I couldn’t spend a month featuring ART without speaking of my collection, though answering my own questions is a little meta. This is my favorite piece and a little about it.
Describe this piece and its biographical details- name of piece, name of artist, when and where was it created? ‘Untitled 2314c’ is a photograph by Todd Hido, circa 2002. The artist takes his photographs in the nooks & crannies of North America, though I have no specific intel as to where this particular photograph was taken. If I had to guess, I’d say somewhere in the Middle…
Where was it living before you bought it? This piece came from his New York City exhibit Roaming at the Paul Morris Gallery.
How did it come into your life? A few months before the exhibit, I saw a blurb announcing it in Vanity Fair- the photo accompanying was captivating, so I made a point to see the show when it opened. His entire collection was available to order, making the decision process incredibly difficult. But this piece really spoke to me. It still does.
What makes it special to you? There are so many things I love about this piece. For one, it was my first major art purchase, which at 22, gave me the confidence to believe in my aesthetic choices. As to the work itself, I am drawn to art that is a little bit lonely, creepy, suggestive, evocative, smutty… I see it all in this piece, as well as the simplicity of the scene juxtaposed with the depth of possible interpretation.
Where does it live in your house/office? It’s always the first piece I hang in my living room, as you can see in the photo below.
How would you describe your art? My sculptures are about exploring gesture through the interaction of form and balance. They consist of intersecting parts that stand or suspend together in equilibrium. No part is extraneous. I try to reveal the fine line between weight and weightlessness, motion and stillness. I’m trying to capture the moment between breathing in and breathing out, between being grounded and taking flight – the pure potential of movement that has not quite commenced.
Who or what influences you/your work? Where do you draw your inspiration? The forms in my sculptures come from the world around me — the contour of a hill, the movement of a stalk of grass in the wind, the mark left by a tire in the mud, the curve of someone’s neck as it meets the shoulder. Sometimes something I experienced during the day comes back to me at night, as I’m about to drift off to sleep. I’ve learned to always be looking, to be open in general, to what’s around me. Being trained to look and notice is one of the greatest aspects of doing this professionally.
Describe the process of creating your art? How do you begin? How long does it typically take to complete a piece? How do you know when something is done? I begin each sculpture with a form or a movement that I notice, in an instant, in the world around me. This moment of recognition is the most essential part of my process; it relies on intuition, when emotion and intellect are in balance. Then begins a long series of iterations on paper. This period is where I spend most of my time on a sculpture… it takes days, sometimes all at once, sometimes over the course of years. Once the drawing looks right, I know the finished work will balance — that’s inseparable for me from how it looks. Then, the actual fabrication of the sculpture is like the visible part of an iceberg — it takes time, but usually nothing compared to what I spent honing the form.
Which of your pieces are you exceptionally happy with/proud of? Why? My earliest works, from when I was in high school, and even grade school… I made these structures before I ever would have used the word “sculpture.” But they’re direct precursors of what I’m doing now, and I remember the joy I had creating them. I try to keep that joy in mind… if I ever get too far removed from that now, as I do this for a living, I know I’m on the wrong track.
What are your goals for this year? The next 5 years? I was extremely lucky to meet about five years’ worth of goals last year, and I haven’t really caught up, or focused yet on what’s next, except that I want to carve out some time, maybe on a nice beach or on a desert somewhere, to sit with a sketchbook and just sketch. Technically, I also want to stay at the leading edge of new materials. My sculptures are more and more demanding, structurally, as they get larger and more delicate. In the last five years I’ve incorporated steel and carbon fiber composite into my stable of materials, and in the next five, I’m sure there’ll be others.
What is your favorite part of being an artist? Least favorite? I love knowing that I have to be open to the world around me in order to be good at what I do. I also love that my job is physical — my hands are calloused, cut up and often full of splinters, but my body feels good and well-used at the end of a day. That said, I’m not in my 20s anymore. My body can’t take the amount of punishing work that it used to. I need massage and soaks in hot water. So the physicality of what I do cuts both ways.
Fill in the blank: I wouldn’t be caught dead putting more than one piece of my own work upon my walls. I like to look at a recent piece of mine, and sometimes an older form that I’m considering revisiting. But otherwise, I need space from my work.
