“Fred Birchman: Reclamation Projects”

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.

Fred Birchman & Carolyn Krieg share the gallery space May 9 – June 20, 2015

Reception for both artists, May 9th, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #6: Fred Birchman

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

Until recently I was doing graphic design full-time for msnbc/NBC news. I’d get up at 4:30 a.m. to get in a few hours in the studio each day. Now I forage for nuts and berries and head to the studio at a reasonable time after breakfast.

2. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I think it was about my third year in college that I started to make art seriously. But it wasn’t until a year or so after college that it really sunk in that this was going to be a life long thing. When I had to figure out when and how I was going to make art amongst all the day-to-day stuff and it didn’t discourage me, that’s when I knew. It seemed like that would have been a good time to bail, but I didn’t.

3. What are your influences?

I had a couple of pretty strong college profs that made a big impression. Tom Schlotterback taught me how to draw and R. Allen Jensen taught me that I had to go to the studio everyday. Of course there are all the artists like Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, William Wiley, Ed Keinholz and Llynn Foulkes that I stole from…I really dug the “Cool School” guys from L.A.!

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

It’s about 290 sq.ft. (damn, that sounds small). It was built over our garage. The ceiling is about 25 ft at the point so it makes it seems a lot bigger. Maybe I should install a trapeze? I have incandescent cans on tracks. AND a big window.

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 take up where I left off the following day. Finish up a drawing and leave it hanging to glance at while I start something else. Sometimes I’ll make adjustments or fuss a bit. After a few days if I haven’t gone back into it, I’ll take it down and consider it done. I listen to NPR mostly, but occasionally I’ll put on some jazz or Neil Young. I drink a lot of coffee while I work.

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

Drawing with whatever device strikes me at the time. I usually take up where I left off the following day. Finish up a drawing and leave it hanging to glance at while I start something else. Sometimes I’ll make adjustments or fuss a bit. After a few days if I haven’t gone back into it, I’ll take it down and consider it done.

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

Nothing special. But I do believe that you have to make yourself available to making art. Go to the studio every day. If my brain is empty, I’ll start sweeping, cleaning up arranging, whatever…and before I reaIise it I’m onto something. There’s something about being in the studio that just gets you going.

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

I enjoy cooking and my wife, Robin and I usually have folks over a couple of nights a week for dinner and wine. And we travel when we can. I don’t hang around other visual artists too much, but I have a lot of friends that are other things like builders, architects, writers, mechanics, etc. Mostly they are just great folks who inspire me and keep me curious.

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