

Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely – is the exhibition’s topic.”

Artist interview #46: Robert Schultz

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
My ideal working environment is my studio. I’ve been up there for 35 years. It’s very Spartan but has just what I need. It’s has great outdoor and interior light. When I’m working on ideas I don’t listen to anything. But once I’m working on a drawing I listen to classical music but I mainly listen to books on tape. A great way to discover new writers.
My studio is located on the hip street in Madison Wisconsin. State Street. It is all the funky shops and restaurants between the university in the state capital. Every time I walk up and get to my studio it feels as if I’ve gone into my “tree fort”

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
I have always been very motivated and disciplined. I get to the studio anywhere between 6 o’clock and 7 o’clock in the morning. I try to put in at least eight hours at the drawing board each day. That way I still have time to go home, workout spend time with my kids and family. I always try to shoot for 35 to 40 hours a week in the studio.

By the end of each day I can hardly wait to get up and draw the next day. But, when I wake up that motivation has vanished and that’s when the discipline takes over. Once I’m in the studio, looking at the drawing, sharpening my first pencil I’m back into it for the next eight hours -happy and lucky to be there

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
My preferred medium is graphite pencil. All my finished drawings are graphite pencil – I use a Faber Castell 9000 series. I find it the most consistent pencil out there.
I do all my preliminary drawings, with the model, using the prisma color very thin Tuscan red or dark Umbra pencil.

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Over the last two years I have been doing primarily silverpoint drawings on gessoed hardboard. It’s a bit of a diversion from what I’ve been doing and I feel like it fits me very well.

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I only work on one piece at a time. I may keep my mind open for the next piece but I really try to focus on it until it is done. Usually the last week or two before I finish a drawing my mind is already looking towards that next image.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
My activities outside the studio really revolve around my wife and our twins. We have a great time together! With my wife owning a floral business and me being an artist we put a lot of our creativity into our home.

Both our kids are very creative, one is a gifted young artist and writer and the other is a future filmmaker.One more year of high school and then – off to college:-(.
We love traveling, good food, movies and theater. Each summer we go out to Cape Cod for a few weeks.

We’re very active family, we spent a lot of time working out in our home gym, walking out in the countryside and playing racquetball.

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
I guess I work in a very traditional way, but yet, handle it in a very personal and unique way after 40 years of continually working at my art. I’ve learned from some excellent masters and have then developed a working method and style that is all mine.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Method- Degrees of Separation, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
I try to give the viewer an insight to the person I’m drawing, catching a moment in time. I spend a lot of time trying to create a strong composition with good abstract shapes and a lot of movement. When working in black-and-white you’re basically designing and balancing the page in value.

My work is narrative but the narrative is not specific. I want to bring the viewer in and let them create their own narrative.

I really love to draw. When I’m drawing the world always feels “right”! It always makes me feel very fortunate to have this talent and career.

IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Kenny Harris

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IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation
Darlene Campbell, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz & Peter Zokosky

July 7 – August 27, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, 2016: 6 – 8 pm

Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely – is the exhibition’s topic.”

Artist interview #45: Kenny Harris- Part 2

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
Ideal? An overcast day in an ancient interior with tall windows and interesting shapes. In Europe. With a cafe downstairs. And etherial music drifting through the plaster passages. That would be ideal.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
Two strong coffees, they help me get motivated. Ever since living in Italy I associate coffee with art. I’m afraid I’m stuck with it. Sometimes I’ll listen to NPR but that gets pretty depressing these days. Podcasts are preferable. Electronic music can keep me floating along too.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I work in oils, alternating between panel and canvas depending on my current investigations. I usually have several paintings going at once, but at some point I’ll focus in to finish individual works as the last push often takes a lot of effort.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
Well, travel is very important, so my wife Judy and I do that a lot—gathering inspiration. I like to play beach volleyball in Venice and Santa Monica, and jump in the ocean when I can!

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
My method is to work up compositions from studies and sketches based on observation and photography. The tradition of doing oil sketches is something I have always loved, and I’m enthralled when I look at small Tiepolo or Rubens oil sketches—visual thinking playing out in front of your eyes. So, I use this in my work to figure out my path forward.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Method- Degrees of Separation, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
The small still lives are part of an ongoing series of still lives playing with local color to set off the objects, bringing a graphic formality to picture plane. I love the reflective quality of spaces, and I’m bringing that into these objects, playing up the ambiguity between the object and background. The large cityscape is a slight departure for me in two ways: One, I’m embracing the panoramic qualities of the iPhone—not hiding the fascinating distortion that is a telltale artifact of the ‘Panorama’ setting. Two, I’ve begun playing with wiping and squeegeeing paint to emulate atmospheric conditions, like rain. I am enjoying this investigation very much.

IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Sarah Perry

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IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation
Darlene Campbell, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz & Peter Zokosky

July 7 – August 27, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, 2016: 6 – 8 pm

Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely – is the exhibition’s topic.”

Artist interview #44: Sarah Perry

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
I’ve made 6 studios across Southern California, so I’ve fine-tuned what is my optimal working space. A large double window with a long work table below it. Thousands of electrical outlets including 220 for welding. At least 600 square feet with an industrial belt sander and band saw, a CD player for music and books on tape and doors that open onto a natural setting. This studio would be attached to a house which would contain a good man and two cats. Above all, it would be free from crime and manmade noise – freeways, car stereos, gun fire, lawn mowers, etc. If someone would have told me earlier in my life that I would indeed have this scenario in my future, I would have called them nasty names for torturing me. It’s still hard for me to believe what I see when I open my eyes in the morning.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
The prime motivator for getting me into the studio is being able to get involved with a sculpture. Usually I get up early, feed as many animals as I can, then slip into the studio without even thinking about it. Or even changing into my work clothes! I have to yank myself away to shower and do chores. Then hopefully, I get to return and go for a deep swim with the piece. I’m frequently an obsessive worker, spending 16 hour days for weeks at a time then stopping to do house repairs or go on a tree planting jag.

3. What is your preferred medium?  Do you work on one project at a time or several?
The idea for the piece dictates the medium- anything from truck tires to cellophane. I find working with disparate materials challenging and refreshing, although when I return to sculpting with bones it feels like coming home.

Most of the time I work on one piece until completion. Space is a limitation and having two pieces going simultaneously covers too many surfaces. Occasionally the physical demands of a particular work can be overwhelming and I have no choice but to sit down and do something different. Especially if one piece takes a year or more to birth.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
Reading is essential for me. I tend to vacillate between literature by authors like George Saunders and Louise Erdrich to natural history (with a smattering of poetry and Sci-Fi). I’m also inspired to understand the neighborhood creatures. I have a fine relationship with a family of ravens that tell me all kinds of things. One call is a warning for rattlers, another for hawks and a quite different one for bobcats. We call back and forth through the day, and I believe that I speak raven and roadrunner as often as English. I am admittedly going feral.

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
There could hardly be a longer tradition in art making than carving, burning or drawing on bone. I list the Inuit as one of my favorite influences. But I will use whatever approach is necessary. If I need to make bees for a piece, I will take the time to figure out how to do it so that it’s believable and archival.

Most everything I do is hands-on and personal. Although I use electric tools, they’re not particularly high-tech. No computers, I-Pads, replicator machines, video equipment or mass-scale interacting robotic mind feeds are necessary for my work. A thinking brain, two hands and eyes and a commitment to a piece, however long it takes or demanding it is, is a tradition I hold to. There is of course plenty of room for different approaches in this wild art world.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Method- Degrees of Separation, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
The seed for the bee wall socket series was planted when I returned to an abandoned house off the 14 freeway. I had been there several times over the years, collecting owl cough balls for their tiny bones to use in sculptures. This time, a few years had passed and the place was folding in on itself. One white carpeted room remained intact. The ceiling, walls and floor were covered with long, graceful arcs of crimson blood from IV users. Within the walls I could hear a massive bee hive. Something ‘else’ had taken hold.

I’m drawn to what is implied, hidden beneath the surface yet full of significance- oblique warnings from the unconscious; the smoldering wall socket harboring bees, the ancient eyes~behind your eyes. How do we reconcile our inherent contradictions; fear/empathy, love of the world/ loss of it. Look to the titles for a clue into a piece and if you have a moment, come wander in.

IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Peter Zokosky

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IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation
Darlene Campbell, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz & Peter Zokosky

July 7 – August 27, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, 2016: 6 – 8 pm

Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely – is the exhibition’s topic.”

Artist interview #43: Peter Zokosky

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
I’ve got my studio in my house, upstairs. I go there everyday, even if I don’t get to paint. I want to see what I’ve done, it’s frequently a surprise to see how it measures up the next morning. I don’t listen to music when I work.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
I get in there whenever I have a chance. It’s a magnificent place to be, I start everyday in there.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I work in oils and I always have several in progress. It’s not unusual to work on just one in a day, but there are lots of them waiting in the wings. They get put aside when I don’t know how to finish them, some get put aside for years.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
I teach and run an MFA program. It’s great to have art on the mind so much. It’s rewarding to work with talented serious artists and try to help them on their journey.

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
If I understand the question, the goal is always to end up with a painting that feels complete, I don’t mean finished, when it’s complete it has the elements of real life in it. Lots of those elements are contradictory. Elements like sensuality, uncertainty, order and chaos, frivolity and severity, sublime and absurd. I don’t refer to a check list, but I do feel that the experience of life is complex and that complexity ought to show up in the work. Otherwise it feels incomplete.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Method- Degrees of Separation, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
I would hope that a new viewer would allow for uncertainty as a valid reaction to the work. I do not try to make tidy paintings, that can be summed up readily. I want the paintings to reveal themselves slowly, over the course of years. I intend for them to remain engaging. I would not want a new viewer to think I had failed because the paintings are open-ended. For me it’s a sign of respect toward the viewer to offer up something complex.

Direct Observation: Two Approaches, Kathy Gore Fuss & Amy Huddleston

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May 7 – June 30, 2016
Reception for the artists: May 7, 2 – 4pm

Both Kathy Gore Fuss and Amy Huddleston work from direct observation, but they use this traditional tool very differently. One would never confuse their two bodies of work.

In a recent artist statement, Amy Huddleston write: “Two years ago I decided to work entirely from observation, with a muted and limited palette.  I learned a great deal through this work; which was based on measuring in order to help me better understand spatial relationships. I felt a strong desire to see what this could bring to my work.”

Huddleston’s passion is for observation detached from narrative. Because she knows how to paint well indeed, her straightforward approach will have its rewards, among them, allowing psychological expression to be a by-product, rather than the intention of her efforts. This compelling subjective expression, while it arrives without invitation, does become a significant aspect of her work. – Norman Lundin

Artist Interview #42: Amy Huddleston, Part 2

Amy participated in our interview series as part of a previous exhibition (artist interview #12).

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1. In your drawings and paintings, what does it mean for you to succeed?
I must like it.

2. In your recent artist’s statement, you wrote that you are working on small works that help you further refine the “how” of your process. What have you discerned about your process through working on these?
That it changes, attempts at approaching work the exact same way; same support, paint etc., is too rigid for me, at least currently, I see glimpses of future definitiveness, but I tend toward mirages.

3. How do you understand form in relation to expressing your observational experience?
By asking myself, when looking at something, what exists in this particular visual field, and how can I use it to make a visual experience that draws people toward it, for whatever reason. If I can figure out what draws me to a form I can potentially use that information to construct, or rather, reconstruct this information; not in order to get the same viewpoint but to gain another.

