Slip Off. 2005
"Many intelligent people have accepted the false idea that accuracy in representing visual facts is a sign of progress in art. Such imitation of superficial effects has nothing to do with art, which is and always has been the making of mental concepts. Even the scientist is interested in effects only as a phenomena from which to deduce order in life." ... "'Looks like' is not the test of a good painting. It indicates merely visual similarity and shows that the artist has not put his brain to work. " *
Discuss this statements relevance to your own artistic philosophy
I've always felt grateful for not being "blessed" with the talent of being able to realistically render objects. With enough practice, I'm sure I could get there, but I've never had the desire. Rather, this lack of "talent", has made it necessary for me to rely on my own wit to produce work that I hope comes across as meaningful, creative, and beautiful in its own right, not merely a "copy" of what already is.
Have you always been an artist, as a youth were you drawn to the act of creation?
Very much so, but not in any traditional fine art sense. I learned to cook, sew, and do woodwork from my grandparents at a young age and have continued creating things ever since.
What are your earliest memories of art?
Visiting my grandfather's woodshop in New Hampshire and being surrounded by wood, paint, tools, and beautiful scenery. At the beginning of each visit, I would come up with an idea for what I wanted to make and he would go about helping me create it.
What have been some positive influences in your development as an artist?
I had a sculpture professor at SUNY New paltz, Pamela Wallace, whose views of art and objects and materials enter into my own art making constantly. A benefit of gardening for a living is the quiet calm energy of physical outdoor work. I have become more perceptive and tuned in to a bigger picture, in both art and life.
Do you have a favorite artist, or school of art?
I love Ann Hamilton, Maya Lin, Bruce Nauman, Andy Goldsworthy, Agnes Martin, Pamela Wallace, Stephen Spaccarelli, Jockum Nordstrom....I could go on. It depends on my mood and what I'm interested in at a given point.
Did you receive a formal education in arts, if not how did you learn to use the materials and mediums that you choose?
Yes, I received a BFA in Printmaking from SUNY New Paltz and hope to earn an MFA in sculpture in the future.
What is your opinion of arts education? Is an artist born or made - or both?
Some born, some made, some are both. My experience with arts education was almost purely positive, and vastly deepened my understanding of what art has the potential to be. But I also felt a great relief after finishing school and just being able to make things without knowing why exactly. Letting the "why" come later. In school, I felt very self-conscious about working on something without first knowing why I was making it and what concept it would convey in the end.
What do you feel most influences your current attitude/style in painting/media.
i.e. Do you find reference and inspiration from pop culture, philosophy, the human body, wonderful vistas etc.
Nature, natural forms, the solace of wide open spaces, human relationships with nature, a search for the perfect balance of isolation and socialization. Spending three seasons of the year working outside, then moving into the introvertedness of winter. The constant pull towards movement, adventure, and discovery. Trying to fully embrace the full spectrum of human emotion.
Has your passion for art detracted from your success in other areas (i.e. have you had to "suffer" to do what you love)
It's hard to know what life would be like as someone/something else. Yes, I suffer, as do all living beings, but my passion for art has brought more joy to my life than suffering so far.
If someone asks you "what do you do", how do you respond?
I work as a gardener and an artist. More specifically, I specialize in residential ornamental horticulture and I am a sculptor.
What are you currently working on, how is it different from past works.? (08/09)
A series of backlit papier mache drawings of abstract tree forms on a stark background.
This is a continuation of a series of a body of work I started in 2007. I'm working a bit smaller than the prairie landscapes of the past.
Do you feel you evolve as an artist?
Mostly when I have a good chunk of time, like a few months, to direct most of my energy towards art making. That's when I actually feel as if the work is evolving. I am able to experiment with new ideas and techniques more freely when I know I have a large expanse of time to focus mainly on art. If I'm just making work in the evenings or the occasional weekend, I'll tend to stick with formulas that I already know work for me, using this time to build up a body of work.
Describe a day in the life of you, the artist:
Depends on the season. In the spring/summer/fall, most of my time is spent doing the outdoor physical work of a gardener for clients. Come winter, I like to slow down and spend more time in my studio. Wake up, drink coffee, start working, hopefully it's Wednesday and the classic country show is on WKZE. I love working in the morning. Usually by 3 pm, I'm done with art making and turn my attention to cooking, movie-watching, reading, and socializing.
How important is the company of other artists and creative individuals to your well being and creative output.
Extremely important, especially as a young relatively unknown arttist. Being around other artists facing the same struggles, being able to encourage and support each others creative endeavors, and having a community to discuss art with is essential.
Do you dislike/disdain the works of other artists?
Sure. I probably dislike way more work than I like. Or rather, I am indifferent about the majority of work I see. Pickiness pervades all areas of my life.
Do you display your works? If so, where have you displayed.
Most recently, in fall of 2008, at The Artist's Palate, a restaurant in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Do you have any words of wisdom for artists trying to "break out" and begin to learn the business of art.
Try to stay connected with peers and professors from school. Attend art events when you can. Talk about your art with whoever will listen. Keep making things even when you get discouraged.
I'm actually terrible at all of these things, but I know they are what I need to be doing more of.
Do you find that the practical aspects of selling,promoting and marketing yourself as an artist detracts from your creative process.
Not really. It does keep me busy though.
What is the goal of art!
To think and see in different and meaningful new ways.
What are your goals as an artist?
To tap into a world of beauty that feels timeless and true.
To tap into the world of emotions through visual expression.
We are more than what we make, what other activities do you enjoy?
Reading fiction, a very yin activity, is hands down my favorite activity but can get boring if not mixed in with more yang activities like skiing, hiking, dancing, socializing. Gardening, cooking, listening to music are all quite, reflective activities I enjoy and then there is the occasional wild night on the town.
What do you do to get over the visual equivalent of "writers block ?"
Start making something repetitive, like braiding fabric or drawing squares, just to get my hands moving. Sort of like a meditation, it allows space to open up for new ideas.
In 20 years, what are your aspirations, what would you like to achieve ?
I'd like to feel settled into a geographical location I am inspired by. I want the time and financial freedom to make artwork that people want to own. Small house, big studio, live lightly on the land, do creative work daily. Be represented by a respected gallery.
Have you done any commercial, public or commissioned work ?
I've had one private commission for a drawing.
If so, how do you feel about your vision being directed by third parties ?
Feels a bit too much like "work."
Do you have any opportunities to offer other artists
(collaborations, gallery space, friendship etc.) ?
Friendship aplenty, and garden design services for trade.
Favorite writer, favorite song, favorite inspiration ?
Gretel Ehrlich, Only Love Can Break Your Heart-Neil Young, the open road.
What is the most beautiful thing in the world?
What is beauty?
Your senses falling in love.
How has the internet changed your promotional activities. ?
I am in the process of getting a website together, which is the only internet promo I have done thus far. Sometimes I post photos of openings on Flickr.
Do you have any favorite resources you would like to share?
I often look for artist opportunities on the NYFA website.
Where can one view your work online?
Tell the truth, do artists make better lovers?
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