Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mary Hughes: Boston, Mass.

Lynette Haggard's Weekly Artist Interview


Mary Hughes in her Fenway Studio

Lynette Haggard (LH): Can you share with my readers a little about yourself? Where did you grow up and what (if any) were there any early influences on your work?

Mary Hughes: I grew up in Boston, Jamaica Plain specifically. We lived in an Arts and Crafts style house that my mother was constantly redecorating, making curtains and slipcovers, re-papering the walls and rearranging the furniture in very specific ways. There was a sense of presentation to things. I think all that activity affected how I viewed my environment. My grandmother was a seamstress who took up painting later in life. I did my first oil painting ever with her. She gave me a picture postcard of waves crashing against rocks and I copied it. I wish I still had it. I do have a seascape of a lighthouse she did, which I keep in my studio.








Ghost Spiral No. 1
pencil on paper
18” x 16”










Mary's grandmother's painting







LH: Where do you live now?

Mary: I live in Boston in the Fenway Studios. The neighborhood can be a little chaotic and there is always stuff happening. I have grown to really like the bustle.


LH: Did you receive any formal art training? If yes where and what did you major in?

Mary: I went to the School of Fine Arts (now the College of Fine Arts) at Boston University where I majored in painting. It was an academic approach to studio art-lots of figure drawing and painting, still lives, etc. It was the right thing for me at that time. I really learned about the discipline needed to make work. I spent a semester after college in Provence, France doing landscape painting, where I really started to think about color and content. After that I got an MFA in painting from Mass College of Art, which is where my work took the leap from representational to more imaginative, slightly abstracted landscapes.



LH: At what point in your life did you become interested in making art?

Mary: I always loved making art. As a child I was always drawing and when I was about 11 or 12, my mother enrolled me in a summer drawing class at the MFA in Boston. There was a studio somewhere in the museum and we would draw from life or go into the galleries or courtyards to draw. I still remember the work I did there. The whole experience seemed so exotic.
In high school, we only got one elective per semester and I always took art. The classes were taught in the art building (a little house outside the school) and any good memories I have from high school are from those classes and of my art teacher, Mrs. Carlo.






LH: Was there a certain point when you decided you were primarily an artist?

Mary: I think in my 20s when I was working crazy jobs that would enable the most time in the studio. I didn’t really care about “career advancement” so much as I did about being productive with my artwork.

LH: Can you describe bit about your work in general.

Mary: My work of late is mainly drawing. I have a body of work that emerged from some abstract painting I was doing that was linear and organic. I was looking for more specificity in my mark making so I started working with templates. In general, I work pretty quickly and I wanted to slow myself down a bit so I started using dry media like pencils, charcoal and pastels. I didn’t have the quickness and facility that I had with paint and that obstacle was useful for me to be more intentional with my marks and the overall development of the work. The images involve linear and geometric forms that have some depth and are about the play of the 2-d surface against an illusion of space.




Cascade
mixed media
18” x 16”








Convergence
mixed media
22” x 30”

That body of work lead to my Spiral Series in which I really limited the tools down to one shape, one surface, one color and one tool. I attempted to see how much variation I could get from these limitations and to see if I could achieve organic forms with very rigid instruments. Most of the pieces were done with metallic pencil on clay board, which is a beautiful but very unforgiving surface.



LH: What is your media?
Mary: I have started to move back into painting again after a hiatus of 3-4 years. In the past, I have always worked in oils but now I am giving acrylics a try. I like the dry time but I am still struggling with the difference in quality of the paint. It can be more fluid but it lacks some of the richness I am used to in oil paint.

LH: What is your current work about? Do you have photos you're willing to share on my blog?
Mary: Currently, I have returned to freehand drawing and painting. I have done a lot of work on paper, using color pencils on toned or black paper. The newer work is still influenced by landscape. I am thinking about contour maps, topography, airline flight patterns-things that relate to landscape in a less literal way. I also really like the exploration of line and layers and what the tension of the 2-d nature of the image against some illusionistic space does. That seems to come up in more again and again.