Which contemporary artists to you admire? I’m particularly taken with contemporary dance choreographers right now. Justin Peck in NYC, Garrett Ammon of Wonderbound in Denver. I see dance as a sculpture in four dimensions.
What are some of your other interests/hobbies? Other interests? I live and dream sculpture! Ok, that’s only partly true. I love working with my hands in general, be it digging in the garden or cooking dinner. I love to travel. To be outdoors.
Describe this piece and its biographical details- name of piece, name of artist, when and where was it created? The piece is by the artist, Keith Haring. It is part of the graphic series called the Growing Suite. The series was screen print on woven paper and consisted of a run of 100 prints and an additional 15 artist Proofs. The piece that I own is an unique (one of a kind) trial proof (TP). It is signed and dated in pencil with the plus sign in the circle (indicating Haring was AIDS positive at the time) and numbered 19/40 T.P.
Where was it living before you bought it? It was released from the Haring estate and had lived only in the Martin Lawrence Gallery before I bought it.
How did it come into your life? I had just moved to Nederland, CO. from outside of Chicago. I was visiting galleries in Denver and walked into the Martin Lawrence Gallery. When I saw the print on the wall, it just simply resonated with me. Leaving the Chicago area for Nederland was a bit of a culture shock for me. The Haring was vibrant, gutsy and urban. It was like comfort food for my eyes.
What makes it special to you? The idea that it is truly one of a kind, also makes this piece special to me. The trial proof is outside of the run of 100 prints as well as the artist proofs. The final run of 100 has a red circle in the center of the frenetic graphics of the piece. My T.P. 19/40 has that same circle in white.
Where does it live in your house/office? The print now lives in my living room on a wall to itself.
How would you describe your art? My paintings explore the power of color, design, mark-making, and non-objective imagery to communicate at an intuitive level.
Who or what influences you/your work? Where do you draw your inspiration? My work is intuitive, fed by my perception of and reaction to people, places, and events around me. I observe and absorb, then look within to create a visual response. The work is at times contemplative, at times animated, but it’s always a reflection of my view of what is, and what has come before.
Describe the process of creating your art? How do you begin? How long does it typically take to complete a piece? How do you know when something is done? I begin each piece with a very loose, unstructured underpainting of three to five colors. The underpainting will generally include some kind of dark structure to help create a “framework” to hang the rest of the painting on. In most cases, the overwhelming majority of the underpainting will be covered up by the time the piece is finished, but the underlying color and structure continue to “inform” the painting.
Once the underpainting is largely dry, I begin the next phase. I tend to mix colors on my palette (a 2’ x 6’ piece of colorless glass) in advance, so that as I work I can “just paint.” I paint intuitively and spontaneously, reacting to what I see on the canvas. I work primarily with knives and color shapers, although brushes play an important role in the underpainting process. I waste a lot of paint, and I work pretty quickly during this part of the process. The time required to get through this phase depends on a lot of factors, but generally, the pieces will be 90% finished within just a couple of sessions.
It is the third phase that really takes the time. This is where I examine and tweak and look for opportunities to simplify, enhance, and bring out the power and depth of the painting. Anyone who might try to watch me through this part of my process would probably be bored to tears. I might look at the painting for 30 minutes before making a single mark….and then go back to looking again.
Which of your pieces are you exceptionally happy with/proud of? Why? My “favorite” pieces tend to change over time, and my reasons for choosing them change also. Right now one of my favorites is “Carry On,” (pictured above) a piece I created in early 2014. I enjoy the energy and complexity of the mark-making, and the intensity of the gold and blue palette.
What are your goals for this year? The next 5 years? My creative goals for this year are the same as every year: to reach for a level of expression that is beyond what I have previously accomplished, and to create profoundly beautiful paintings. From a business perspective, I want to establish successful and enjoyable relationships with galleries in new areas of the country.
What is your favorite part of being an artist? Least favorite? I think I can honestly say I love everything about what I do. There are some activities (like framing) that I don’t enjoy as much as painting, but it’s all part of the package, and I can’t think of anything else I would rather do. Some days are certainly more challenging than others, but there is no better feeling than overcoming a block or successfully completing a difficult painting. It is also extremely gratifying to see the work create an emotional connection with a viewer. I am truly grateful to be able to work at what I love.