4. What can you tell us about the expressive results (the expression) of your observational experience?
That it is determined along the way, as the work moves forward. It is not a preconceived notion. Largely, it is determined by eliminating things I do not like rather than adding things that I do.

5. What is your ideal working environment?
You can never have too much space, light, or music.

Kathy Gore Fuss & Amy Huddleston, Direct Observation: Two Approaches

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May 7 – June 30, 2016
Reception for the artists: May 7, 2 – 4pm

 

Both Kathy Gore Fuss and Amy Huddleston work from direct observation, but they use this traditional tool very differently. One would never confuse their two bodies of work.

 

Four years ago Kathy Gore Fuss began spending much of her painting time out in the forests around her Olympia home rather than in the studio. She was curious how working from direct observation would change her painting. It has sharpened her eye and guided her hand as well as deepened and expanded her narrative vision of the forest. This is perhaps especially true in the work on view as Gore Fuss has, for the past year, filled the unique role of artist in residence at the Port of Olympia, and as such she has had access to the loading facilities and crews of Chinese and Japanese ships that dominate the shipping of lumber at West Coast ports. Her narrative begins in the forest and follows through to the loading dock. While the narrative content, explicit and implied, is there, her intent is not to document but rather to use the “Industrial Forest” as a vehicle for her ideas about painting. Gore Fuss understands that her narrative serves the painting, not the other way around. These paintings are “stand-alone works” and compelling as the story is, do not require the narrative to find meaning as works of art.
– Norman Lundin

 

Interview #41: Kathy Gore Fuss
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1. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?
My earlier years as an artist were a juggling act between studio time and part-time employment. In the last six years, I have quit all of my fake jobs and work solely on my art.

 

2. When did you consider yourself an artist?
It was always my dream to be an artist. I was enormously proud of all of the artwork I produced in Elementary School. Walking home from school I was frequently hassled by some bullies who thought it great fun to rip my artwork out of my hands, toss them in puddles and jump up and down on them while laughing. Being a problem solver at an early age, I figured out that I could fold up my paintings, tuck them in my underwear and transport them home safely, much to my mother’s surprise. My first regular exhibitions were, of course, on the refrigerator.

 

3. What are your influences?
The Impressionists have had a huge hold on my fascination and passion with nature; Pierre Bonnard, Claude Monet, Pierre Cezanne, and Camille Pissarro. I have also looked to the women in our past who dedicated themselves to their craft; Lois Dodd, Alice Neel & Emily Carr. Some of my current heroes are right here in Seattle, Helen O’Toole and Ann Gale.

 

4. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?
In 2010 I designed and became general contractor for the construction of my first official studio. The studio is 24 X 32 feet with a 12 foot covered back porch which I use for messy, dust generating projects. There are three skylights that give me good north light along with several windows that offer me views of my gardens and back yard. The property is a double lot; the house is situated on one parcel and the studio is on the other. I live in Olympia, Washington which is an affordable, arts oriented family supportive community 65 miles south of Seattle. This is the first studio I have had that is under my own supervision and it’s a complete delight to know I will work here the rest of my painting life.

 

5. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?
I was a studio artist for most of my career, working exclusively in my studio space. Ironically, just after I completed the construction of my new studio (2011), I began aggressively painting outdoors (Plein Air). Initially I thought I was intentionally avoiding my new studio space, but the transition in my painting practice shifted outdoors to be in nature. I spend extended amounts of time on site and then return to the studio to the solitude. I do listen to music in my studio. It includes opera, jazz, show tunes, world music and old classics.

 

6. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I have worked in a wide variety of materials over the course of my career, but I have returned to my first love: drawing and painting. Oil paint is my medium for painting and graphite, charcoal and pencil are what I rely on for drawings.

 

7. How is your process different in the studio compared to when you are out in the landscape?
My painting practice starts with direct observation outdoors. When I select a site, I will often work there for weeks or months while developing a relationship with it. Over the course of a year I will move around to different sites, requiring me to address the questions I have about where we live. Wealth and beauty; how do they affect my relationship to nature? My studio work involves analyzing the technical challenges I started wrestling with outdoors. The state of flux, the sense of urgency I work from outdoors gets to take a back seat to a more analytical approach in the solitude of my studio space.

 

8. In your drawings & paintings, what does it mean for your work to succeed?
I have a vision in my head of what my painting should be. There have been times with a particular painting where it has seduced me into thinking I have solved the dilemmas, answered my questions and I have become the painter I have always hoped I would be. That’s what my artwork and I would describe as “succeeding”. Then the glow wears off; I am humbled and humiliated by my folly and I start another painting or drawing.

 

9. How do you understand form in relation to expression? Or, what part does expression play in your work?
My process relies heavily on the tension between direct observation and abstraction. My forms are naturalistic; some more organic, others more heavily rooted in geometry. I am most pleased with my painting when my process of abstraction utilizes intentional and reductive interpretations of an objective image. My hope is that my painting will offer enough of the essence of the site with a strong chord of my interpreting how I see it.

 

10. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?
I consider my dog as one of my most unique tools when I am working on a site outdoors. He is hard wired to his senses in a way that I aspire to be, but am not. I think he considers himself at work as much as I am when we are in the field. His awareness is acute and he sees, hears and smells things that I might be too self-absorbed to notice. He is my connection to nature.

 

11. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?
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Bicycling, hiking, gardening and listening to old jazz records. I start most of my days with one long walk with my dog at a local park. I also offer a one week painting workshop once a year at my studio.

 

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact: Melissa Cooke

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As of January 2016, KDR has joined its affiliate PROGRAPHICA Gallery in Seattle, WA, where Eleana Del Rio and Norman Lundin will curate exhibitions jointly as well as independently within its new enitity: Prographica / KDR.

Koplin Del Rio (formerly of Culver City, CA) is pleased to present its debut exhibition in Seattle: IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact features gallery artists: Sandow Birk, Melissa Cooke, Einar & Jamex de la Torre, Laurie Hogin, Zhi Lin, Kerry James Marshall and Robert Pruitt, curated by Eleana Del Rio.

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact is the first of a series of three exhibitions, each featuring a select group of long-time Koplin Del Rio (KDR) gallery artists. As KDR transitions its footprint to the Pacific Northwest, the exhibitions will unveil the gallery’s distinct identity and unique visual program through the artists it represents. These artists produce work that taps into the pulse of our current point in history in order to examine identity on multiple levels—self, community and nation.

Artist Interview #40 Melissa Cooke

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Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 2011, Artist in Residence

1. What is your ideal working environment?

I love working at an in-home studio. I currently work from our second bedroom; it is so convenient and comfortable! The ground is covered with anti-fatigue flooring to protect the wood from my graphite, and my feet from getting tired.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio?

I work best in the afternoon. I usually grab a cup of coffee, put on some music or a podcast, and get to work conquering deadlines and goals.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

My favorite medium is powdered graphite. My drawings are made by dusting thin layers of graphite onto paper with a dry brush. The softness of the graphite provides a smooth surface that can be augmented by erasing in details and textures. No pencils are used in the work, allowing the surface to glow without the shine of heavy pencil marks. Illusion dissolves into brush work and the honesty of the material.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?

Here are a few of my favorites:

Visiting museums and galleries, and connecting with other artists and creatives
Growing veggies in my garden
Biking and running on trails
Swimming and/or floating in lakes
Drinking local craft beers, preferably on a sunny day on an outdoor patio

5. In what way is your work a reflection of this point in history?

My most recent series, “No Place Like Home” fuses elements of realism with the language of contemporary art and street culture. Fragments of paper and posters are depicted, referencing the flatness of drawing, while simultaneously alluding to the history of realism and tromp l’oeil. The works explore the language of drawing by superimposing traditional portraiture with a wide variety of seemingly spontaneous and ephemeral-style marks. Suggestions of spray paint, stencils, and drips are illustrated in the drawings. Illusionistic representation of graffiti dissolves into my brush work and the materiality of graphite.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY: A Visual Artifact, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?

“Eyes” was inspired by scenes I found in my daily life while walking the streets of Brooklyn. It draws from marks people have left on the city: discarded objects, wheatpaste posters, and graffiti. In the ever changing, gritty landscape of New York, one moment in time is captured. Like a collaboration with the city, my voice joins the layered conversation of street art and culture.

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact: Robert Pruitt

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As of January 2016, KDR has joined its affiliate PROGRAPHICA Gallery in Seattle, WA, where Eleana Del Rio and Norman Lundin will curate exhibitions jointly as well as independently within its new enitity: Prographica / KDR.
Koplin Del Rio (formerly of Culver City, CA) is pleased to present its debut exhibition in Seattle: IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact features gallery artists: Sandow Birk, Melissa Cooke, Einar & Jamex de la Torre, Laurie Hogin, Zhi Lin, Kerry James Marshall and Robert Pruitt, curated by Eleana Del Rio. 
IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact is the first of a series of three exhibitions, each featuring a select group of long-time Koplin Del Rio (KDR) gallery artists. As KDR transitions its footprint to the Pacific Northwest, the exhibitions will unveil the gallery’s distinct identity and unique visual program through the artists it represents. These artists produce work that taps into the pulse of our current point in history in order to examine identity on multiple levels—self, community and nation. 

Artist interview #39: Robert Pruitt

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.

My studio spaces have varied wildly over the years so I’ve had to remain flexible in terms of needs. However, I think my 3 main requirements are ample wall space, time, and isolation. My drawings are fairly large so often I’m working directly on the wall and constantly moving papers and reference images around. I’ve recently been moving back and forth from one work to another so I need space to see all of this info at once. My process is also really, really slow. I’m regularly just sitting staring at an incomplete work. This requires me to horde time to finish these works. This usually means lots of late night work sessions.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?

I think motivation can be a real issue at times. I try to combat any serious studio malaise by changing what types of information and media I am consuming. This can mean museum visits, comics, films, conversations with other artists and a host of other inputs. Anything to get my mind excited again. I am generally motivated by new ideas.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

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At heart I am interested in the human figure. My practice is chiefly centered on large figurative drawings but I also spend a little bit of time making small comic book drawings, animations and photography. I work best when I am moving between all these types of projects at the same time.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?

I am a huge homebody. My greatest pleasure is sitting home watching some decent Sci-Fi. I still read a few comics every now and then. In the last few years I’ve become a little obsessed with the NBA, but that often feels less like a hobby than research for some yet to be determined art project. I think my only real hobby is beat making. I spend a lot of time doing that. Its’ really effective in slowing me down and settling my thoughts. Its usually the first thing I do when I go into the studio. You can check out a few of them here.
https://soundcloud.com/choggzilla

5. In what way is your work a reflection of this point in history?

I believe I am one of a number of artists re-imagining the trajectory and definition of the images of People of color in art and media. I like to think that my mode of working is in alignment with an array of models changing how we see the canon of art and history.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY: A Visual Artifact, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?

I would only say that viewers should consider the relationships between technology and the human figures in the work and that the notions of escapism are ever present but the meaning of that notion for me is a more nuanced idea than simple desertion.

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact: Sandow Birk

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As of January 2016, KDR has joined its affiliate PROGRAPHICA Gallery in Seattle, WA, where Eleana Del Rio and Norman Lundin will curate exhibitions jointly as well as independently within its new enitity: Prographica / KDR.

