With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios along with images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.
“Dale Lindman & Robert Maki” opens April 4, 2015 and runs through May 2, 2015.
Artist Interview #5: Robert Maki
1. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?
I have been a full time artist for 45 years, however I worked at several jobs before receiving my first commission. Following graduate school I taught for two years at the UW; received an NEA fellowship in 1968; worked in a plastics shop; built harpsichords; sold some artwork and exhibited in museum and gallery shows. My first major commission project was 1971-73 at Sea-Tac Airport, followed by a combination of activities such as a Rockefeller Residency in North Carolina; invitations for residencies at universities; site projects; GSA sculpture award; Senior NEA Fellowship for works on paper; gallery sales, grants, public and private commissions. As well my wife has worked throughout the years.
2. When did you consider yourself an artist?
When my gallery put my name in print with established gallery artists in the 60’s shortly after completing undergraduate school at Western Washington University.
3. What are your influences?
The first ten years of my life on the road with my father, hopping freight trains, living in multiple towns up and down the Columbia River between 1938-48 is the strongest influence in my life and work, coupled with five women in my immediate family who are strong, motivated and tireless in their efforts to care for family and the greater whole. In my youth, mechanical drawing, a 1950’s Life magazine article on Pollack’s dripping paint and Albers’ Homage to a Square, WWII environment and exposure to American and European masters including artist such a Winslow Homer and Casper Friedrich in Jr High Humanities class. Simultaneously a sculpture of a warped contour made from plastic string by the Constructivist artist Pevsner or Gabo, which lodged in my brain, surfacing years later, to become a critical theme in my wall constructions and drawings in the nature of ambiguous non-coplanar surfaces and voids articulating contour as idea.
4. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?
My studios have always been large to accommodate sculpture fabrication, equipment storage, exhibition area and drawing space. In my drawing space is a large work table located for direct southern exposure and use of daylight via large rollup doors facing south and west, and large windows. I also use well balanced shop fluorescents and spots. Working outside in natural light and shadow has always been integral to my work so large roll up doors offer access to outdoor work areas.
5. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?
A typical day involves writing, working in the sketchbook, coffee at a small store on the beach and maintaining my three acre sculpture garden. Drawing time is usually combined with staging work and sculpture fabrication. I don’t listen to music, but instead prefer ambient sounds of my surrounding environment, process, equipment, birds, dog barks, neighbor cows mooing, coyotes yipping or howling, eagles calling, Lake Union Air flying overhead.
6. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
My works on paper are usually on vellum using graphite, dry pigments and acrylics, freehand fashion. Application techniques and process both messy and/or precise are intuitive, fluid, accidental and unexpected with intention.
7. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?
I work in a series. Once a piece is complete I don’t make changes or adjustments. I like an oblique approach, looking to understand something, discover what that something is and allowing for organic evolution. I basically learn later what I have done. Two pleasures: the process and the residue and a diary that marks time.
8. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?
Outside of the studio I head to the beach or wilderness with my dog Jasper. I plant trees and care for my property and outdoor sculpture garden. I’m also VP of nonprofit Wild Love Preserve, who’s mission is protect and preserve our iconic native wild horses in a collaborative and sustainable manner, so I travel regularly to the wilds of Central Idaho with my daughter and our dogs to work on and off the range with Idaho’s majestic wild horses. This work is life fulfilling in so many ways and perfectly compliments my studio activities.