Untitled No. 1
(Topography Series)
pencil on paper
30” x 22”


Untitled No. 3
(Topography Series)
pencil on paper
25” x 19”


Untitled No. 4
(Topography Series)
pencil on paper
30” x 42”





LH: What is your workspace like?

Mary: The best part about my workspace is the light. We have huge north-facing windows and even on a cloudy day, the light is fantastic. The workspace is smaller than I would like so I am constantly seeking out the best options for organization. A bit of a hopeless cause I think. The studio gets pretty messy when I am working. I always admire really organized studios, especially because I think it could improve my work flow when I know where things are and when everything has its own spot, especially in a tight space.



Hughes' studio space

I have two dogs that keep me company when I am in the studio and I love that. Being an artist can be an isolating activity and having a warm snout come up and nuzzle me now and then can be very comforting.




LH: Describe how you work in your studio. How do you get "in a groove" and what inspires you?

Mary: I can be a little distracted when I am trying to get to work. I tend to organize stuff a as a warm-up (or perhaps as procrastination). I generally work on several things at once. I work in series and it can be like the entire body of work is what is happening as opposed to one painting or drawing. Jumping around has always worked well for me.





 
LH: Do you ever get stuck with your work and how do you remedy this?

Mary: I have gotten better about walking away when things really are not working. Sometimes fighting it can leads to bad results. Other times, I will try to work it out by doing small drawings or experimenting on pieces that I don’t think are going well. The stakes seem lower and if I screw them up, I am not too worried. Sometimes that freedom to mess up leads to some interesting things that I can pursue more intently. I often work on several pieces at once, which allows me to work things out on one piece when I get stuck on another.


LH: Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?

Mary: I try to look at my work everyday. Just to remind myself what is happening in the studio even if I am not going to be doing any work.




One of Hughes' studio assistants...


LH: What are you reading right now?

Mary: The Elephant Keeper, by Christopher Nicholson
It is a book about a young horse groom in 19th century England that ends up in charge of 2 elephants his wealthy owner buys on a whim. The book chronicles his developing relationship with the animals and his openness to something that many of his contemporaries found frightening.


LH: Do you have other jobs other than making art?

Mary: I am the curator of visual resources for Art and Architecture at Northeastern University. I develop and manage the image collection used for teaching and research. I get to look at a lot of artwork in my job and as a result, am very familiar with the work of contemporary artists and architects. I also teach foundation classes in the Art+Design program. It is great to have a job that is art-related, though balancing my schedule is always a challenge. I love seeing what the students do. They have so much energy. I think working in a school setting can be very invigorating for one’s own studio practice.


LH: Where would you like to be in 5 years as far as your art making?

Mary: I would love to have more time in the studio and be more engaged in the exhibiting and social side of the creative process. I would also like to be more active in artist groups or workshops and expand my exhibition activity beyond the New England region. I’m also hoping to show on the west coast and perhaps be part of more curated, group exhibitions.


LH: Do you have any upcoming shows that you'd like to mention?

I will be in the Copley Society Holiday show, which will be up in mid-November through December


You can view more of Mary's work at her website and Copley Society


Thank-you, Mary!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Donna Dodson — Boston, Mass.


Lynette Haggard's Weekly Artist Interview


Asian Elephant




Photo credits: Asian Elephant, Elephant Princess, Prom Queen and Trumpeting Elephant,
Clements Howcroft photography


Lynette Haggard (LH): Can you share with my readers a little about yourself?
Donna: I am a sculptor by day and a college librarian by night.

Artist Donna Dodson

LH: Where did you grow up and what (if any) were there any early influences on your work?

Donna: I grew up in Northboro, Mass., which is a small suburban town near Worcester. Probably one of the earliest artistic influences on my work was a man in our church who taught Sunday School. His most famous painting was based on John 3:16 "For God so loved the world …” which was a scene of Jesus crucified and hanging on the cross and on the ground was an astronaut, a pregnant woman, a bride and groom, the Ethiopians, etc… all the people who don’t deserve this redemption and in the background was the pyramids, the heads from easter island and other images of art from different cultures and civilizations to put it into perspective that Christianity was just one kind of religion. He went onto to paint abstractions from the Book of Revelations about the apocalypse and he had a show of paintings in the church vestibule. I couldn’t believe you could put your imagination, beliefs and visions out into the world like that. It really blew my mind in much the same way children’s book illustrations become real for children.