Koplin Del Rio (formerly of Culver City, CA) is pleased to present its debut exhibition in Seattle: IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact features gallery artists: Sandow Birk, Melissa Cooke, Einar & Jamex de la Torre, Laurie Hogin, Zhi Lin, Kerry James Marshall and Robert Pruitt, curated by Eleana Del Rio.

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact is the first of a series of three exhibitions, each featuring a select group of long-time Koplin Del Rio (KDR) gallery artists. As KDR transitions its footprint to the Pacific Northwest, the exhibitions will unveil the gallery’s distinct identity and unique visual program through the artists it represents. These artists produce work that taps into the pulse of our current point in history in order to examine identity on multiple levels—self, community and nation.

Artist interview #38: Sandow Birk

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.

I don’t know what my ideal environment would be, but my studio working came about by necessity. Ever since I got out of art school I’ve lived in a studio. First it was because it was more affordable in Los Angeles, but it came to suit my way of working, which is sort of a picking away at stuff in spurts. Now I live in a loft with two small kids that run around and make a lot of noise. I try to find a few blocks of hours in the day at the beginning of a painting or drawing to get it going, and then I pick away at it for several days or weeks in moments of time I can steal from family life.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?

I usually spend the early part of the morning getting the kids out to school and then get an hour surf in at the beach. I can then find a few hours in the middle of the day to work and I usually listen to the radio while working. I can work another couple of hours in the evening when everyone is asleep at home. So I usually work from about 11am to 3pm, and then from 8pm to 11pm, which adds up to 5 our 6 hours a day in the studio.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I generally paint with acrylic, since I’m working in our home – to avoid fumes and having toxic stuff out where the kids might get to it. And I do big drawings on paper lately. I prefer to work on one thing at a time but I usually have a couple of things going at once.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?

I’ve been a lifelong surfer since I was a kid and I still surf about 4 or 5 days a week. Usually my schedule revolves around what days the waves might be good. I have a personal motto of trying to never schedule anything to do before noon, just to be free to get in the water. I used to spend a lot of time chasing waves up and down the coast, but now with a family I just surf whenever I can get in the water.

5. In what way is your work a reflection of this point in history?

Nearly all the works I do are about contemporary social issues and events of our time, or things that I’m thinking about. I want to make works that say something and have a point of view and meaning behind them, that convey something, that are relevant to our times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact: Laurie Hogin

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As of January 2016, KDR has joined its affiliate PROGRAPHICA Gallery in Seattle, WA, where Eleana Del Rio and Norman Lundin will curate exhibitions jointly as well as independently within its new enitity: Prographica / KDR.

Koplin Del Rio (formerly of Culver City, CA) is pleased to present its debut exhibition in Seattle: IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact features gallery artists: Sandow Birk, Melissa Cooke, Einar & Jamex de la Torre, Laurie Hogin, Zhi Lin, Kerry James Marshall and Robert Pruitt, curated by Eleana Del Rio.

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact is the first of a series of three exhibitions, each featuring a select group of long-time Koplin Del Rio (KDR) gallery artists. As KDR transitions its footprint to the Pacific Northwest, the exhibitions will unveil the gallery’s distinct identity and unique visual program through the artists it represents. These artists produce work that taps into the pulse of our current point in history in order to examine identity on multiple levels—self, community and nation.

Artist interview #37: Laurie Hogin

1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.

I love large, open, light-filled spaces, of the kind historically used for every kind of material production or activity, including studio art—lofts, barns, garrets. This is not hip or politically correct, because it can be seen as romantic or sentimental, but it is the truth. I love the poetics of space. My studio is a pole-barn type structure attached to the home I share with my husband, son and our two pets, Rocky, an Australian Cattle Dog and Fiona, a dove-gray Domestic Long Hair cat. It is located in a rural area of unincorporated Champaign County, in Central Illinois. It is surrounded by prairie weeds, industrial corn and soy fields, and some woods along the Sangamon River. My work is solitary, and my space is conducive to productive solitude. I love the aesthetics of how my labor fits into it—my easel, my drafting table, my stacks of books and my reading couch, my desk and computer for writing, my shelves with collections of models, rocks and minerals, feathers, bones, toys, clippings from ads and other scraps of information—sketches, notes, downloaded images. I don’t really like music, although I understand that it can be an expression of genius, and I am interested in it intellectually. I grew up with a parent who was a stunningly talented pianist, so I have an oddly developed ear for someone who is otherwise sort of indifferent. When I do crave music, it is usually David Bowie, from his most popular songs to his more experimental, atmospheric work. I also have a taste for what many of my friends and colleagues would consider unsophisticated pop songs, but I don’t care—I listen in the car! I do like to sing. Light—the more, the broader the spectrum, the better for making art and for writing; for reading, I like a pool of warm light in the gloom—a clip lamp on the back of my couch.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?

I am motivated to be here by all that I keep and do here, which is pretty much whenever I am not needed elsewhere, or engaged with students, colleagues, friends or family. I am very social and outgoing, but have a great need and desire for solitude.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Painting is, for me, the most plastic, the most comprehensive, and the most resonant way to make art—to bring to conscious perception things that would not otherwise exist. After that, it is writing, for the same reasons. After that, drawing. I work on many years’ worth of projects at a time.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?

My husband, son and I have great conversations! We love to read and consume media, including movies, video games and many popular cable television shows, and discuss politics, culture, media, art and history as well as personal stuff. I love mountain biking, and there is a 600-acre park, filled with steep little moraines, woods and prairie just three miles down the county road that runs past our house. Granted, it’s not the Sierra Nevadas or Moab, but it’ll do!

5. In what way is your work a reflection of this point in history?

Every artist channels the sum total of their biology and experience, a unique subjecthood at a specific point in history. I am certainly conscious of and interested in this phenomenon, and think my best work synthesizes my favorite aesthetic histories and languages with my thoughts and experiences as a contemporary person.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY: A Visual Artifact, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?

I suppose these two paragraphs, copied below from a recent “Artist’s Statement”, might be a good descriptive introduction: My work of the past 20 years has consisted primarily of allegorical paintings of mutant plants and animals in languishing, overgrown landscape settings or posed as though for classical still life or portraiture. My current interests include examining human impulses, desires, and needs, including pleasure, intoxication, addiction, the erotic, totem, violence, greed, grief, and love. These aspects of human experience and identity, resultant of the interplay of evolutionary biology and culture, find expression in the history of visual culture as well as in the nearly schizoid array of cultural material and commodity in contemporary consumer capital. I combine various tropes from the history of painting, natural history and scientific display, pornography, fashion photography and retail display with narrative allegory, often describing political, social, economic, and emotional phenomena. As a painter, I value the visual, tactile and poetic pleasures of what paint can do and what it’s for: It’s formal and material qualities, its plasticity, and its usefulness in appropriating languages from the history of its use to certain semiotic purposes. My color palette has acquired the Day-Glo intensity of contemporary media landscapes; I revel in its visuality and vulgar seductiveness as much as cast a critical eye. My animals remain allegories of culture as much as avatars of my own psyche, whose expressions engage with the emotionality of daily fears, joys, pleasures, desires and outrages, and whose furs and skins are both tactile and toxic.

 

 

The Black and White Photo Show: Carolyn Krieg

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With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

The Black and White Photo Show, a group exhibition of work by Marsha Burns, Eduardo Calderón, Dianne Kornberg, Carolyn Krieg, Glenn Rudolph, and Andrew Yates (1945 – 2011) opening January 9, 2016 and continuing through February 27th.
There will be a reception for the artists on Saturday, January 9th from 2-4 pm.

Artist interview #36: Carolyn Krieg 

Carolyn Studio

This is our second interview with Carolyn, you can read a longer interview with her in Interview #7.

1) How is your process different in the studio compared to when you are out in the world?

In one sense, that of observation, my process is the same. Out in the world I look with “new” eyes and “soft” eyes and the rest of my senses. This seeing directs my camera as I angle to capture whatever amazes me. In the studio I intuitively “emerge” the final pieces with drawing and painting techniques, still using “new” and “soft” eyes.

2) What is the emotional impact of the tone in your work?

My work has always been about emotion and the tone varies. One of my favorite dealers once said to me about my India series: “this work is too emotional for me.” My emotional response to what I see/experience in this world is my work. To answer the question more generally, I believe that the emotional impact of the tone in any artist’s work depends on the viewer’s response/life experience and how much soul work they have done. If the observer connects deeply enough, they will find both the light and the dark in all my work.

3) In your mind, what does it mean for your work to succeed?

For my work to succeed for me, it must be seen and hopefully create some kind of connection, some ah ha moment, some mystery and/or question for the viewer. I am communicating with my work. I try to create works that people want to live with for a very long time and pass on or let fly to a new home, kind of like a child.

The Black and White Photo Show: Dianne Kornberg

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With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

The Black and White Photo Show, a group exhibition of work by Marsha Burns, Eduardo Calderón, Dianne Kornberg, Carolyn Krieg, Glenn Rudolph, and Andrew Yates (1945 – 2011) opening January 9, 2016 and continuing through February 27th.
There will be a reception for the artists on Saturday, January 9th from 2-4 pm.

Artist interview #35: Dianne Kornberg

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1. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

Yes, I am now a full-time artist. I retired from teaching at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon in 2007 and my husband and I moved my studio to Obstruction Island, an outer island in the San Juans. The island has only three permanent residences, and no services. The relative isolation allows for a tremendously productive studio environment for me.

2. When did you consider yourself an artist?

“Artist” was always spelled, in my mind, with a capital “A.” Even though I was oil painting in the third grade, I was in my forties before I felt comfortable with the label.

3. What are your influences?

In a long career like mine, they are VAST! The primary influences on my work come from science and the natural world, and from an education and studio career in the visual arts. For the past several years I’ve been collaborating with poets.

4. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My studio is a one-room, 800 square foot building. Lighting is tungsten and florescent, there’s a skylight, and west facing windows. I have a 500K viewing station for color evaluation, and a 6 x 16 foot steel wall for hanging and viewing work.

5. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or TV in your studio?

I usually go out to the studio in the morning, break for lunch and a walk, and then return in the afternoon. There’s a rhythm to the passage of time on the island, distinguishable more by weather than by the day of the week. I mostly work at the computer, although some days I might photograph new material for a project, or do various tasks like record-keeping and other drudgeries that are part of the process. The only time I listen to the radio is when I’m doing these tasks—when I’m making work—I find it distracting. I don’t have a TV in the studio.

6. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

After almost twenty years of making silver gelatin prints, I’ve been printing digitally since 2001. I work on images in Photoshop and print with an Epson 44” inkjet printer. I usually work on one or two projects at a time.

7. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

My process on the computer is experimental and varies dramatically depending on what I’m working on. Basically I start with film and/or digital photographs that I combine and work on in Photoshop. My work is some kind of hybrid that combines my painting, drawing and photography backgrounds. I do extensive proofing before printing finished images—that I can make the print myself is an important part of my process.

8. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I garden. I bake bread. I read. I watch the weather. I usually walk every day. We grow most of the vegetables we eat because a trip to the nearest store and back usually takes three or four hours. There is a wonderful library in Eastsound—we spend a lot of time reading, especially in the winter.

9) How is your process different in the studio compared to when you are out in the world?

