IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact: Sandow Birk

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


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.







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