Trumpeting Elephant


LH: Where do you live now? 
Donna: I live in Boston. I’ve lived in the city since I graduated from Wellesley College 20 years ago. I majored in French literature from the African Diaspora.

LH: Did you receive any formal art training? 
Donna: I took a lot of pre med courses and after college I studied with Joseph Wheelwright in his Boston studio.


LH: At what point in your life did you become interested in making art?
Donna: I wrote a lot of poetry for about 5 years after college, then I got into pottery, drawing and making found object sculptures.


LH:  Was there a certain point when you decided you were primarily an artist? 
Donna: After I graduated from college.


LH: Can you describe bit about your work in general. 
Donna: I make animal headed mythological figures. Most are female or goddess figures. I carve direct in wood with a chainsaw, belt sander, chisels, rasps,files and lots of sandpaper. They range in size from 1-4 ft tall. My outdoor work is carved in styrofoam and covered in cement. These pieces are 8ft tall, 4 ft wide and 4 ft deep.


Elephant Princess





LH: What is your media?

Donna: Wood [logs] and paint primarily. Styrofoam and cement for my large scale pieces. I’ve also made small sculptures with rapid prototypes or 3D prints, bronze, glass, aluminum, iron, brass, copper, etc.



LH: What is your current work about? 

Donna: I did a series of matriarchal figures with 15 elephant headed goddess figures exploring matrilineal, tribal, clan and group kinships. I've also recently done some outdoor pieces, large scale pieces based on my smaller wood indoor work.


Prom Queen


LH: What is your workspace like? 
Donna: I have 1 BR apt in a coop [600sf]. I use the living room[200sf] as a sculpture studio. It has 10ft ceilings and since I work with a chainsaw, I’m lucky to have a laundry room
downstairs and outside walls. I work during the day when most people are at work so I don’t bother anyone.


Dodson's studio

LH: Are you involved with any arts groups or communities?
If yes, what do you gain from that affiliation and what do you contribute to it?
Donna: I joined the Boston Sculptors gallery 2 ½ years ago. It’s a coop gallery with a great space in gallery district. It’s also a great group of people who I respect and admire. I have gallery sitting and administrative duties that are ongoing year-round.



LH: How do you develop a sense of community with other artists, and how do you support your art colleagues?
Donna:  I manage a listserv for artists in the Greater Boston area, the Art Salon Boston, http://groups.google.com/group/art-salon that posts calls to artists, exhibition opportunities and announcements of upcoming shows. I started it in May 2007 and it used to meet at my studio every month but since I joined the Boston Sculptors Gallery the group quit meeting.



LH: Describe how you work in your studio. How do you get "in a groove" and what inspires you?
Donna: I work every day in my studio. I try to keep up a pace of 1-2 sculptures every month.



Outdoor Photos: Giant Panda, Elephant Oracle and Hathor, 
Donna Dodson

Elephant Oracle



LH: Do you have any web links/site/blog etc. you'd like to share that
show your work?

Donna: My blog is www.donnadodsonartist.blogspot.com.


LH: Do you ever get stuck with your work and how do you remedy this?
Donna: No, but I have found drawing and printmaking have helped to invigorate my sculpture practice.

Panda Bear


LH: Do you have particular habits that you think support your art
practice?
Donna
: I work every day.



LH:  What are you reading right now? 
Donna: $12 MILLION dollar stuffed shark by Don Thompson




LH:  Do you have other jobs other than making art? 

Donna: College librarian






Hathor


LH: Where would you like to be in 5 years as far as your art making?
Donna: Still doing it, and more of it.



LH: Do you have any upcoming shows that you'd like to mention?
See my blog for more info.

Thank you Donna!
 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ellen Rolli Artist Interview — Boston, MA

Lynette Haggard's Weekly Artist Interview


Black and Blues
40 x 30"
acrylic on canvas




Photo credits: George Lynde


Lynette Haggard (LH): Can you share with my readers a little about yourself?

