Ask me a Question / Part 1

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I opened up my social networks to see what questions I would get from artists about painting, curating, teaching, and much more. Check out the questions and answers below!

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By @premiumh2o / Ana Vasquez / www.avasquezco.tumblr.com/

How does your relationship in academic and also non academic settings inform your own painting practice?

Great question Ana, at this point it is sort of hard to separate all the compartments of my life and schedule. I feel fortunate to teach and hear so many ideas, problems, and thoughts from the students and the artists I work with in both academic and non-academic settings!

When I teach in the University setting – at both Rutgers and Hofstra University, my main concern is addressing issues of technique and developing confidence and a way of seeing things in painting and in drawing. If the class is a seminar, my main goal is to unpack critical theory and relate it to young artist working today. Both things are a challenge – formally, it is always great to be reminded of the groundwork for painting and drawing. I am most certainly not above those things and even on a basic level – teaching a students how to mix paint reminds me of color relationships I may forget about in the studio. I’m teaching a seminar right now on the continuum and history of Drawing – it has greatly informed my ability to help others in critiques and also question my own use of line, value, form in my work.

When I am teaching and leading conversation as a guest critic or in the NYC Crit Club – my gears shift a bit and I am most concerned with listening to the individual and trying to offer advice and feedback on studio basics. This sort of dialogue is so rich and helps me re-think things in my own studio – what do I want in my paintings? What matters most? I learn so much about different approaches, unique points of view, and various multi-media techniques from the artists in NYC Crit Club that it no doubt strengthens my resolution as a painter while simultaneously challenging it.

Often I feel I learn more from teaching and critiques than I do from time alone in the studio – it is however, so important to have both and have a balance. I need to block out a lot of things when I get to work in the studio.

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By @martaleeart / Marta Lee / www.martaleeart.com/
What is your advice for young artist/teachers moving to NYC for the first time?

Great question Marta!
Moving to NYC is a really tough thing in general – being an artist only adds another layer to that. However, the benefit of being an artist is simply that you have extended community and everyone fully gets how hard it is – at any stage of life here.

My best suggestions are this:
1. Be engaged with your peers – go to shows, do studio visits, and support those you admire

and those you want to learn from.

  1. Write thank you emails to people – be professional in a way that is considerate of people’s time – and follow up on things in a timely manner!
  2. Keep your overhead LOW – low rent, low bills = more studio time!
  3. Be patient – showing right away is not as important as building a solid infrastructure andstrong studio habits while paying the bills!
  4. Find a job in the arts (gallery intern, art handling, registrar, studio assistant) to buildnetworks and find a job outside the arts to make cash keep your head free to paint and make art. (e.g., waiting tables, bartending, babysitting, dog walking).

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By, @laurengidwitz Lauren Gidwitz / www.laurengidwitz.com/
When you curate, do you begin with artist in mind or a concept?

Typically – I think about what is missing in the world right now. I am feeling out what shows are up, what has been shown and what the trends are. My first thought is to go against these and provide something that is needed. Then I take it a step further and think about the artists that might be up for what is missing – then the work begins!

However, just as often – ideas for shows come from reading and poetry.

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By, @shifflab / Aaron Shifflett / www.aaronshifflett.com/

I really like how your paintings seem to glow, what helps you get that vibrancy?

Thanks for the question Aaron! My paintings are painted with fluid acrylic airbrush paint on very white, very gessoes surfaces. The dissipation of the paint in a thin and atmospheric way makes the paintings seem to glow and be illuminated!

What prompts the beginning of your pieces? A new narrative? The last work you created? Something else you saw?

All of my work comes from drawing and from looking! In a very basic way, my ideas start from paying attention to the world around me and looking closely. I think it is important to draw and observe the world one lives in – when I go back to a form repeatedly then I begin to realize my brain and heart are geared towards this. I then am obligated to pay attention to things in such a way – where I acquire these forms, lines, shapes, and patterns as my language.

Traveling helps me a great deal – being able to be out of my normal work environment and routine helps me be more awake to color, form, and light. Thankfully every year or so – I get to escape and these trips fuel my work back in the studio for months!