Category Archives: Interviews with artists

Oral history interview with Ray Johnson, 1968 Apr. 17 – Oral Histories | Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

This is terrific……….

RAY JOHNSON: “Thinking of one’s childhood as a tape, if one is born and begins to live the way this tape begins, things go very slowly. And in public libraries which I used to find myself in, the different kinds of books are in different sections . If you want biography to be . . . I’m interested in these things that work like tape machines and places like drug stores. I saw a marvelous movie last night that cost five cents…………… http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-ray-johnson-13236

Advertisements

A song in my heart, Friedrich Kunath by Dan Fox

“This article was written to the accompaniment of the following records:

‘Last Night I Dreamt that Somebody Loved Me’ – The Smiths (1987)
‘Hymne à l’amour’ – Edith Piaf (1950)
‘Don’t Pull Your Love’ – Glen Campbell (1965)
‘I’d Love Just Once to See You’ – The Beach Boys (1968)
‘I Love Perth’ – Pavement (1996)
‘Love in a Void’ – Sioxsie and the Banshees (1979)
‘Some Kinda Love’ – The Velvet Underground (1969)
‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ – Joy Division (1980)
‘You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling’ – Dionne Warwick (1969)
‘The Look of Love’ – Dusty Springfield (1967)
‘Ever Fallen in Love’ – Buzzcocks (1978)
‘This Is Not a Love Song’ – PIL (1983)
‘I Was Made to Love Magic’ – Nick Drake (1967)
‘Doesn’t Love Mean More?’ – Jimmy Scott (1990)
‘There’s Nothing Wrong with Love’ – Built to Spill (1994)
‘I’m Gonna Love the Hell Out of You’ – Silver Jews (2001)
‘Careless Love’ – Will Oldham (2001)
‘Aloneagainor’ – Love (1967)
‘Hurt’ – Johnny Cash (2003)” (Dan Fox)

I re-read A song in my heart (link) tonight, a beautifully evocative monograph written in 2003 by Dan Fox, for Frieze magazine, about the artist Friedrich Kunath. It is probably my favourite article ever from the arts magazine – music and art, it’s a great combination.

A visit with artist Phill Shepherd 10/03/12

 

Phill Shepherd has been busy on a whole new series of paintings since my last visit and here on Robertsworld i would like to share with you one of his fantastic new works. Phill tells me he has been exploring a new palette, making use of day-glo colours, as you can see in the background to the beautiful figure above.

Phill in these new works continues to present a series of portraits, of people and images found on the internet. These however under-go a series of transformations. Detail is discarded, as is any reference to the original colours (more often than not he works from black and white prints). His trans-formative process then is applied to the forms, which are defined in flat simplified, interlocking planes. These can however, unexpectedly, turn into surprising arabesques holding the surface in a curious tension. And colours subtly glow through from beneath the surface – between you and me the paintings are stunning.

What State Abstraction Carroll Dunham & Keltie Ferris

I recently stumbled on this article: What State Abstraction Carroll Dunham & Keltie Ferris and thought, well that’s jolly interesting!

Fourth Pine, by Carroll Dunham

An interview with artist June Russell

work by June Russell

What form of art or media do you work with?

I use quite a wide range of media. I paint in acrylic and oils, and use pastel and graphic media as well as print processes. In recent years, I’d describe myself as a printmaker, rather than a painter. As a printmaker I’m always learning and employing new techniques, although etching and reduction lino print are favourites. I’ve always been interested in printmaking, since I was young. I learned etching and lino printing at art college in the early seventies, when British printmaking was making a real stir, but I took it up as a major art form rather than a sideline in the late 90′s when I studied for my Masters degree.

Can you describe your studio/work space.

I have had a rented studio since 1996, at one place or another. I can’t work at home although there’s plenty of room, because I’m too easily distracted by domestic stuff. Until now, my studios have comprised of a basic 4 x4 m space (with or without sink) and I’ve relied on open access studios for print facilities, but In February I’ll be moving into a new studio at South Square in Bradford, which has been fitted out as an intaglio print studio and will have 2 presses and all the equipment I need to be the complete printmaker. I’m very excited about this!