Ellen: I am a mid-career painter who maintains a full time studio in the SOWA arts district in the south end of Boston. It is my workspace, a gallery, and where I teach one-day painting workshops twice monthly.


LH: Where did you grow up and what (if any) were there any early influences on your work?

Ellen: I grew up in the city of Revere. I was fortunate to have an aunt, (my mom's sister), who was a painter. She was an artistic influence at a young age, and became a mentor as I realized my artistic ability and interest in drawing and painting. I also had two supportive high school art teachers who encouraged me to follow a creative path. My parents were also supportive and didn't try to steer me away from an arts career.

LH: Where do you live now?

Ellen: My husband Frank and I live just north of Boston in the town of Melrose. We have two daughters, Jennifer and Amanda. Melrose has been home for nearly 25 years. It is a wonderful community that helps support the arts in many ways. Melrose hosts an annual arts festival each spring, and showcases a different artists work each month at the historic Beebe Estate. With close access to Rte. 93, I’m only a 15/20-minute drive to my studio in the south end.

LH: Did you receive any formal art training? If yes where and what did you major in?
Ellen: I attended Boston’s Massachusetts College of Art. I majored in art education, minored in painting.


Artist Ellen Rolli



LH: At what point in your life did you become interested in making art?

Ellen: I knew very early on that fine art would always be important in my life. I remember in middle school making drawings or paintings as gifts for friends. A big Beatle fan then, (and still!), I would sketch portraits of the fab four from their albums.and give those to friends too! One of the best portraits I did when I was in high school was of Bob Dylan. It was a gift for my best pal who was a huge fan of Dylan. It took her years to tell me that she had lost it along the way.


LH: Was there a certain point when you decided you were primarily an artist?

Ellen: Not necessarily. I suppose I’ve always considered my self an artist. Primarily? That’s a tough question! While raising a family, I had to to strike a balance between that and my need to create. Later, while care taking for elders, my art was my refuge. It has always been with me, but now I am able to devote much more time to it.



Journey
36 x 48"
acrylic on canvas



LH: Can you describe bit about your work in general.
Ellen: I consider myself a contemporary painter, my work perhaps best described as abstract expressionism.



LH: What is your media?

Ellen: My medium is acrylic and I work on canvas. I have recently introduced some collage and oil stick to some of my paintings.



LH: What is your current work about?

Ellen: I have always loved generous paint application, a sense of freedom with materials and a direct and intuitive approach to painting. My current work is about tapping into interpreting reality and emotion in an abstract way. After a month long painting residency last fall, my work began to shift from abstracted realism to more non-objective work. I needed to take risks, let go, and push to reach the next stage of who I needed to be as a painter. Scary and exhilarating at the same time. I am working much larger then I ever have. Lots of paint and big brushes.


LH: What is your workspace like?

Ellen: My workspace is wonderful. My haven. The building at 450 Harrison Ave. in the south end houses about 80 artists and is a factory building turned artists' studio workspaces. I’m so grateful to be in a building surrounded by other creative people. My space is around 700+ square feet and has three large double windows so there is great natural light. High ceilings allow for great wall space. Because we have open studios once a month, the entry area into my studio serves as a gallery and my work area is closer to the window wall. Beneath the windows is a sitting area. Having a larger space allows my students plenty of space.



Gathering
30 x 40"
acrylic on canvas

LH: Describe how you work in your studio. How do you get "in a groove" and what inspires you?

Ellen: I am in my studio 5 or 6 days a week, painting several hours a day. Having a studio outside of my home has been great for my artist psyche, and truly a dream fulfilled. I enjoy my "work commute" and am disciplined about leaving on time each day. I arrive around 10:30 am and head for my couch with my coffee. I may look at an art book or just listen to music and wait for the muse to visit. If I’m still working on a piece in progress I’ll wait until it tells me what to do next. If I’m about to start a new painting, the "ritual" is similar...I wait for an idea, a feeling, thoughts about a recent experience or place I’ve been, etc. to suggest a "start" and then see where it takes me. I like each painting session to be unique, a new experience. I do not want to envision what it will be, but prefer the discovery as I go along.



