All Hail Tequila, 2012, oil on wood, 16 x 20"
What are you working on in your studio right now?
Right now, I'm working on a slightly new body of paintings, both oil and acrylic, on medium-sized canvas and wood. The new work has become a lot more psychotic, psychedelic, and a combination of dream-like and nightmarish than it used to be. Words have very recently made their way into the paintings, as of the most recent two. I've also just started experimenting with iridescent and metallic paints. Gold and silver do amazing things with light and give a lot of dimension to the scenes I create.
Can you describe your working routine?
I use my studio as both a place to paint and an exhibition space to show other artists. Which is a lot more work than I thought it would be. I unfortunately only paint during "open hours," two nights a week, and sometimes on Mondays, my day off from work. Luckily, I work at Pierogi in Williamsburg, so I'm around amazing art and artists there anytime that I'm not making work and doing "normal" things that people have to do day to day.
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
My studio is in Bushwick, which is amazing because I'm surrounded by artists and galleries. I paint and keep all of my work and supplies in about 80 square feet. Between working full-time, doing studio visits, and trying to see other shows, my life feels a little hectic at times. I think the craziness and thus anxiety makes its way into the paintings too.
BitchRide, 2012, Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24"
I paint from photographs, usually of a group of people at a party or some kind of celebration. They're always of very sporadic and candid moments. I'll usually draw from the photograph first, and then make the painting from the drawing. The first moments on the canvas are always the most terrifying for me. I'll sometimes paint an irrelevant landscape, or use a palette inspired by some image in my studio to start. Once the canvas is covered with paint, I'll start painting from the drawing. A lot of things in the original photograph make it into the painting, proportions are often accurate, but during the process of painting many objects/figures grow and become attached to one another.
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
I often find it hard to know when a painting is done. It's something I always ask other artists, and I feel like there should be some answer, but in reality there probably is not. Once I stop working on something for about a week, I usually can't bring myself to touch it again. I also am battling with scale. The paintings are slowly getting larger, because I'd like to eventually paint large, but have tried and failed many times. Working from 4x6" photographs makes me feel like the paintings have to stay small and intimate, but I don't want to limit myself to that constraint.
I prefer to work with paint on wood or canvas, though there are a million things I would like to try to do. I get too nervous about jumping into a completely unknown terrain, so I normally take baby steps. I hated acrylic until I received a ton of free acrylic paint, and decided to try it, so that's a start. I'd love to try working with ceramics. Allison Schulnik, who's by far my most admired painter, makes these beautiful fired ceramics and they really made me want to experiment with the 3-dimensional world.
One side of WEEKNIGHTS during the current exhibition,
WHY SO SERIOUS? Exhibiting the work of 30 artists
What does the future hold for this work?
I hope to make a lot more of this kind of work, enough to have a solo show, within the next few months. There's currently 5 pieces, and I need more than that. A friend of mind kindly asked me to put some work up at Mama Joy's, a new soul-food-esque restaurant and really cool bar in Bushwick, and that will be the first time they are exhibited together, which I'm excited about.
I really appreciate the opportunity to share my artistic experience on Studio Critical! Also, in the months of running the exhibition space in my studio, called WEEKNIGHTS, I've made some amazing friendships and have had SO much fun at the openings. I don't even have words to describe how grateful and appreciative I am of the support that I've received. Any other artists out there are welcome to submit work, and of course to view exhibitions. Information can be found here.
Adolescence, 2012, oil on canvas, 18 x 30 inches