Jib Jab, 13" x 10", Acrylic and spray paint on cut canvas, 2015
What are you working on in your studio right now?
The studio has been treating me well lately. And by that I mean it is a time of tremendous creative output. My studio walls are inhabited by a bunch of new works that are pushing my process. My newest paintings continue to explore the traditional tropes of abstract painting language while borrowing from pop cultures and personal memory.
Works in process
Can you describe your working routine?
I teach .... A lot. I work for four organizations across all boroughs of New York City and now Long Island. In any given week I can work with upwards of 150 students. So at times when I have a moment of rest the last thing I have the energy for is my artwork. However this Spring (my busiest time) every moment I can, I'm in my studio. But because I do teach often it is over breaks that I get a lot of studio work done. One staple that is consistent in my studio practice is drawing. Even when I have little time in the studio I draw out ideas for works. I carry small sketch books with me everywhere, so on the train or even for 15 minute break I can sketch. This practice helps keep me wedded to my studio. Also, when I do finally have time to really engage in the studio I go to my sketchbooks for inspiration/ideas.
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
Well in the last six months myself and two other artists (Joe Nanashe and Ronna Lebo) founded an arts space in Ridgewood, Queens. It is about a 3000 sq ft space that includes 11 private artist studios and a project / gallery space. We decided to call it Reservoir Art Space. It is three blocks from my home. So now, if I have an hour before I teach I can swing by and have my morning cup of coffee while looking at my work. There is no trip, just a short walk. Before I shared a space with my husband. Now I have a private space, this is the first time in almost 10 years that I have had a space all to my own. This I believe to be partially why I am having a time of such creative output right now.
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
Drawing. A lot of drawing. And like many artists I find writing opens me up to new ideas and ways of approaching a painting. Lately I've also been dying large vats of canvas. Then hanging/draping the raw canvas all over the studio and just meditating on the color. My studio practice is super slow and then punctuated with bursts of action.
I often have an idea for a painting, attempt to execute it and fail. It is most often out that failure where I feel as my best works take shape. Ha! birth from failure I never thought of it that way until now.
Meatball, 12" x 10" x 5", Acrylic and spray paint on cut canvas, 2015
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
I stick to acrylic paint, spray paint and wooden stretcher bars, but I push them to the extreme...I guess you can say I'm a bit of a punk purist.
Snaggletooth, 14" x 10", Acrylic and spray paint on cut canvas, 2015
What does the future hold for this work?
I have some group shows coming up in Queens and I'm super excited to be in a group show in the Lower East side in 2016. Of course I'm looking for opportunities for solo exhibits, so fingers crossed for 2016.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you Valerie for creating this blog. I appreciate what you do.