LH: Do you ever get stuck with your work and how do you remedy this?

Ellen: We all have artists blocks now and then. It’s part of the process and I think getting stuck can be a good thing. Sometimes I push through it by painting. Even if the painting isn't working, I feel as though I am working through it. Just "showing up" can be enough sometimes. I may do studio tasks, prepare canvases,etc. being around my work, in my space can still feed the soul. Other times I know it is more important to walk away and take a needed painting break. Perhaps visit with an artist friend, take a walk, take in a gallery, or read. Often the biggest blocks happen just before a breakthrough, so those blocks should be embraced, not serve to discourage!


LH: Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?

Ellen: Yes...I love my art books. You know, the ones with the fabulous color plates! It is so inspirational to look at was has come before and what is in the making now. I also like reading artist biographies...dekooning's was fascinating. I enjoy taking "art field trips" with my artist friends. We might visit a museum or gallery to see a special exhibition or travel together to an artist demo. The art discussions that arise from these get togethers are always exhilarating and inspiring. Often, after parting, we are anxious to get back to our studios! The special connection between fellow artists is an important and valuable support system.


Urban Balance
30 x 40"
acrylic on canvas

LH: What are you currently reading?

Ellen: "So far so good…the first 94 years” Roy Neuberger, an autobiography




LH: Do you have other jobs other than making art?

Ellen: I teach. Teaching workshops at my studio started as a means to help pay the rent. I found that I really loved teaching, was good at it, and it became a small business that is still going strong today. I love sharing what I am so passionate about with others. It is truly rewarding! Teaching just twice a month allows me plenty of time for my own work. Over 2 years ago an article about my workshops was published in the American Artist Workshop magazine. I conduct one-day painting workshops twice monthly in my studio, and have been doing that for over 4 years. I also teach a two painting workshop every summer at the North Shore Arts Association in Gloucester. I did painting demos for several years.




LH: Where would you like to be in 5 years as far as your art making?

Ellen: Still painting like crazy. Still evolving, taking risks and making art that feels compelling, true and significant. I hope I will have new gallery representation. Something I am thinking about investigating in the near future. I am in a gallery on the cape and in Vermont, but they represent "pre abstract" work. Right now I am devoted to painting to satisfy my toughest critic—myself.



LH: Do you have any upcoming shows that you'd like to mention?

Ellen: Nothing right now. Hopefully down the line another Copley Society solo show. I show new work regularly during the monthly first Fridays at my studio.

Thank you Ellen!

You can see more of Ellen's work at  www.ellenrolli.com

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ted Larsen Interview: Santa Fe, NM

Lynette Haggard's Weekly Artist Interview



Petal
40x60"
2009
Photos: James Hart Photography, Santa Fe

Lynette Haggard (LH): Can you share with my readers a little about yourself?

Ted Larsen: I was born in South Haven, Michigan which is 90 miles from Chicago. My parents are both artists and they moved to Santa Fe when I was 16, 1979. I went to high school at Santa Fe Prep, then to Whittier College in LA. I didn’t like the city, LA was just too much for me and too polluted. I transferred to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. At both schools, I was in programs that allowed me to write my own curriculum and study what interested me.

After graduating, I moved back to Taos for a number of years. My sister died 1989, and I decided to move back to Santa Fe to be closer to my parents. It was around then that I met my “to-be” wife Carolyn, who had moved from Paris and owned a business in Santa Fe. We have 3 children, twins age 14 and a 24 year old.

I travel a lot, been to Viet Nam, Sri Lanka, Africa, Ireland. I like to understand other people, how they think helps me understand my own ideas of the world. By seeing things that are so utterly foreign I see different ways that people take their ideas and manifest them. This helps my work.

Poetry of Form 
10x19"  
2010

LH: Did you receive any formal art training?

