Over the past two years I have been collaborating on the 365 Artists 365 Days Project with Zina Mussman and Rachel Quirk of Greymatter Gallery. What started as a one year project rapidly grew into two years in which we featured daily an artist from across the globe. To conclude this project we decided to share with you our work as artists.
Here is a part of my interview. To read the full interview click here.
The paintings I create are visual recordings of how I see the world around me. My paintings are driven by a collection of certain things I feel can influence my work. In my studio I reduce those visuals into paintings with a minimalistic approach. Through this process I am able to bring what is important to the surface so that the viewer can interpret his/her own meaning.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
I am a Wisconsin artist, photographer, gallery owner, art educator, advocate, and community leader living and teaching in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. In 2005, I committed my life to expose, educate and engage others on the importance of experiencing and supporting the Visual Arts. Organizing local and regional art exhibitions, community art events, facilitating presentations, and supporting artists through professional development workshops, use of social media and networking has placed me in the forefront of advancing and promoting local artists and attracting regional and national artists to interact, collaborate, network and exhibit in the Sheboygan community.
Engaging in various aspects of the art world has provided me ways to see my art through multiple lenses. When I create a painting what is the intent? Is it to deliver a certain message? Is it a way for me to work out what is happening inside my head? Is it more for my own personal growth? It is my way to distract myself from reality? I believe it is a combination of all. Being exposed to a variety of studio practices and processes provide me the opportunity to reflection on my own practice and try to make sense of what I am doing inside the studio.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
When I go to my studio I turn on the turntable, put on some jazz, open the laptop, get my cameras ready, do some organizing, throw a canvas on the wall, do some social media, grab a brush with paint, begin doing an underpainting consisting of random markings, put the brush down, check Instagram, go back to painting, take a few shots with my iPhone, edit, post on social media, continue to organize my studio, go back to painting. Repeat.
You might get the impression that I am a bit A.D.D. Never been diagnosed, but I would say that I am. My practice is driven by what I am thinking at that particular moment. My time in the studio can range from a couple of hours to a full day. Regardless of the outcome I always leave my studio with an idea of where I would like to continue next time I go back. On a brighter note I have decided to take time off from running my gallery to spending more time in the studio. I once wrote, “painting is the only thing that makes me feel alive”. It is easy to forget this when your professional life is being stretched in multiple directions by your own doing.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
A few years ago I bought a book called, “The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love “ by Jackie Battenfield. I came across an activity where she encourages artists to write their own obituary. It was through this activity that I started to think about what type of legacy I would like to leave behind when I leave this earth. I knew that I wanted to commit my life to the only thing that has been a constant factor in my life and that was ‘art’.
For the past decade, I have committed to advocate for the Visual Arts in Wisconsin and to support artists. About three years ago, my practice as a painter has slowly merged into the art of building art community, which has opened many doors to projects, opportunities, and programs. This has been such a great ride in bringing the local visual arts into the forefront in my community as well as to continue to nurture the visual arts throughout Wisconsin.