Sunday, August 27, 2006

Since No One Else is Asking

I've been reading Artbutcher's artist interviews over at I've decided it would be a good exercise to answer his questions---to clarify things for myself and to be better prepared for that inevitable Artforum interview. Here are the results...

Artist Interview

*DB: How do you come up with your images? And what does your current work meanto you?

My images begin as quick, small, nearly automatic drawings. Out of a group of 40 or 50, I’m drawn to about ten that I think will make good compositions and I use these as jumping off points for the paintings. I then alternate between spontaneous approaches, intense looking, and more formal, refining periods---often times destroying several serviceable compositions on my way to a final image.
A finished body of work ultimately means communication with your peers—an audience. A way to convince the viewer of your own reality.
Any personal meaning a piece might have is in a constant state of flux.

What exhibit or piece that you have seen has most influenced your workand why?

Still lifes by Giorgio Morandi that I saw in Italy. They taught me a lot about economy and working within a set parameter---that there can be freedom and even endless variation in restraint.

If you could have only one material for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

Black ink. The variances are endless. The dark ink against white paper is striking and automatically sets up opposites that are loaded with symbolic and formal qualities.

Explain your work in five words or less.

An aid against bewilderment.

What is your favorite - movie? Book? Color? Smell? Food?

The Petrified Forest with Bette Davis and Leslie Howard. Its themes are romantic and out of fashion. Both are good for art and life.
The Horse’s Mouth by Joyce Cary or Zola's The Masterpiece.
Chromium Oxide Green
The way the air smells before it snows.
Salmon Croquettes

What "guilty pleasures" of kitsch, low, or unfashionable art do you enjoy, and has your work been influenced by any of them?

Celebrity culture and religious paintings. These two realms are closer than you might think.
I tried to let the pathos,and somber elements of religious works influence my earlier black and white paintings.

What initially drew you to become an artist?

The way I feel when I look at great art.

*Questions taken from interviews between Dwayne Butcher and various other artists.


dwayne said...

this is great!! i am sorry i have only read it, computer still out. i think, if you do not mind, will post this on in the review/interview section.

great answers

Paul Behnke said...

That'd be fine if you want to post it---you came up with some good questions.