The studio is a private place. It’s where I do most my work. Occasionally I carry a camera in the ‘world’ to get material for particular projects (most recently for “House of Stone” and What is Left”). But generally, I make my photos in the studio.

10) What is the emotional impact of the tone in your work?

It varies widely depending on the underlying concept that’s generating the piece(s). For example, “Madonna Comix” plays stylistically off comic books. In “Arachne” I created fictional specimen pages, like those found in a herbarium, so that I could incorporate the poetic text as ‘scientific notation.’ In “What is Left” (part of the grief work I’m doing with poet Elisabeth Frost), altered photographs of oyster shell mounds are desiccated and lifeless landscapes that suggest stasis, weight, a bearing down on the text written below the image.

11) In your mind, what does it mean for your work to succeed?

Looking at what I’ve done over the years, certain pieces seem to hold up especially well. Everything still ‘feels right’–they are the pieces that I don’t want to make any changes to, and that continue to engage me visually and intellectually. I consider and value interesting responses from viewers that are generated by the work.

 

The Black and White Photo Show: Eduardo Calderón

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With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

The Black and White Photo Show, a group exhibition of work by Marsha Burns, Eduardo Calderón, Dianne Kornberg, Carolyn Krieg, Glenn Rudolph, and Andrew Yates (1945 – 2011) opening January 9, 2016 and continuing through February 27th.
There will be a reception for the artists on Saturday, January 9th from 2-4 pm.

Artist interview #34: Eduardo Calderón

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“self-portrait 2006”

I was born in Arequipa, Peru in 1949. I studied anthropology and museology at the University of Washington. I became a photographer and an artist in the early 1970’s.

My photographs are reflections of the world around me. The images are captured during walks in the streets of populated areas in Peru (particularly Arequipa, my home town) and other countries in Latin America and Europe where I set temporary residence for weeks at a time to familiarize myself with the culture and the geography. My work is not meant to be judgmental of the things I see. The photographs are like chronicles of whatever catches my eye during those walks.

I work with film and I print in a darkroom using conventional black and white photographic papers and chemistry. The images are composed entirely in the camera at the moment before I press the shutter. The prints are manipulated in the darkroom only to control the light on the paper in order to achieve the proper balance of contrast without changing the original composition. No cropping or alteration in any way. The integrity of the image is at the moment it is captured by the camera.

Philip Govedare: Sky Paintings

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With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

Sky Paintings, a solo show of new work by Philip Govedare opening November 7 and continuing through December 19, 2015.
There will be a conversation with the artist followed by a reception on Saturday November 14 from 2-4 pm.

Artist interview #33: Philip Govedare

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1) How is your process different in the studio compared to when you are out in the landscape?

I spend a lot of time in nature doing a variety of things, always looking for my subject matter and observing qualities of light, form etc. I do drawings from observation on site as a way of understanding and internalizing what I am seeing. My paintings are completed entirely in the studio and are a combination of imagination and memory, but also informed by drawing and the time that I spend in the landscape.

2) In a discussion with students about painting clouds, you asked: “You can’t capture it, so how do you capture the essence of what it is?” How have you approached this in your study, not only of clouds, but also of the fleeting nature of light in the landscape?

Light in the landscape is both fugitive and transformative. It is the essence of spirit and vitality, sets a mood, and in my paintings, is created in large part through color relationships. Through an exhaustive process of testing possibilities with moving paint around on canvas with a brush and palette knife, I arrive at a form or quality of light that is “found” rather than reproduced directly from observation. It is an inefficient process of trial and error, but it relies on knowledge and memory, imagination, and to some degree “the happy accident”.

3) What is the importance of observation, memory and imagination in your practice?

Drawing through observation is a process of selection, and a means to simplify and understand an infinitely complex world. What is left out is as important as that which is recorded, and the imagination plays a role in filling in gaps and making it whole. People sometimes ask me where I get my images, or if I copy photographs (I do not). The assumption is that painting is simply a matter of depicting an established or preconceived idea. My images are found through a seemingly endless process of revision and reconfiguration. A painting comes to life when I make a discovery, and encounter a situation that resonates, and is fresh, visually potent, and provocative.

4) You have mentioned: “skies set the emotional tone” would you expand on that thought?

As a species, I think we are biologically programed to respond to different conditions of weather and light. It is part of human evolution to be sensitive to these qualities since climate and weather have implication for basic survival. A brooding winter sky elicits a very different response than a summer sky with benign puffy white clouds. In my work, skies are less about a literal depiction of an observed phenomenon or place, but are a metaphor and a mirror to an interior landscape of individual consciousness. Serenity or tumult, stasis or upheaval, these are expressed through the transformative qualities of light and atmosphere, the suggestion of precipitation, wind and temperature. They embody the full range of the human emotion that includes hope and foreboding, joy and despair, bravado and frailty, and elicit questions of purpose, mortality and the eternal.

5) In your painting, what does it mean for a given work to succeed?

Matisse said that a painting is finished when anything that the artist adds to the painting detracts from it. In a larger sense, for me a painting should be revelatory, and contain a mystery or reveal some hidden truth. It must have a compelling presence that cannot be reduced to a simple formula or explanation. It should feed the imagination, and provoke a sense of wonder by presenting the familiar in a way that is fresh, challenging and somehow exhilarating.

6) How do you understand form in relation to expression?

I think that painting is all about paying attention, noticing things, and becoming sensitized to the world around us. There is the cliché that learning to paint is learning to see, and I have no doubt that I see the world differently as a consequence of painting. How things are constructed through the manner in which paint is handled (edges, brush work and surface quality, opacity and transparency) lends itself to expression. A particular technique adapts to the demand for expression, and finds a way to translate an experience in the most direct, subtle and complex terms. Ultimately, there is no formula for expression. The mystery of painting is that it is a deeply subjective enterprise, intuitive for both the artist and the spectator.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Matt Klos”

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With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Conversation with curators Michael Howard, Norman Lundin & several of the artists: October 15, 7pm.

Artist Interview #32 Matt Klos

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1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I was thrilled to be asked to participate in “The White Cup” exhibition since the idea of whiteness has interested me for many years. Thirteen years ago I titled my thesis project at the University of Maryland “White Paintings” which dealt with a theme of whiteness that has fascinated me ever since.

White can be understood as blank, untarnished, or void. Whiteness as described in David Batchelor’s Chromophobia (Reaktion Books, 2000) has been understood in Western culture and intellectual thought as being without corruption or contamination. Notions of white in this line of thinking hold to a cerebral and technological baseline.

As someone who spends his time looking at visual phenomena and trying to make sense of it in paint I prefer a messier, and decidedly less aloof, notion of white. As an artist I am interested in white’s receptive qualities. Rather than white being impregnable I think of white as a conduit that is deeply sympathetic to its environment. White is the universal reflector and on its surface all color collides. These colors alternately exchange rank and file. One hue emanates strongest at one moment and another at the next. Rather than white being understood as a non-color I see it as an every-color holding congruency with the scientific properties of light.

Colors as seen on the white surface are reflected almost directly akin to a face reflecting in a mirror. When multiple colors are reflected on the white surface, which is often the case, they take on complex intermingled notes. When painting white we ultimately are painting what the white surface is not, or rather, what the white surface is reflecting. The difficulty in painting white is finding equilibrium between the emergence of color on the white surface and the surface as a whole. If reflected color is underplayed for sake of a surface the iridescence of appearance is lost. If the color notes are overplayed the surface ceases to hold together. As it goes with acting, for an optimal effect the artist must play everything on the line.

As I was working on “Perched” and “Diagonal” for this exhibition I tried to maintain a stance of receptivity to color nuances on the white object. During a painting session color nuances ebb and flow from fluctuations in the light source and based on the artists visual path across the object’s surface. In this way the artist becomes attuned to the environmental situation of the white object itself echoing its own environmental awareness.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

Yes, I’m a full time artist in the sense that my life really informs my work. But of course, I work to make a living. I teach full time in the Visual Arts at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, MD. I also manage a few properties which couples the enjoyment I find in working with my hands and working with people.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I’ve always considered myself an artist or at least someone who was artistic. It wasn’t really a self-knowledge born of the idea that I was making things that were interesting or well done but rather something that other people would say about what I did. So, after a while you sort of pick that up and it becomes your own.

4. What are your influences?

I put together a show, “A Lineage of American Perceptual Painters” which went on view in the Mitchell Gallery at St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD about a years ago. The exhibition includes a number of my favorite painters and greatest contemporary (or near contemporary) influences.

More here, http://www.sjc.edu/programs-and-events/annapolis/mitchell-art-gallery/mitchell-gallery-archives/2014-2015-exhibits-and-programs/#perceptual

My work is also really influenced by life in general. I’ll read a book or see a show and it will kind of overwhelm me, like a really catchy song that you want to hear over and over again, and eventually fizzles but is not gone completely. So during the immediate aftermath of exposure I am somewhat possessed by a particular idea and it seeps into everything I do and say. It’s terrible really that I’m so fickle. Right now I’m super obsessed about the Picasso sculpture exhibition at MOMA. The way he married line and form is mind numbing. I mean, I didn’t even think I liked Picasso that much. Nothing was accidental or overlooked and every material he came upon become and artistic statement. I laugh maniacally every time I think about it (which is constantly)!!!

My wife and I love to travel and that always seeps into my work… in the last few years we’ve been with the kids to Barcelona, Athens, Istanbul, Prague, Seattle, and San Diego.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

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My studio is fairly large. It is the full footprint of my home and in my basement. I guess it’s about 900 sq. feet but it’s fragmented into a “clean room” where I have a cluttered desk and have racks of paintings and a somewhat open space where I have a table saw, drill press, and work tables. Among the “dirty” space I find inspiration for my interior paintings. I work in diffused light during the day which comes in through basement windows and under various artificial lights at night. Paintings occur to me over a long period of time. I’m a quintessential Cezanne painter in the way that good ideas occur to me only after I’ve muddled with ideas that aren’t that good for quite a while. Ideas that come to me which are purely formed bore me or make me extremely wary. I tend to toss them aside.

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Working outdoors at Fort Howard

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

Typically I get down to the studio late at night during the week. It’s 11:27pm now and as soon as I finish this I’m heading down. By 2am or so I’ll need to wrap it up or will pour a glass of Glenfiddich and go back to it for a couple hours (a decision I’ll regret when my alarm goes off at 6am). Tonight will be a later night than usual. On a good night I’m down there by 9pm. On Fridays and weekends I take a large section of the morning and afternoon to paint and am working on a large painting of my bottles in natural light at the moment from Noon-5pm when the light is right. I also head outside to paint the landscape when I’m fatigued of my interiors or if it’s a particularly beautiful day. Some people golf. I’m a big Spotify listener and I tend to listen to guys with guitars… Ryan Adams, Joshua Ritter, etc. I also love drone or trance music… really I don’t even know the name of the genre… but in the Crystal Castles realm. A close friend, Jeremy Jarvis, makes some of his playlists public and I always glean good music from those lists. Oh, and WTMD, a local Towson University radio station.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I work primarily in oil but will use acrylic, watercolor, gouache, and all manner of drawing media to keep things exciting. More and more lately, as my family and other responsibilities mount, I’ve been working primarily in oil since some of my studio epics move at a glacial pace and I really want to complete several for upcoming exhibitions. I work on many, many projects at once. When I begin a project or am nearing the end I tend to get tunnel vision and hone in on just that. The middle of a painting, the doldrums, are what I dread!

