Wednesday, October 14, 2009

studio interview with ME



My buddy the painter Tracy Helgeson lives down the road about 80 miles and she did this series of questions about artists and studios that she got from Joe Fig. I answered most but dropped some of her points that are specific to painters. After all the questions there is a blank series if you want to copy and paste to your own blog, and please do! Just tell me in comments so I remember to look!

When did you consider yourself a professional artist and when were you able to dedicate yourself full time to that pursuit?
----During college in 1986 I was a junior with a lot of nice pots and at Bennington College's commons there were tables and people would sell stuff when they felt like it, and I set up one day and sold a bunch, and did so whenever I had extras. Pots, or mine anyway, are easy to sell. I worked as a special education teacher until 1997 when I went into it full time.

How long have you been in this studio?
----3 and a half years, and before that almost ten years in New Hampshire. This studio is 5 times bigger and I love it!

Is your studio separate from your home? Is that what you prefer and does that affect your work?
----Studio is seperate but connected. It is nice to be able to work anytime and check on things as they dry or check on the kiln. But I work at the Cornell studios sometimes
a) fewer distractions and
b) there are lots of my friends around to chat with--not healthy always working on your own

Did you have a plan for the layout of your studio or did it develop organically?
----NO PLANS. Just set up my wheel by the window looking at the river.

Has the studio location influenced your work?
-----No.

Please describe a typical day, being as specific as possible. For example: What time to you get up? When do you come to the studio? Do you have specific clothing you change into?
----Get up at 5 something, 7 days a week, dogs out, breakfast with the missus, blog here, then a long walk with the dogs then get to work until 5pm. I work in bursts with breaks. I get a lot done on weekends for some reason. As for clothing, I wear jeans and tees and flannel shirt no matter what I am doing. I am very grungy :)

Do you listen to music, the radio, or TV when you work? If so, what, and does it affect your work?
-----the radio is always on to modern rock, alternative rock, punk rock, metal rock etc. I get the most work of the whole week done during the 2-5 Saturday program the Ultimate 80s show.

Do you have any special devices or tools that are unique to your creative process?
----3 kilns in the house, and a wheel to throw upon!

Are there specific items here that have significant meaning to you?
----I have a carved mask on the wall. The wife asked a high school student of mine from Uganda to get it for me and bring it back to school in his suitcase. There is also a set of shelves high up with lighting that holds my museum of pots, my work going back 26 years.

Do you work on one project at a time, or several?
----well, my type of pottery means making a dozen to several dozen pieces at a time then finishing them together.

When you are contemplating your work, where and how do you sit or stand?
----I am not contemplative when I work. I think about the work when I am not working on it. Pottery is about ACTION :)

How often do you clean your studio, and does it affect your work?
-----minor cleaning each year, and a big one once a year. As I have said lately, I had a huge pile of boxes in front of my skylight and Stevo suggested I open up the space, and I did, and moved my dawing desk over there and it is a great change and the place looks and feels a lot better.

Do you have assistants?
-----hohoho! Dogs? Don't count. I would kill an assistant. Scratch that. At home, let's just say I am not sociable when I work. I go to the Cornell studios to work alongside other people.

Did you ever work for another artist, and if so, did that have any effect on the way you work?
-----I apprenticed to another potter in the 1980s and the dude has an awesome work ethic and showed me how to run a good pottery business.

Do you have a motto or creed that as an artist you live by?
----GET UP and GET TO WORK.

What advice would you give a young artist that is just starting out?
-----Fugeddaboutit!
:)
No. I would suggest they become an accountant.



(views outside the studio, looking at Fall Creek)

When did you consider yourself a professional artist and when were you able to dedicate yourself full time to that pursuit?

How long have you been in this studio?

Is your studio separate from your home? Is that what you prefer and does that affect your work?

Did you have a plan for the layout of your studio or did it develop organically?

Has the studio location influenced your work?

Please describe a typical day, being as specific as possible. For example: What time to you get up? When do you come to the studio? Do you have specific clothing you change into?

Do you listen to music, the radio, or TV when you work? If so, what, and does it affect your work?

Do you have any special devices or tools that are unique to your creative process?

Are there specific items here that have significant meaning to you?

Do you work on one project at a time, or several?

When you are contemplating your work, where and how do you sit or stand?

How often do you clean your studio, and does it affect your work?

Do you have assistants?

Did you ever work for another artist, and if so, did that have any effect on the way you work?

Do you have a motto or creed that as an artist you live by?

What advice would you give a young artist that is just starting out?

9 comments:

Becky said...

Gary.. I'm going to fill out the questionnaire, but I can't promise absolute seriousness. :)

Reverend Awesome said...

OH MY. This was good. I too will attempt to fill this out. I do most of my painting sitting on the floor of my tiny apartment. The internet will no doubt find that fascinating!

Dirt-Kicker Pottery said...

Good interview.
You have the most awesome view of Fall. The colors are fabulous.
Please, please never suggest to a young person to be an Accountant. My Daughter is a 28 yo CPA and has no life besides work. Accountant = Work 70 hrs a week. It sucks.

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

I cannot BELIEVE anybody would want to be an accountant and twas a JOKE! :)

Susan as herself said...

Good radio choices.

So, I guess my fantasy of moving to Ithaca and beign your assistant is moot. Sigh.

And um, I would NEVER recommend that anyone be an accountant. I would suggest suicide first.

Jay said...

Very cool interview and answers. You answered some things I've wondered myself. ;-)

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is great!!! But really: Fugeddaboutit...you know you would not be happy doing anything but what you are doing now. Destiny!!

jimgottuso said...

amigo... fun interview to read, is tracy gonna post it to her blog?

Farmer*swife said...

Kept this open since yesterday to read the whole post and comment; but, apparently my life only lends itself to 140-160 characters at a time.


GRRRR. :-) Great post though, in all your greatness!