Ted: Yes, at school. I was fascinated with geological process and the rawness of the landscape in NM. I was also interested in the Humanities. Science and the Humanities don’t always fit together well. First I studied art history, then some studio art, and philosophy. This self-created curriculum allowed me to mold the program to my interests. After school, I took other independent classes with Wolf Kahn, Richard Diebenkorn and some others. Also, because my parents were artists, that influenced me. I believe that a formal education is only a starting point. Nobody will ever teach you as well as you teach yourself. You need to assimilate and not regurgitate. The process in my studio is 2 fold, what happens both outside and inside.



Walk Through
19 x 19"
2009



LH: Can you describe a bit about your studio practice?

Ted: In my studio practice, I set up a very thoughtfully structured system.  I exactly define the rules!  This is done before I begin any work on any specific project.  While I am in the studio, because the structure I have set in place defines the parameters of what and how I am to work, I am free to work intuitively in the specific work.  That means, if I am exploring something very formal, like the intersection of spacial form (under the sectioned titled "Wall Flowers" on my site), I set up the exact structure of how this work is to be defined-materials, process, scale, etc-that leaves me free to explore (without thinking critically) the actual act of making the work.  Exact shapes, color choices, or other concerns are made more or less automatically.

I may have an idea and structure that I’ve envisioned but then I don’t over think it. In a recent show—it was a 2.5 year project and it took a long time to create it. Sculptural space and illusionary space meet, that’s what I wanted to describe. Sometimes I make rules for myself, for example, in this one I decided I wouldn’t repeat myself more than 4 times. 

Pretty Ugly
33x67"
2010

LH: At what point in your life did you become interested in making art?

Ted: I’ve always made things. I’m now coming to accept a core aspect of myself. I have a really good relationship with my mother. We speak honestly with each other. Recently she made a reference to my work that it’s beginning to “feel like me (Ted)”.  We thought this was funny because when I was young, I would take things apart to see how they worked. Once I disassembled her entire sewing machine. Played with Lego’s a lot. Always drawing and building things. When I was in my 20s-30s I raced motorcycles I would take the engines apart and put them together.

 
LH: Was there a certain point when you decided you were primarily an artist?

Ted: Because my parents are both artists, it wasn’t a “thing” you decided. I have always been an artist. At one point, in my mid-twenties, I was deathly afraid of becoming an artist. I think the fear was of being compared to my artist parents. Now, at age 46, I’m in a totally different place.

Hierarchical Stature
35x40" 

2010


LH:  Can you describe bit about your work in general?

Ted: As I mentioned, my studio practice takes place both outside and inside the studio. I don’t think that people challenge themselves a lot and there are lots of reasons why that happens. Sometimes I think artists find a formula that is comfortable and they continue repeating it. If you’re interested in advanced critical thinking, you need to be open to interpreting thought in new ways. If you’re an artist making the same thing, you might be making money, but you’re not advancing as an artist. You need to be willing to walk away and risk the financial aspect to have the most rewarding practice. It’s about the making of the thing, not the money. What you make is the physical result of the flow going into the piece. It’s a dead end to get hooked up on the result. You must keep the process of making the work tertiary to the result. Art—the thing that we make, is not really art. The viewer brings the stimulus and the history of their life to the art. There is something that happens there.
Really good art transcends the personal and something really distilling happens. It can be confrontational. Something can come out of a piece of art that can go straight to the heart. I tend to work with reductive, most basic elements of formal things.

For me, that is the most challenging. It’s the most fundamental formal shapes are all ends to themselves. When you put them together in an organization it can give the appearance of on thing or another.  We have been doing this since e the beginning of human existence.
There can be cultural influences. Every thing representational comes back to abstraction. How our eye works that is part of how we organize the world visually. That’s what drives my work. That kind of spatial relationship is what interests me.




Sepped Structure
14 x 15"
2009



LH:  What kind of painting did you do?
Ted: Landscape painting.

LH:  Ah, that’s what I used to do. Now that I have become involved with non-representational work, most of my former clients don’t “get it” or appreciate it.

