Meet the Artist in Residence: Meredith Olinger

Meredith Olinger, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of October 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Meredith some questions about her work and studio practice:

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Meredith Olinger

Q: Tell us about your background.
I’m from Memphis, TN. I recently obtained my M.F.A. from Memphis College of Art. I am a mixed media artist. For the past two years I have been designing my own wallpaper, creating it both digitally and by hand, and using that to collage large scale installation pieces. I also work in printmaking, painting, and textiles.

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Room #1, mixed media, 2017

Q: How would you describe your work?
My work is very layered, both in physicality and content. I’m very interested in the intersections of art and design, painting and installation, digital and handmade. My work blurs these lines. Aesthetically, I’m looking for something bombastic and overwhelming. I’m inspired by advertising, billboards, interiors and  social media.

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Room #1 Reconfigured: Front, mixed media, 2017

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
All of my wallpapers are of my own design. I create them digitally and have them printed by Spoonflower, or I create them by hand, using painting, printmaking, drawing, etc. These are then layered onto a surface and then I rip away at them. I often collage these pieces back on, working until the piece feels right. I also photograph my work while it is in process, make a wallpaper pattern out of that, and then collage it into the work.

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Room #1 Reconfigured: Back, mixed media, 2017

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
During this residency, I am focusing solely on painting. My background is in painting, but I have been so focused on collage for the past few years that working with oil has been very challenging for me. My goal this month is to get re-acquainted with the medium.

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Detail, oil on panel, 2017

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have so many favorite artists! El Anatsui, Amy Sillman, Mark Bradford, and Nick Cave are just a few of my favorites. But recently, I’ve been very interested in Elliot Hundley’s work. Though it’s very different from mine, the way he works in layers is similar to my own process. I also love how dense his work is, and that is something I strive for in my own work.

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Untitled (Zeitgeist Installation), mixed media on wall, 2018

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
I’ve had so many great professors over the years, and they have all graciously given me so much wisdom. But one professor in particular once told me to, “trust the process.” Simple really, but I repeat it to myself a lot in the studio. It’s so easy to get bogged down in your work. Art making is hard and you have good days and bad days. You have to remember that it’s all part of the process. The struggle is important for making your best work.

Q: Do you collect artwork? Tell us about your collection.
I do collect artwork! My collection is small, but has some really great pieces by artists I love. I own a few pieces from some of my cohorts from graduate school: Katherine Dean, Joseph Mosely, and Mary Ruth Pruitt. I also own a piece of one of my professors, Beth Edwards, a fantastic Memphis painter. I also own some antique Chinese peasant paintings that I bought for a song because I don’t think their owner knew how amazing they were! I try to pick up prints when I can, and am looking to add a Chuck Johnson and a Greely Myatt (two local Memphis artists) to my collection in the near future.

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Untitled 1, mixed media, 2018

Q: What’s next for you?
I recently started showing my work with Binder Projects, an online gallery, so I am excited to see how that relationship develops. I’ll be teaching in the Fashion Design Certificate Program at Memphis College of Art in the Spring, and I have some workshops in mixed media and printmaking coming up. As for my work, I’m excited to see how my process grows and changes this month.

Q: Where else can we find you?
Check out Binder Projects and my website.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Emily Tyman

Emily Tyman, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the months of October and November2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Emily some questions about her work and studio practice:

Emily Tyman

Emily Tyman

Q: Tell us about your background. 

I grew up in Geneva, NY and went to college at the University of Rochester.  Originally I was a Biology major but quickly switched to Studio Art. I had always liked to make art, but in college, I experimented with different mediums and had amazing professors as mentors. I’ve tried many different types of art such as photography, sculpture, and performance art, but I always came back to painting as my favorite medium.

"Reflect", acrylic on linen, 18"x18", 2018

“Reflect”, acrylic on linen, 18″x18″, 2018

Q: How would you describe your work?

My recent work has been focusing on color and shapes and breaking down environments. I want to highlight the materials that I use, such as the linen or wood that I paint on and make that material as equally important as the paint that I’m using.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?

I used to always sketch out a plan and my paintings would usually end up being very close to the original sketch. Recently, I’ve tried to not be so strict with my paintings and just start something and not know how it’ll end up. While this was scary for me, it was a very liberating way to paint that I’ll continue to do with my pieces.

"Continue", acrylic on linen, 18"x18", 2018

“Continue”, acrylic on linen, 18″x18″, 2018

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?

Brush conditioner. Cleaning up is my least favorite thing to do and I’m not always the best at taking care of my brushes. The conditioner helps so much when I don’t thoroughly clean the paint off my brushes.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?

I usually listen to a lot of pop music but when I’m in the studio I will listen to art rock and indie rock. Anything with a good beat that will keep me focused on the piece I’m working on. A lot of times I work without any music, just listening to ambient noises. Sometimes that makes it easier for me to become distracted so then I’ll put music on.

"Setting Sun", acrylic on wood, 2'x2', 2018

“Setting Sun”, acrylic on wood, 2′x2′, 2018

Q: Do you collect anything?

I hoard a lot of random items and basically keep everything. It’ll be anything from wood bark to flower stem tubes. I have over fifty topography maps. I want to hang onto things that I think I could use in the future for different art pieces. Most of the time I end up not using anything that I’ve kept but I like to have it just in case. One day I might need it.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?

My goal is to become more comfortable with abstract work. I started to try and incorporate abstract elements into my recent pieces, but I want to see how I can develop those ideas further.

"Seneca", acrylic on linen, 11"x12", 2018

“Seneca”, acrylic on linen, 11″x12″, 2018

Q: What’s next for you?

Eventually, I want to go back to school for an MFA in painting. Applying to school again is very intimidating and so I want to get to a place where I am a lot more comfortable with my portfolio.

Q: Where else can we find you?

My website and my Instagram.