I tend to keep my workspace very organised, although when I work I fling things about rather, so there’s a lot of surface mess.

Please give a brief description of your creation process and technique.

My work starts with drawing – either from life, or from imagination/synthesis. I collect drawings and store them for years, taking them out and thinking about them from time to time. Eventually I’ll use them as ‘evidence’ to mix with my memory of a place and create a painting or print. Most of my work is landscape-based. I’m interested in places; how they are created by, inhabited by or perceived by the people who live in them, particularly over time. I hope, by choosing unconventional subjects and/or treatments, to make people think again about what constitutes ‘beauty’ in a location.

I aim to make work that has what I’d call ‘stamina’ – that is, work that people will find continues to interest and absorb for more than a quick glance.

view north sm by June Russell
What are you working on at the moment?

I’m making some very tiny prints at the moment, for various shows, including the International Miniprint Exhibition 2012. I’m also starting to use old prints as ‘material’ for new work in various ways, such as books and 3D structures. I don’t know where this will go.

How do you know when a work is complete?

I can’t say how I know, but I very definitely do know, even when ‘complete’ is really early in the process. Many people I talk to say that knowing when to stop is a real problem for them; it isn’t for me (I have other problems, to compensate – I’m incredibly finicky about physical ‘finish’, for example, and will reject prints with flaws that other people can’t even see)

Shorelinesm by June Russell

Do you listen to music when you are working, or the radio, or work in silence?

I like absolute silence when I’m working on the creative part of making. – drawing, composing & designing. Once I get in to a process – editioning prints, for example -I can listen to music, or talk radio. But really, I can take it or leave it. Silence is best.

What are you reading at the moment?

The Ascent of Man by J. Bronowski

What is your favourite artwork by another artist?

The Jack Pine by Tom Thomson (Actually, this is an impossible question, but this is the first artwork that came into my head and it’s one I have loved consistently for many years and have just seen ‘in the flesh’ at last)

Please complete the following sentences in whatever way is meaningful to you:

a) Artists should please themselves what path they take with their work but delight in the appreciation of others whenever and wherever it comes.  
b) Art, like language, is what makes us human   
c) The World is on loan to each of us for a shorter time than we think.  

What is the worst thing someone has said about your work?

‘Very nice – but it’s all just scenes, isn’t it?’

Who is your favourite German Expressionist painter?

Emile Nolde  (plus printmaker Kathe Kollwitz)

Thank you June

Junes blog can be found here . And further details of the artist and her work can be found here.

 

Crescent 4sm by June Russell

An interview with writer Eric Brown

Image provided by writer Eric Brown

What form of art or media do you work with?

I’m a freelance writer primarily working in the science fiction field, and I also write books for reluctant readers – books for teenagers in the 14-18 age range, but with a reading age of 6-10. My SF is ‘soft’, that is, not Hard SF concentrating on science and technology, the nuts and bolts of future inventions etc, but the social consequences of scientific and technological change. In the SF field, I’ve written novels of alien invasion, future crime, virtual reality, time-travel and space travel, among others.

Can you describe your studio/work space.

I work in a small outsider office, approximately twelve by eight, surrounded by all my books. I work on a PC. This will soon change as we’re in the process of moving to a bigger house where I’ll have the luxury of an indoor study.

Please give a brief description of your creation process and technique.

Ideas coalesce in a mysterious process which I don’t question or analyse. I find that one idea isn’t enough – an initial idea needs to cross-fertilise with a secondary notion and brew in the subconscious for a while. They reach critical mass and need to be written. I then make brief notes for a short story, more extensive notes for a novel, then sit down and write two shifts a day, each one lasting between two and two and a half hours. I’ll produce one thousand words an hour, an average of four thousand words over the two shifts. I try to get the first draft novel finished in a month, and then work on the second and third drafts over the next couple of months. A short story takes few days to write, and the same to polish.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m halfway through a novel set in a strange alien construct called the Helix – a helical ‘spring’ consisting of ten thousand worlds wound about a sun. A race of aliens known only as the Builders constructed the Helix hundreds of thousands of years ago, and saved races on the edge of extinction, rehousing them on worlds in the Helix. Humanity was one such race saved from itself, and now, two hundred years after their arrival, they find themselves keeping the peace between various alien races. Helix Wars will be published by Solaris in the UK and US in October

How do you know when a work is complete?