Ted: Ivan Karp (of OK Harris gallery) and I had a conversation years ago. He is a true gem of the world. The reason why I really like him is that he’s been around; he’s met all the people that I admire. He believes in great things, and concepts, but not the specifics. Ivan told me that you know that you’re really on to something when 90% of the people that look at your work just fu**ing don’t get it—but, the other 10% that look at your work are transformed by it.

He is a smart man, and also a business man. Think about it like this: for example, if you work with 5 galleries and 100,000 people go through each of them every year, then you are getting exposed to 500,000 people a year. If 10% of those viewers are interested, then its 50,000 people who appreciate you work. If you can then find at least 10% of those who have the means to buy, then 5000 people who may buy your work.


Air Time
60 x 18"
2010
 
LH: Ha, you just made my day!
Ted: Ivan Karp is wonderful.

 

LH: Did you ever seek out gallery representation?

Ted: Yes—early on, in my 20s, I was painting and sought out galleries. Now, they approach me. This is an avocation and a vocation. You have to be willing to put your ego aside and be willing to talk with people with no agenda and find out if you like them. You need to work with people you enjoy to have them represent you.

Hobby Pop
19x33"
2010


LH: What is your current work about?

Ted: I tend to work with classic reductive post-modernist concepts. The things that interest me reference the world around me in some way. For me, art is the physical manifestation of philosophy. The things that I make are reflective of my personal belief system. This is extremely complex.

I care that the viewer is concerned with my work, what a piece is made of, or how they’re made. The very physicality of the work is very important. I want to subvert some of the high art practice and bring art back to earth. The eye reads it other than being purely concrete. I don’t really believe in heroic things. I don’t want my work to be very didactic. I work with reclaimed materials because they have an incredible history. The term assemblage is a very specific thing. I try to resist this. I use the raw materials as a starting point. When I studied art, I was trained as painter. I’m 6’7” tall, and strong. I have the physical ability to pick up big things that are heavy etc. When I was a painter, my sculptor friends used to say to me, you should be a sculptor, you are made for it!

Ted Larsen at work

LH: What is your workspace like?

Ted: I recently moved my studio. I had a beautiful space in eastern Santa Fe next to the river and it was peaceful. But the space I worked in was dark and small with low ceilings. Then the landlord raised the rent so I looked around. I moved back to a space I was in 12 years ago; it’s off of Second Street used to be a wood making facility. Its good clean space and workable. I’m happy to be here.

LH: Are you involved with any arts groups or communities?

Ted: YES there’s not for profit SITE Santa Fe and I’m a member. I participate with lots of things that are going on there. I lecture at the University of Arts and Design (formerly the College of Santa Fe). I also talk to college kids and high school kids, sometimes at the Art Institute. I get a lot from living in this area.

Color Chart
25 x  24"
2010

LH: How do you develop a sense of community with other artists, and how do you support your art colleagues?

Ted: This is the hard question, this is a very difficult town to mix with other artists.
Santa Fe is a retail arts community. It’s the 5th largest art community it’s the same size as NY LA Dallas. It’s a fiercely competitive environment. Artists tend to be competitive and not so willing to help young artists. We have Richard Tuttle, Susan Rothenberg and others. Getting access to these folks is almost impossible. I go to other artists openings and be supportive of friends whenever I can. There’s sort of a core group of people in this town that share similar philosophies.

LH: What are you reading right now?

Ted: At the moment just finished Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, it was very depressing. The style and syntax is interesting, but not if you’re feeling blue!

LH: Do you have other jobs other than making art?
Ted: No, I’ve been a full-time artist for 23 yrs.

LH: Where would you like to be in 5 years as far as your art making?
Ted: I hope I never know.


LH: Do you have any upcoming shows that you'd like to mention?
Ted: Yes

Building Beauty at the Lesley Heller Workspace
November 3 - December 19, 2010
54 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002

Special Shapes Rodeo at Clark Gallery
Reception: November 6, 4-6pm
November 2, 2010 through November 27, 2010
145 Lincoln Road, Lincoln, MA 01773

I will also have a show at OK Harris in NY in winter 2011-12 and Conduit in Dallas

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You can see more of Ted’s work at http://www.tedlarsen.com

Thank you Ted!