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

No. Not really. One technique that is quite common and something I use often is scraping down areas of a painting after a session. The palette knife is used to do this and essentially the paint is lifted off the surface but much of the impression of the mark remains. This is done to resuscitate areas of the painting that have calcified or are overwrought and also helps the subsequent layers of paint to adhere in a manner consistent with “fat over lean.” Although this is a common practice in painting it tends to baffle my new painting students each semester.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I come from a big family and am close to them. My maternal grandmother has 27 grandkids and a steadily growing number of great-grandkids. I spend time making calls, writing letters, and taking trips and would like to do more of all three! My wife and I had our fourth child, Stella, about two months ago. Lately, in the evening after the other kids are in bed asleep, we just sort of hang out with her and try to communicate. She’s generally really quiet and content but is becoming aware and communicates with us. It’s a trip to see her smile and respond to the crazy antics we put on! I’m assistant coach for my oldest son’s soccer team and am on the PTA which is odd, apparently, since I’m a man. I’ve never felt so out of place! But I hope to be a help.

This summer had a workout with the chair of my department, Chris Mona, who is the most buff artist I know. It was fun (and really painful) and I’ve been weight lifting since then. I’m focusing on leg workouts. I tend to be fanatical about exercise and this type of exercise is my latest fascination.

Lastly, I really love to read. My best days always begin with me reading nonfiction and end with me reading fiction!

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Sarah Bixler”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #31: Sarah Bixler”

studio1

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I’ve always enjoyed paintings of white objects, in white environments. I was excited to have an excuse to paint one. I also rarely paint from still life, so the change of pace and logistics was a welcome challenge.

progress_with_photo

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I support myself through teaching and odd jobs.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I am still struggling with that identity I think.

4. What are your influences?

I am influenced by so many things, what I am reading, what I am doing… looking at. I think I became an artist (or at least wound up at art school) because it synthesizes so many different disciplines and gives me an excuse to be endlessly curious and to spend my time learning about lots of different things. Some painters I go back to again and again are Edwin Dickinson, Alberto Giacometti, Antonio Lopez Garcia, Anne Gale, Euan Uglow, Frank Auerbach, Villhelm Hammershoi, Seurat’s drawings, Gwen John… Any list feels incomplete. My list is always expanding, and evolving based on whatever problem I am working on.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I have converted my dining room into a studio, or accommodated my studio to my dining room… It is not very big… maybe 150 sq ft, the light is South facing from large pane windows. I only belatedly realized how little wall space I have, but I love all the window space. Natural lighting is important to me. The walls are deep burgundy, which I became more and more aware of as I painted my white cup, on its white stand, with all the bounced light.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

My schedule is really unpredictable right now. So, a typical “day” in my studio… I’m not sure I’ve experienced that in a while. I do my best work in the morning so I try to get started early. I am often unsure of what to do first and I find that walking or running can help me sort through my priorities for the day. Once I’m back in my studio I’ll often start by looking at images I’ve collected relating to my project, or by just putting myself in the space, looking at my painting, tidying things up. I almost always listen to music or NPR or podcasts. Lately I’ve spent most of my time on small landscape paintings and studies outside.

painting_outdoors1

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I am always working on something. I’ve been doing small gouache paintings and drawings of buildings and scenes outdoors. I think having many things going at once can helps me avoid overworking any one painting and also keeps the process new and exciting. I can try new things and experiment.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Not really… Just paint, and stuff to paint with. I’ve been into edges, I really like having the contrast of a straight edge, so I’ve been fond of tape.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I like running, biking and exploring. I enjoy working with my hands, so I’m always falling into new projects. I just took apart my cellphone to install a new screen, which was more involved than I anticipated. I enjoy reading and do a lot of ‘research’ reading, I’d like to read for pleasure more often.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Fred Birchman, Kimberly Clark, & Evelyn Woods”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #30: Fred Birchman, Kimberly Clark & Evelyn Woods

Fred, Kimberly & Evelyn have each participated in our interview series in conjunction with earlier exhibitions.  We posed the following question to each:

How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

Fred Birchman:

When I was told of the idea, my main thought was how can I make it interesting? I immediately thought of it falling, not only did it give me the opportunity to view it from different sides, but also I got to draw it three times! It is also difficult for me to separate most forms from their context. So rather than doing so, I decided to write out the running dialogue that usually occupies my brain whilst I’m making something. That way it becomes MY drawing and MY white cup. Thanks for including me in the show. Now I’m going to go get some coffee….

Kimberly Clark

This was a real challenge for me.  I procrastinated as long as I possibly could.  Though my work is rooted in observation, the idea of setting up a white cup seemed very far removed from where the inspiration from my work comes. In the end, I became interested in how I would, and if I could, make a painting of a white cup that had space and air around it.  Of the two paintings that are included in the exhibition, I had a difficult time letting go of the oil painting.  I painted it again and again, sanding it down and painting it again.  I kept getting pulled back into the painting, because something was missing.  I’m not sure if I ever found what that was, perhaps that needs to be answered in another painting…

Evelyn Woods

I got pretty excited when I first heard of the white cup invitational show.  It got my brain to working up ideas for how I could paint a simple white cup but make it visually interesting. So much so that there are still around 20 more paintings waiting to be explored.  This challenge also propelled me into doing something different with my work.  So that’s a good thing.  I also went back to using the camera to create the cup compositions, which not only freed up time but allowed me to edit before starting the painting.  In my previous drawings I worked directly from a composed still life set up in the studio.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Caroline Kapp”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #29: Caroline Kapp”

Kapp_Photo_In_Studio-1

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I approached the idea very playfully. I worked in stages, starting with some pieces that explored visual and formal aspects of value, shape and repetition. Working with the absence of color and a focus on shape led me into several other iterations dealing with fingerprints, impressions, then a step back to more of an analytical or functional focus of what makes a cup a cup, being contained or held by, and to hold.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I teach college visual art, design and graphic software courses and do some freelance work on the side.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

It surprises me what a tough question that is. The earliest memory I have is drawing a figure that suggested volume. Snaky arms and legs and torso, rather than a stick figure. I was about four, drawing with a purple crayola marker, and of course I didn’t have the vocabulary to interpret or share what made me so excited about how I made that drawing or why, but I will never forget that feeling of discovery and elation that what I drew was somehow closer to what I saw. I don’t know what it’s like to not have the drive to be working on or collecting something, even more now, if it’s scratching down an idea or texting myself an image or capturing video or audio. I think it took many years of hearing people comment to me about this drive to create that I realized that a drive to create isn’t something everyone can relate to, and later on that I had unconsciously been surrounding myself with other people with that same drive because it made me feel a little less insane, whether it be art or music or writing, the medium didn’t matter. Maybe one of those moments is the moment in question.

4. What are your influences?

I’m all over the place. On the photography side I appreciate work that documents or catalogs objects and scientific phenomenon in visually beautiful ways, Anna Atkins, Berenice Abbott, or Karl Blossfeldt come to mind. I appreciate Keiji Uematsu’s work for his precarious sculptural work and impossible photographic illusions that rely so wonderfully on the fixed vantage point to work, and also the ease in which he carries his ideas and visual style so fluidly between mediums. I gravitate to suggestive or conceptual work that shifts context or startles expectation in some manner, work with words or titles essential to the piece, like Bruce Nauman or John Baldessari. I have an innate love for line quality, texture, value and color theory from painting for years, and I’m drawn to really loose, expressionistic figural work like Alice Neel or Oskar Kokoschka, and then on the other side extremely textured precision of Euan Uglow’s compositions.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I work in a small attic-like space with sloped ceilings that serves as an office, art studio and music studio. There is a work table, a cuckoo clock, lots of art books, postcards and instruments, lots of guitar cables all over. It gets great natural afternoon light, at other times lit by two 60watt Ikea bulbs.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

Maybe it is how I negotiate a busy schedule, but I am more of a mobile idea collector and less of a studio artist in the traditional sense. What I do most regularly is scribble ideas down during random moments and places during the day, and the act of sketching or writing burns the idea into my mind so I’m thinking about it, mapping it out, down to little details of the composition or items I need to find at Goodwill to make it happen. When I do work, I binge on a lot of carefully crafted ideas all at once, without looking back trying not to analyze or second-guess what I am doing. What is fairly consistent, and it’s kind of funny, is that after I capture an idea, I never like the piece and I have to put it away. It never compares to what it was in my mind’s eye, and I have to distance myself for a few weeks or sometimes even months. I think of wolves circling each other as I come to terms with how it differs from what was in my mind. We eventually become amicable again, and sometimes I rework aspects of it, sometimes it was perfectly fine to begin with, but taking the time and space away from the piece is the necessary last step for it to be finished.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I primarily work in the mediums of photography, drawing and video. I am drawn to these because they have very different connotations or levels of “real” to a viewer based on their unique traditions and histories, and that perception affects interpretation and significance of the subject matter. My ideas often originate from there. It is pretty rare that something will end up in a medium different from what I envisioned because the medium is so much a part of the idea.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I think I use fairly common tools and techniques, but the way I combine the media to suit the idea might be considered unique. For example I often use paintbrushes, charcoal, folded paper and printmaking techniques to make my photographs, photographs, video projections and printmaking paper to make my drawings, and all of the above to make videos. Sometimes the physical process can go through six or eight steps of analog to digital and back.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I play several instruments, compose music, I cook and nerd out on cooking shows, garden, travel, hang out with my dogs.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Elizabeth Ockwell”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #28: Elizabeth Ockwell

e-me in studio 8_15

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

First, I resisted the idea of painting the cup and thought of many ways to avoid the straight-forward assignment—-like this:

cup_model

This was not a painting about a cup. It felt dishonest, so I stopped resisting the idea and began to whole-heartedly paint a cup.

e-cup and shards

The first cup that I chose slipped out of my hand and shattered. The shards were very clean and elegant and seemed to be part of the idea of the cup—this time in an honest way. I put the shards and another cup on my table and painted them. After painting the cups, an odd and pleasing thing happened to my drawing. Looking so intently at the cup, it became much easier to see pure shapes, and when I drew, the lines flowed freely from my hand.

e-Lovric's 3

This sketch of a boxcar in a boat yard drew itself without all of the usual measuring. I was seeing shapes, not objects. The magic has worn off a bit now.

2. Are you a full-time artist? How do you support your art?

I am a full-time artist now. Before I retired, I taught Anatomy and Watercolor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I was a flute student at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. One day, I visited the Fine Arts Museum. There I was struck by the remarkable delusion not only that I could paint just as well as the masters, but that I would eventually paint BETTER than they did! It was a very exciting madness. I left school and travelled around the world; this seemed like the logical next step. Finally, I returned to Seattle and began to study art at the University of Washington.

4. What are your influences?

Leonardo, German graphic artists from Albrecht Dürer to Horst Janssen, Beaux Arts architectural drawings, and my teachers, especially Norman Lundin and Kurt Kranz.

5. How big is your studio?

It is a former dentist’s office in an old building in Anacortes. There is one good-sized room about 20 feet by 25 feet and two smaller rooms just big enough for the dentist’s chair. The studio is on the south side of the building so I have to partially close the blinds for part of the day, but I have daylight florescent lights if I need them.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to radio or TV.