Fill in the blank: I wouldn’t be caught dead putting ____ on my walls? Anything I don’t love. I have very eclectic taste…..I own very traditional work and some pretty challenging contemporary work. It is all tied together by the fact that I love all of it….it speaks to me.
Which contemporary artists to you admire? I am a huge fan of Joan Mitchell’s work, as well as Richard Diebenkorn’s. I could go on, but that’s a good start.
What are some of your other interests/hobbies? I live in the mountains because I enjoy being surrounded by the changing natural environment. I try to get out and enjoy it whenever I can. As a part of that, I enjoy fly fishing in both fresh and salt water, and have been an alpine skier since the age of 8. I am also a complete sucker for big, fluffy dogs.
In a fantasy world where ALL of the world’s art was available and price was no issue, what piece would you like to own? This one’s easy…..”George Went Swimming at Barnes Hole, but It Got Too Cold”……a stunningly beautiful painting by Joan Mitchell.
Images via Karen Scharer.
How would you describe your art? My abstract paintings are mainly about color. I rarely use paint straight out of the tube. I mix lots of subtle colors in green for example, like medium yellow, yellow bronze, brown umber, and white to get a bright but earthy green. I love putting colors next to each other on a canvas that feel unique and sophisticated; bright Moroccan blue with shades of yellow, or midnight blue with pink magenta.
Who or what influences you/your work? Where do you draw your inspiration? Textiles and patterns from Indonesia, Morocco, and India inspire me. Being outdoors and witnessing the landscape also play a part in my work – the grasses, hills, trails. And because one can feel the energy from artwork done by abstract expressionists, Joan Mitchell, Phillip Guston, and Mark Rothko are also inspiring to me.
Describe the process of creating your art? How do you begin? How long does it typically take to complete a piece? How do you know when something is done? It’s hard to look at a blank white canvas and know where to begin. I start by watering down some paint and brushing it freely and haphazardly on a canvas. Then I spray it with a squirt bottle and let the colors run together. The next day after it’s dry, even though most of this watered down paint gets covered up by new paint, I have a place to start and maybe a composition with which to work. Paintings can take weeks because I work on several at a time. Or if a painting isn’t working, I leave it alone for a few days and come back to it. A painting is done when the composition feels worthy, the colors are working for me, and intuitively it feels done. But it’s truly done when a viewer sees it, responds, and brings a new/different meaning to the work.
Which of your pieces are you exceptionally happy with/proud of? Why? I’m proud of my flower pieces because people respond so positively to them. I’m also proud of my abstracts because I know the amount of work and courage that goes into them. They are completely coming from my imagination and feel daring because not everyone wants an intense pink, red, orange and gold painting hanging in their living room.
What are your goals for this year? The next 5 years? My goal for this year is to keep doing what I’m doing. I’ve figured out how to be disciplined and get in my studio at the same time every day to work. My work would translate well into fabric so in the next 5 years, I would like to be designing textiles.
What is your favorite part of being an artist? Least favorite? My favorite part of being an artist is having a tangible place to put my feelings. Sometimes life is unbelievably beautiful or tragic, sometimes it is mundane. When I feel any emotion, I can try to express it. My least favorite part of being an artist is not having a 401k, good health insurance, or a regular paycheck.
Fill in the blank: I wouldn’t be caught dead putting ___ on my walls? I wouldn’t be caught dead putting a George W. Bush painting on my wall. Actually I would, he’s done some really cute dog paintings in his retirement from president. So I guess I wouldn’t put anything on my walls that looks like safe, mass-produced hotel art.
What contemporary artists do you admire? Julie Maren, Sally King, Jerry Wingren, and Ana Maria Hernando. They are my favorite Boulder artists.
What are some of your other interests/hobbies? Snorkeling, cross country skiing, dogs, word games, drinking wine and yoga.
In a fantasy world where ALL of the world’s art was available and price was no issue, what piece would you like to own? Nate Lowman’s piece ‘humble, all too humble’. It’s a bunch of smiley faces mocking the notion of a constant happy mood and making reference to the free spirit of skaters and surfers.