Experience has told me when to stop – though really a work is never finished, as I’ve found out recently when putting a short story collection together. The temptation was to rewrite and rewrite – I resisted it.

Do you listen to music when you are working, or the radio, or work in silence?

I must work in as near silence as I can manage.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle. I’m working on the outline of a Sherlock Holmes novel for a publish who has expressed an interest in a Holmes idea I had last year, so I’m reading the novel for inspiration.

What is your favourite artwork by another artist?

I’ll interpret ‘artwork’ loosely, and say that my favourite artwork is the twenty-seven book sequence of autobiographies entitled The Sensual World by Rupert Croft-Cooke, a little known and neglected writer of more than a hundred and twenty books, who lived from 1903 to 1979. He wrote novels, crime novels, poetry, non-fiction books on subject as diverse as Victorian literature, food, wine, darts, gypsies, criminals, the circus… But his finest achievement in The Sensual World, detailing his life and times and the people he met during a varied and much-travelled writing life.

Please complete the following sentences in whatever way is meaningful to you:

a) Artists should…… work hard and keep quiet about their work.
b) Art is a……..a personal interpretation of the chaotic state of being alive.
c) The World is ……. that chaos made physical.

What is the worst thing someone has said about your work?

Someone once said that I was a journeyman writer who produced mid-list work for a minor publisher.

Who is your favourite German Expressionist painter?

Pass.

Thank you Eric. More about Eric and a full catalogue of his books can be found here

An interview with artist Edgeworth Johnstone

image

What form of art or media do you work with?

Oil or acrylic paintings mainly.

Can you describe your studio/work space.

My wife and I work in the same room we live and sleep in. I sit on the floor, Shelley has a chair and desk. The carpet’s covered in paint, paintings hung on and stacked against walls. The chemical smell is probably a health hazard while we sleep, but not too bad. It’s small, dark because we tend to paint at night. A ceiling bulb is the only light source. It’s cold this time of year, because we can’t put the radiator on. It’s simple, but perfect for us because we live surrounded by our work. I wouldn’t want art to be a seperate thing, it’s a healthy all-eating obsession.

Please give a brief description of your creation process and technique.

It’s whatever comes to mind. There’s no preparation work or thought behind it. I flick through books of paintings about every ten minutes, trying to immerse in it as much as possible, and forget as much as I can.

couple with candle, painting by artists Edgeworth Johnstone

 

 

What are you working on at the moment?

They’re usually finished in one go, so nothing right now. Apart from a 6 by 5 foot painting I keep going back to, a war scene involving people and birds called ‘Orchestra’. A conductor is mocking it, conducting the chaos. It’s a picture of chaos and brutality really, but as much like a party as anything else.

How do you know when a work is complete?

It gets a look that looks finished. I don’t think there’s a way of explaining it.

woman in park, painting by artists Edgeworth Johnstone

 

 

Do you listen to music when you are working, or the radio, or work in silence?

Silence preferably, or sometimes music. Not radio.

What are you reading at the moment?

Bits of artist monographs, but not cover to cover or in any order. Just whatever I pick up.

What is your favourite artwork by another artist?

Nothing stands out, but I’ll say Schoolhouse by Paul Klee.

Please complete the following sentences in whatever way is meaningful to you:

a) Artists should …appreciate the value of art.
b) Art is… where we can be ourselves, and do what we want.
c) The World is… too easily ignored.

What is the worst thing someone has said about your work?

Insults are ok, the worst is compliments comparing it to art I can’t stand.

Who is your favourite German Expressionist painter?

Probably Klee or Kirchner.

evening attack, painting by artists Edgeworth Johnstone

 

 

Thank you Edgeworth.

More from Edgeworth Johnstone can be found here (art blog) and here (web site)