I come to the studio in late morning, drink a cup of tea and think and sketch for a while, then get to work. Usually, I have something interestingly difficult to work on. Now I am working on a series that I began in Paris; drawings of the corridors of the Paris Opera House. No, I don’t listen to music or watch T.V. when I am working, but if I am hand-coloring etchings or doing something very repetitive, I sometimes listen to an audio book. I usually work for four or five hours.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Pencil, pen and watercolor. I usually have several projects going.

8. Do you have any unique tools?

No.

9. What do you do outside the studio?

I like to sketch out of doors.

and in coffee houses.

Besides this, I like to read, do yoga, walk and to be at home with my husband and my cat.

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“Observing Observing (a white cup): Joe Crookes”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #27: Joe Crookes

P1060059

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

A good lesson. My first attempt involved a lot of photoshop doodadding. And believe me there is a whole lot of doodads to be had there. But then this was about a white cup not psychedelic concave flying through space… So I went toward cupness until I got an image that felt more interesting and realistic.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I started working on houses just to temporarily support my art habit; thirty years ago. The art mags spread delusions about big money in the field but even those fortunate enough to have a gallery RARELY make it on their work alone. Chihuly is the only one that comes to mind.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

It’s a loaded word. One can work as a artist without ever producing art. To say; “I am an artist,” sounds presumptuous. But I guess I first got an inkling at The University while taking graduate level creative writing classes. Certain published teachers recognized a talent in me.

4. What are your influences?

I traded carpentry to Greg Kucera for his commission on a Frank Okada painting hanging in my living room that informs my abstract work. I draw inspiration from different artists for different projects. When I photographed the ironwork erection for both stadiums in Seattle I THOUGHT OF Lewis Hine. When I shot architecture details I might harken to Paul Strand.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I have a printer set up overlooking my back yard in Wallingford. Lately I’ve been shooting in South Lake Union because of all the expensive construction and nice building details. I do wish that they used more imagination in their overall designs, but so be it. So outside is my main studio.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I labor without nerd finesse at my photo printer and computer. I am convinced that they make the process more difficult then need be. I personally know a code writer at a start up that did not participate in a revolt against the boss that the other nerds launched by further obfuscating the work so he could not micro manage them. It really does not need to be so difficult to print a good image.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Photography. I am now printing inkjet enlargements of a my long body of fine art work.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Did you know that photo papers are created in a dazzling array? There are dozens of companies that create different papers with unique high quality papers and all they cost is money.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I like hanging out with my wife and cat in our little house. We listen to music all day. We particularly enjoy John Galbraith in the morning on KBCS. We have also traveled so far to 25 countries. I’ve been going to art galleries for decades. Anybody remember The Don Scott Gallery or when Gordon Woodside was on Capital Hill? Or The Seattle Art Museum Pavillion that I managed in The Seattle Center. Thinking about memory, remember the perpetual drinking bird popular in the late Fifties? A gimmick bird that would dip his beak up and down into a tiny wet cup until the water dried. Everyone marveled: how does that work! That’s us folks.

"White Cup", 2015, archival inkjet print, ed. 1/8, 10.5 x 8”

“White Cup”, 2015, archival inkjet print, ed. 1/8, 10.5 x 8”

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Laura Swytak”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #26: Laura Swytak

IMG_1076

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I love the idea for this show with everyone observing a white cup. White objects are interesting to paint as they are so influenced by their surroundings. I wanted to try doing white on white and see how closely I could get to just painting the light. I had this white cloth I wanted to use for a painting. It has a pattern woven into it that you can only see from a certain angle. The spoon came in later because I needed it to gauge the other colors/values.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

DougandJackie

I file my taxes as an artist but don’t make a living off of my own work. My primary source of income is my wedding business. I have been painting wedding receptions and other special events for 10 years. I also teach drawing at two different community colleges right now, which is really fun.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

After undergrad, I remember trying to explain to my Grandma that what I was going to “do” was be a painter, which she found confusing. From the time I was 14 I felt a pretty strong pull towards wanting to make art, so for me it was something I was always serious about, but when you get into “considering yourself an artist” is such a grey zone.

4. What are your influences?

I get inspired by being home, watching the light shifts throughout the day, doing quick portraits of friends, and just being out and about looking at light, be it an underwater landscape or a lumber yard. As far as art/culture, the sincerity and tenderness of Spanish painting and the people of Spain have had a huge influence on me. Lopez Garcia, Ribera, Zuburan, Velazquez, Sorolla. I also love quick paintings that capture something as it exists in particular moment. Mark Karnes, Avigdor Ahrika, Edwin Dickinson, Fairfield Porter, Vuillard, Sargent. A quote from Dickinson that has stuck with me is “you should paint like you are jumping on a moving train”.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

Right now I paint in my living room/office that is about 8′ x 11’. I often wander around my apartment to paint and so the lighting varies depending on where I’m working. My favorite light is in the bathroom, which isn’t very practical. There are lots of really amazing moments throughout the day with the light here. Hopefully this winter when work slows down I can block out some time to do my own work. The studio itself has west-facing windows so the morning is quite blue and the afternoon is sunny. Lately I’ve been doing little watercolors of the sun bouncing around in the studio in the afternoon.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I like to draw a bit then look for something with interesting colors coming together, do some quick painting and see where it goes…mostly the goal being to get my painter brain turned on. If I get a decent amount of time to paint to the point where I’m in a rhythm, I’ll just jump into whatever particular painting I’m into at the moment. For my own work I will start without music and then see if a mood or a particular song comes into my head. If so, I usually listen to that music on repeat (sorry neighbors). For wedding paintings I like to listen to a good fiction book, podcasts, or wedding music if I’m struggling to get into the mood.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Usual stuff. Oil on canvas, oil on panel, Graphite, or black watercolor. I’ll bounce around on quick stuff quite a bit, but once I settle into something I’ll do one, two max, projects at a time. Even if I have two paintings going I find myself thinking about one more than the other.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I have this red film that I started using in grad school that I get at artists and craftsmen. I absolutely love it. Color makes sense to me, but translating color to value relationships is more difficult. The red film helps me to see where my color value relationships are weak.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

FullSizeRender (1)

I’ve gotten really into trail running in the last couple years. I spend Wednesday and Sunday mornings out on the trail, sometimes doing up to 23 miles if I’m training, which can be time consuming. I also love snorkeling and finding various kelp forests off the coast here. Both of these things have deepened my connection with Southern California. Since I moved back here in 2011, time with family has also become a much bigger part of my life.

"White Cup", 2015, oil on canvas, 16 x 20"

“White Cup”, 2015, oil on canvas, 16 x 20″

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Brian Blackham”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #25: Brian Blackham

in studio

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

With interest, I love this idea for a show.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

Yes.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I’m still chasing down the meaning of “Artist”.

4. What are your influences?

This question is so big it brings my brain to a screeching halt. So many things, to sum it up I guess it would be the purity of the result from others.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

340 square feet with high ceilings. I use spot lights and diffused natural light from windows, no skylights.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

Bankers hours, speed chess at lunch, tie things up around 6 pm to get home for dinner with my wife and kids. I do listen to music, no tv. I also love silence, maybe half the day.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Preferred medium is oil paint. I go back and forth from working on one at a time to several.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

No, not really, pretty straight forward.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

Spend time with my wife and two kids, lots of walks with them, Church, Chess.

“A Cup”, 2015, oil on panel, 16 x 12″

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Graham Shutt”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #24: Graham Shutt

shutt-studio-2015_web

How did you respond to the white cup?

I’ve been enthusiastic about Observing Observing since Michael Howard first mentioned the idea for the exhibition to me. I am particularly interested in the transformation an object undergoes during the process of observation. It could be the transformation a cup undergoes as an artist looks at and represents it, but it could also be the transformation a picture of a cup undergoes as an observer looks at the representation of the cup. The transformation is where the making occurs.

Are you a full-time artist? If not how do you support your art?

I’ve worked as a bookseller for the past 15 years. There are benefits to having a day job. The structure it provides helps me focus on my work when I am in the studio.

When did you consider yourself an artist?

I began to consider myself an artist when artists whose opinions I respect began to refer to me as an artist.

What are your influences?

My undergraduate and graduate education in literature undoubtedly continues to influence my work. One way it does so is that the study of literature is, fundamentally, the study of the history and theory of representation. This includes both symbolic and visual representation. I read widely and I look at images from many different periods.

The movements that have been most influential for me are from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They range from Impressionism to Bauhaus. They’re modernist movements. I am particularly interested in the break with pictorial tradition and the rise of abstraction during this period.

Amongst photographers born during the postwar period, Hiroshi Sugimoto has been a big influence. His photographs of conceptual forms, in particular those of mathematical models, showed me that it was possible to make photographs of the kind I imagined.

How big is your studio? What kind of lighting do you have?

I work at home where I am fortunate to have windows which face south. I make good use of the indirect — and, at the right time of the year, the direct — sunlight on my west-facing walls. Natural light functions as a kind of conceptual constraint in my work.

What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio, or TV in your studio?

My day depends upon the task at hand. Because I make use of natural light, I pay attention to the sun’s position in the sky and to the way the sun lights objects in my studio. If I’m making photographs I work when the light is right. Earlier this summer I found myself getting up at 5:30 in the morning to make photographs because there was nice light in one of my rooms. For much of the year late afternoon is my most productive time. If I’m developing photographs I work whenever I can. The same holds true for making prints. In general I prefer quiet.

What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I make photographs with a digital 35mm camera and an inkjet printer. I would like to work with a large format camera and develop film and make prints in a traditional darkroom but that is not an option at the moment. However, there are advantages to working in a digital medium. Doing so allows me to experiment in ways working with film would make difficult. I tend to work on one series of photographs at a time.

Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or processes that you use in your art making?

Observation is, of course, central to my work, but my process also involves reading and writing, drawing, making paper constructions and, because I’m interested in combinations, permutations, and production systems, writing computer programs.

What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I go for long walks whenever I can.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Kathy Liao”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #23: Kathy Liao

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1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

Charles Hawthrone, on the subject of Still Life, quoted “There is nothing in the world so helpful to a young painter as a study of white, if he will but be honest.” I was very excited when I found out the theme was “the white cup.” One of the assignments I gave to my painting students was to paint a white cup or object. The parameter was to only paint with neutral tones mixed out of primary colors

Kathy Liao Demo for "Color for Painters" class at Gage Academy, Seattle, WA

Kathy Liao Demo for “Color for Painters” class at Gage Academy, Seattle, WA

The exercise was always a challenge for the students, and they either loved it or hated it. However, this assignment was usually an eye opener for the students. It not only demanded the students to discern warm and cool temperatures of color, but also challenged them to really see the infinite colors perceived within a deceivingly simple white object against a white background. Observation is KEY. When I started out to tackle this theme, I was drunk off of an art-viewing high from having visited the In the Studio exhibition, curated by John Elderfield at the Gagosian in New York. The exhibit highlighted works by the pantheon of masters, including Thomas Eakins, Jean-Leon Gerome, Matisse, Braque, Picasso, Giacometti, using their studio as a point of departure for their work. I marveled at the incredible daylight commanding its way into Matisse little attic studio in L’Atelier sous les toits and the colors that were teased out of the shadows of the dark studio. In Diebenkorn’s, Untitled (Studio Interior), with his detached but brutally honest observation of the observed composition in front of him, Diebenkorn painted a folding chair in front of a wall with his own works on paper. I loved the playfulness and the scrutiny in which painters responded to their inspirations and the legacy it implied. In Larry River’s The Wall, the viewers could tease out Vuillard, Picasso, and an upside-down Matisse poster. Braque’s Atelier VIII is a lyrical composite of the cornucopia of objects in his studio. The artists’ works were honest and direct responses to their environment.

Using the white cup as the protagonist, I completed a series of studies and paintings during my residency at the Brushcreek Ranch Art Foundation. The white cup, very much like the artist (myself), was influenced by and altered in response to its surrounding. The nature of the white porcelain picked up and distorted the color, the light and shadow, and the geometry of its surrounding. The name of the game was to record its brilliant mirage and, in turn, how it transformed the space in which it occupied. I had a lot of fun taking the cup for a “walk” around the studio. I was allowed to observe my studio environment from a new perspective, through the scale and the reflection of the little white cup.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I am currently teaching at Missouri Western State University as an Assistant Professor. I am lucky because I absolutely love teaching.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

When I realized most of the decisions I make in life, from taking up that first part-time jobs out of school, the teaching gigs, the places I travel and move to, the books and objects I buy, to every whim and curiosity I follow and pursue, are all for that next ten thousand works I’ll be making. Everything I do, I realized, is to allow me to continue to make work, to never stop doing what I’m doing now.

4. What are your influences?

Most recently, see 1. Otherwise countless to name.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I was fortunate to have a studio/office provided by the university. Tall ceiling and a window view. I could always use a bigger studio, but I’m making this home now.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

Music, audiobooks, NPR. I need background noises to get me going. I teach a lot so time management is key. If I were lucky, I could squeeze in 6-8 hours in the studio on a busy week. Of course, there are the burst of productivity and sleep deprived weeks before a show deadline. But honestly, I am most productive at artist residency, with an uninterrupted period of time to work.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Yes, I work on several paintings at the same time. I also like to work in different mediums. I would often start with a painting or a drawing, hash out ideas and variations through printmaking, which might branch off to completely new projects.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I love working with and thinking through collage. It allows me to focus on shapes, colors, texture, and the existing but unexpected marks of found and pre-made materials. The process removes me from “painting” the named object, and allow me to simply observe and record what is in front me, one shaped piece at a time.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I will admit, between teaching and studio practice, this last year (my first year at a full-time teaching position), I had no life whatsoever. I hope this next will be better. I recently moved to Kansas City and I’m hoping to dive into the art scene there. Other than that, I do travel a lot, for work and for pleasure.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Bill Sharp”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #22: Bill Sharp

Bill Sharp in studio 8-15

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I took the idea of painting a white cup as an opportunity to explore different approaches to the subject. I did several paintings and drawings using different media and methods of image making.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I was a full time artist until my wife and I had children. I’ve worked at several jobs to support my family, over the years. For most of my life, I’ve really considered myself to be working two full time jobs, with painting as one of them. My daughters are grown and on their own now and my wife passed away a couple of years ago so I’ve been thinking of returning to full time painting. I currently work for a High Tech firm to support myself but will be retiring in the next couple of months and focus on painting.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I have always drawn and made things and have struggled some with defining myself as an artist because I’ve had to work to support my family. I didn’t like feeling like I was dabbling in painting so I made an effort to stop making art altogether, at one point. However I couldn’t stop thinking about painting and began carrying a sketchbook to doodle in. My sketching addiction drew me back into oil painting. Through all of this, I’ve always felt that I’m an artist at my core but I’ve tried to avoid getting caught up in definitions and just focus on making art.

4. What are your influences?

My influences have changed a lot, over time. Among my current inspirations are Edward Seago, Edwin Dickinson, Fred Cuming, George Innes, George Bellows. Manet, Van Gogh, Vuillard have also been influences. In my college years, I loved Francis Bacon, Nathan Oliviera and still admire Lucien Freud and, of course, Richard Diebenkorn. Contemporary painters I admire include Jenny Saville, Ann Gale, Jordan Wolfson and a group of painters who are associated with PAFA, including Alex Kanevsky, Christine LaFuente, Stuart Shils, Jon Redmond. There are many more I could list. I spent a month, last summer, studying at the Jerusalem Studio School in Civita Castellana, Italy which also had a strong impact on how I paint and think about painting.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My studio is in a converted 2 car garage. It’s slightly less than 400 sq feet. I have 2 skylights and also use track lighting and clip-ons with color corrected compact fluorescent bulbs.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

Since I work from home, I have my work computer in the studio. As I have free time from my day job, I sneak some painting time in. On a typical day, I get up, feed my dogs and take them out to the garden while coffee brews. I pour a cup and the dogs and I then go to the studio and spend most days there, whether I’m actively painting or not. I spend a lot more time looking and thinking than applying paint. I often listen to music but never watch TV. Since my day job requires that I have a laptop on all the time, I have a computer in the studio, which can be a distraction but is very valuable for playing with source material, email, etc. Once I retire, I may remove internet access from the studio.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I prefer to paint in oil but also use watercolor, graphite, gouache and whatever else my hand finds. I try to have a few paintings in progress at a time. Since I often paint indirectly, I want to have something to work on while a paint layer dries on other pieces.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I’m interested in mark making and experiment a lot with different tools. I will try anything I find that I think might make a different kind of mark. Although I enjoy painting plein air, I don’t think of the work I do outside as finished pieces. I usually bring them back into the studio to use as references or starting points for studio work.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I love music and, although I don’t play well, I keep a guitar in the studio. I like to hike and bike and travel with watercolors and sketchbooks. As I suspect is true for many artists, I’ve made a living in many interesting ways including cooking in restaurants and working as a landscape contractor. I still enjoy cooking and have a big garden. Although I don’t currently volunteer, I have done volunteer work for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife, Nature Conservancy and Children’s Healing Art Project. I hope to include volunteering in my life again soon.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Cable Griffith”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #21: Cable Griffith

Photo Credit: Ulysses Curry

Photo Credit: Ulysses Curry

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I wanted to document and break down the time spent looking at an object as separate instances. Traditional observational painting tends to combine glances and moments of looking, over hours and days, into one focused image. I wanted to track the time looking at something while giving more of a sense of how both the object and myself occupy space and time.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I also teach art at Cornish College of the Arts.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I identified as an artist early in elementary school and wore a beret fairly often. I think I was expressing both my creativity and fantasy of being a paramilitary special ops soldier.

4. What are your influences?

Nature, life, art, mystery.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

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Maybe 200 square feet? It is very conveniently located in my basement and has track lighting with a mixture of warm and cool bulbs.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I prefer to start in the the morning, after breakfast and work until lunch, maybe squeeze in an errand, then continue on until dinner. I almost always have some form of audio on. Sometimes music, or more often a podcast or an audiobook. I tend to get most of my “reading” done this way.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Lately, I tend to use acrylic paint. Mainly, I like the drying time, easy cleanup and lack of fumes. I use Golden “Open” acrylics because they stay wet a bit longer than normal acrylics. Depending on the project, I’ll work on stretched canvas, hanging, raw canvas, or panel. I tend to work on several pieces at a time, rotating through them throughout the day. It’s good for me not to work something to death and have time to get away from and return to a piece. Also, I can get bored of working on the same piece all day. I like working different pieces and sometimes different bodies of work scattered throughout the day. It keeps things interesting for me and allow me to work through the day without losing my mind.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I use an old overhead projector quite a lot. And I increasingly use Photoshop to work things out. Some recent paintings have come from digital photo collages. If I get stuck on a painting, I will often take of photo of the painting’s current state and play with ideas digitally with a stylus and tablet, before returning to the physical painting.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

This summer, I’ve been fortunate to travel, camp, hike, work in the garden, swim, kayak, and grill lots of food. My wife and I try to keep these things in a steady rotation whenever possible.

“White Cup, 64 Views”, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24″

Cable’s work is shown courtesy of G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, WA

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Robert Schlegel”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #20: Robert Schlegel

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1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I don’t do a lot of still life work. I like the idea of a challenge and this seemed to be a good one to attempt. At first it seemed somewhat simple but once started the magnitude of the complexities multiplied. Formal white cup, informal white cup. Representational white cup. I eventually decided on paper cup that morphed into a more formal pottery white cup.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I consider myself a full time artist .

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

In 1977 I was selected by Wayne Thiebaud for inclusion into the Artists of Oregon show at the Portland Art Museum and it was with that validation that I realized I may become an artist.

4. What are your influences?

Cezanne, Matisse, Winslow Homer, Schwitters, Fauves, Morandi, Hopper, Wyeth, Bay Area Figurative artists. I am influenced by the rural and city landscapes, especially the architectural intrusions into these landscapes.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I share a three bedroom ranch house with my brother, a print maker/painter. The house is about 1500 square feet. We each have a painting space and share a print making room. We use shop lights in makeshift tracks for our lighting. We are in the woods in the coast range in Oregon.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

The days in the studio vary depending upon the work that needs to be completed. Stretching and preparing canvas and preparing frames occupy some of my time. I begin work in the studio around midday and often go until midnight. I enjoy the solidtude that evening brings as it seems to enhance my ability to create, especially when painting. I typically like to work from sketches done in the field. I transfer these sketches on compositions on canvas, panels, found and archival paper. I listen to music most of the time, jazz, classical and have an ipod shuffle of albums. I’ve listened to Springsteen’s “Live in Dublin” more times than I can count.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I work on several projects at a time. For two dimensional work I primarily use acrylic and frequently used other mediums, i.e. charcoal, paper, text.. I paint on found papers and paint over pages of books. Recently I have been engaged in fabric and paper mache and found object sculpture.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Sticks and putty knives for scraping and mark making, spritz with water, rags to wipe, old brushes that can slop on paint, meshed bags to create texture. For sculpture work I use mostly found objects, pencils, wire, reclaimed wood, paper mache, cloth, screws, nails 9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job? I enjoy reading, restaurants, walking and trolleys in Portland. The Oregon coast. Camping. Traveling.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Kenny Harris”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #19: Kenny Harris

Harris

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

For me the conditions are very important- so I waited till the right conditions were present and I found a cup and painted it in a sitting.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

Yes, full time. I teach art as well at Laguna College of Art + Design

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I think when I moved to LA from New York with the intent of being an artist- Leaving behind a graphics career.

4. What are your influences?

Old European painting and certain modernist movements- Vermeer + Diebenkorn. Velazquez + Morandi.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My current studio is a bedroom in my house—2 north facing windows plus a large fluorescent fixture to augment the natural light. It works well for studio work, but I like painting from life else where: “in the field”, ie on location wherever!

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I listen to music and radio a lot. Day usually starts with NPR, then some mid tempo music, then I like a certain type of high energy bass music to keep my brain agile and moving.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Oil on panel, or oil primed canvas/linen. I work on lots at a time. Many small studies, a few larger works in progress.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Nothing too special—I use a lot of palette knife. I’ll use long handled brushes sometimes. Recently I started doing some portraits on plexiglass.. not sure where that’s going but we’ll see!

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

Well, travel is very important, so my wife Judy and I do that a lot—gathering inspiration. I like to play beach volleyball in Venice and Santa Monica, and jump in the ocean when I can!

“White Cup on Green Wall”, 2015, oil on panel, 8 x 6″

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Judy Nimtz”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #18: Judy Nimtz

BioPic

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I was excited about the challenge. How do I make the white cup personal and interesting to me? At first I had some pretty complex ideas but in the end chose a cup that I wanted to spend time with – my husband’s favorite coffee mug, which has a glaze finish I love. It’s organic and uneven; you can see the terra cotta clay showing through in areas. Painting the mug, mentally caressing it, ‘feeling’ the undulations was similar to painting one of my figures.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I am a full time artist. Over the years I have supplemented my art income with various project-based jobs.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I’ve always considered myself an artist but as an adult wasn’t comfortable saying it to others until my first solo exhibition.

4. What are your influences?

19th century academic artists, Pre-Raphaelites, artists of the Renaissance period, various fantasy artists, books, music, travel, being out in nature – in particular I get inspired by rainy, grey, stormy weather, and large rocks.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My studio is in our garage, approximately 250 sq ft. I prefer natural light and have a diffused skylight, but I also have various spot and fluorescent lights that allow me to paint at night or control the light as needed.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I try to get into the studio early, I feel I’m most productive in the mornings and daytime, but I’ll paint anytime really. I typically paint for about 5 hours, and will also work in my office on my computer figuring out compositions and doing Photoshop manipulation. I listen to a combination of NPR, music, and audio books. What I listen to is pretty important, if there is a certain mood I’m trying to convey or that I want to be in while I’m working I’ll make sure I listen to the appropriate music or audio books. I almost never work in silence; my mind wanders too much to things not pertaining to art if I do.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I primarily work in oils. I’m usually working on more than one painting at a time and also smaller studies in preparation for future paintings. Because of this I make extensive notes on each painting to help me keep track of what I’m doing on the different paintings.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Reference photo shoot

For my figure paintings I work from photo references I’ve taken. I’m not interested in copying the photo and will do a bit of Photoshop manipulation to them before moving on to making the studies. I often paint from a black and white image because I’m more interested in values than the color information in the photos. For about 10 years now I’ve been using a computer monitor for my references instead of printing the image. This allows me to zoom in or out as needed as well as enables me to manipulate an image while I’m painting. I like to think I’m saving a few trees in the process.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

Spend time with my husband, who is also an artist. Physical fitness and health is important to me in general and painting can be fairly physical at times so I try to keep myself strong. Recently I’ve begun swimming laps, and getting in the water a few times a week also helps ease my homesickness a little (I’m from Hawai’i). I love watching movies and discussing them, reading, cooking, having a glass of wine with friends, spending time in the yard. My husband and I travel quite a bit, usually turning each trip into a painting adventure!

"Caffè", 2015, oil on panel, 9 3/8 x 7"

“Caffè”, 2015, oil on panel, 9 3/8 x 7″

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Laura Hamje”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #17: Laura Hamje

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

Still life has never interested me as subject matter. To me, painting pictures of objects sounds like the most boring thing in the world. I wanted to use the white cup idea to change the way I think about still life. I liked that we all have a white cup in our everyday lives. I became interested in the space in which the white cup lives and what we are really thinking when we reach into the cupboard to grab one.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I am not a full time artist, I work as an accountant for a creative firm in town called Creature. Being a bookkeeper has allowed me to work in many different types of industries from oceanography to real estate to arts organizations. And that’s about as exciting as I can make number crunching sound.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

At some point in high school, I found myself more excited about doodling and trying to sell paintings of cars instead of doing my school work.

4. What are your influences?

Teachers have been big influences in my life. I think about their excitement and encouragement about a career in the arts, despite the lack of practicality. Their stories and ideas about art are still very much guiding me.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My studio is small. It is the downstairs of my living space which is a lofted carriage house. Natural or unnatural light, depending on the time of day…I prefer a mix when I can get it.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I typically listen to music or watch tv while I’m painting. My cat harasses me the majority of the time and I usually have a drink nearby.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Oil paint is my medium. I tend to focus on one painting at a time but may have several started at once.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I use palette knives and brushes. When things get really heated, I use my hands and fingernails.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I like to drink with friends or go on walks. Once in a blue moon (these days) I might sit down at the piano.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): David Campbell”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #16: David Campbell

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

When I paint, it is essential for the initial inspiration to derive from a visual excitement, followed by the development of the concept or narrative, if at all. If the perceptual jolt isn’t there, then I am wasting my time. Considering that, there was a good deal of false starts during the outset of this “white cup” theme. Creating and then finding a stage that had all the necessary cues that could jump-start some sort of visceral response was surprisingly difficult.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I am not a full time artist even though I consider myself fortunate to have as much time as I do to paint. I teach at the College of William & Mary, which in turn feeds me when I return to the studio. I don’t think I would ever want to stop teaching.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I consider myself more of a painter than an artist, which I understand can sound like a false sense of humility; but it feels weird giving myself that title. I always knew I wanted to be a painter since I began art school in the 90s, even though I felt less like a painter back then. I think it takes time to recognize what painting is and how it should function….. as it should.

4. What are your influences?

My influences include: my sight, other painters, film, music, dreams, nature, and spirituality.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My studio is approximately 13×17’. It has north lighting, although it’s a bit dark. I’d like to put a skylight in some day.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I try to paint for about 4-5 hours at a time per day. Which a lot of times end up feeling like daily “sprints” compared to monthly “marathons”, if that makes sense. Music is essential while I work. It’s just distracting enough to help me not be too conscious of what I’m doing.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I work in oil on either shellacked museum board or oil primed linen. I primarily use the palette knife, but am working my way back to the brush. I’m actually pretty temperamental and bounce around from one idea or project to the next. After working all over the place for a bit, a group of paintings or concerns end up rising to the top and I become pretty myopic.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

At times I’ll use a 24” wallpaper scraper if I feel that the painting needs to be scraped down, unified or roughed up a bit.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I spend a lot of time listening to music, maybe too much time. I’m always trying to find the soundtrack to my life.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Anne Petty”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #15: Anne Petty

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

My first instinct was to stick a figure into the paintings, as that is my usual subject matter, however I don’t often paint still life’s, so I thought I’d take this as an opportunity to do so. The cup I used is ceramic and reflective. I wanted to use that quality and set the cup next to images I like—one being a postcard of a Picasso painting and another a book with a painting by de Kooning on the cover. It was an excuse to revisit other people’s paintings I admire.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

In addition to my studio work, I work part time teaching painting and drawing at Gage Academy in Seattle and nanny during the afternoons during the week. I like the balance each job offers.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I’ve been making art of some kind since I was young, but it wasn’t until I completed all of my schooling that I felt comfortable introducing myself as an artist.

4. What are your influences?

While I find inspiration all over, my biggest influences are people—their gestures, form, idiosyncrasies, and psychology are all incredibly interesting to me. People watching is one of my favorite activities. Like most artists, I also look at and am influenced by others people’s paintings. Artists such as Lucian Freud, Goya, de Kooning, Paula Rego, Ann Gale, and Kyle Staver are some of my particular favorites, although the list is long. I also look to film and photography, in particular directors and photographers like Hitchcock, Garry Winogrand, and Cindy Sherman.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My studio is about 110 sq. feet. I just moved studios this past week and am still settling into the new space and getting organized. I do have natural lighting, but also lights with both warm and cool bulbs to get a nice temperature balance and for consistency. Having lighting I can control is essential.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I tend to do the bulk of my painting in the morning and early afternoon. When I first arrive I will assess where I’m at in a painting through writing, drawing or just looking. I think better with silence, so I’ll hold off on music or podcasts until I get into a painting groove. When I first start working, it’s also the time where I will take care of any research needs for the day (look through images I’ve taken, find interesting film stills or images online, study other artists’ paintings, etc.). After that, the rest of my time is ideally spent painting, often while listening to music or a podcast.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I do most of my work in oils, but I also watercolor and draw. I feel best when I have several paintings going at once, usually all examining a similar idea or concept. I find it helps to take some of the pressure away from an individual piece and as a result I am better at taking risks.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I’m fairly straight forward with my materials, so no, nothing out of the ordinary.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I like to spend time biking, traveling, and trying new food with my husband, Sean (ideally all combined into one event). I also am an avid reader and always carry a book with me.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Dean Fisher”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #14: Dean Fisher

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

Actually, the theme for this show is right up my alley and I’m very pleased that I was invited to participate in this exhibition.

Over the years a subject which I have often returned to are white cups hanging in a cabinet or arrangements of white cups along with other objects.

I’m very attracted to the challenge of painting whites objects via direct observation, trying to find the many subtle colors and tones which occur as well as the very reserved palette which can evoke and suggest so much. This is perhaps a reaction to the fact that so much imagery today is very “in your face” and brash, it’s very appealing to try to create a compelling image with means which are exactly the opposite to the devices which are used as contemporary attention grabbers.

A major influence for me is the work of Giorgio Morandi who is such a master at squeezing so much poetry and interest from reserved means such as these.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I consider myself a full time artist although I work part time as a figure and landscape painting instructor at Silvermine Art Center and privately from my studio in Connecticut. Making and thinking about art is the main focus during the majority of my waking hours.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I first considered myself as an artist when I realized that nothing would give me the satisfaction and sense of fulfillment as putting my feelings and perceptions of the the things I like into paint or graphite, this was at the age of 18 or so.

4. What are your influences?

Big list! All aspects of Nature, Uccello, Piero, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Vermeer, Degas, Vuillard, Morandi, Uglow, Gwen John, William Nicholson, Lucien Freud, Patrick George, Antonio Lopez Garcia, Justin Mortimer, Stuart Shils, Alex Kanevsky, Diarmuid Kelley, Anne Gale, This is just a few from a very big list.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My wife and I converted a large barn and carriage house into our home and studios. We designed it to be about 1/3 living space and 2/3 studio space, so we each have separate, spacious studios. Each studio has skylights so there’s plenty of natural light and for working at night I’ve installed 2 fixtures of full spectrum lights in each of the studios.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I love to work one on one with a model during a 4-5 hour session. When that isn’t possible, I paint still lives from the dozens of objects which I have in my studio. I also like to wander out in our garden and paint whatever catches my eye. If I spend the majority of the day working in the studio, I love to end the day by going out and painting an evening landscape, this is always very liberating.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I almost exclusively work with oil on panel or linen. I never set out to paint a series of work based on a theme. I always try to focus on those subjects which interest me the most at the time and almost always have 6-8 paintings under development at once. It naturally occurs that the paintings are related in some way and each painting ends up serving to problem solve and unlock ideas which aid the other paintings which are underway. This cycle works well for me because once I achieve momentum, I can generate a lot of focus which in turn gives the work more clarity. I often have music on via NPR which is mostly classical..or I’ll choose music of various types from Youtube and binge on a particular artist all day long. Sometimes I prefer to work in silence though.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

No, nothing really unique. Brushes (mostly bristle filberts), an assortment of palette knifes. The potential for what can achieved with these basic tools is endless and I feel there’s so much more to learn.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

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I love to design and build things, furniture, accessories for our home, entire additions on the home. My wife and I watch a lot of films and TV dramas..mostly foreign via Netflix, there are so many beautifully crafted lesser known films out there! I love to play tennis, bicycle ride, kayak and travel. I also love to read but struggle to find enough time to do so as much as I would like to.

"Suspended Still Life", 2015, oil on panel, 16 x 34"

“Suspended Still Life”, 2015, oil on panel, 16 x 34″