Angela Guest, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the month of September 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Angela some questions about her work and studio practice:
Q: Tell us about your background.
I’m from Austin, TX and went to school for art at DePaul University in Chicago where I focused on oil painting and intermedia. DePaul had a small art department that was full of amazing teachers but lacked enough resources to teach a wide spectrum of artistic mediums. Because of this, all of my textiles knowledge is self-taught/ gleaned off of fabric experts like Chicago artist Karolina Gnatowski and my Grandma, Florence Guest (god bless mentors).
Q: How would you describe your work?
All of my pieces tend to involve a pattern, lots of colors, appliqué, and are mixed media. I prefer materials like felt, gouache, oil paint, and thread. I have the habit of wanting to learn how to do everything; I want to be a master oil painter, a master textiles artist, a master of realism and abstract expressionism… so my practice can tend to go everywhere. Whether that’s good or bad for me and my work I’m still deciding! But I do love how that inner conflict often results in me producing mixed media works.
As far as subject matter, my work is very much about symbols and the meaning of those symbols, with the meaning usually connected to things like souls, death, decomposition, and love.
Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
The process is often a lot of looking at the materials I have and coming up with interesting combinations. I try to be a good planner, I draw out a few sketches, write out thoughts/goals with a piece, but it will usually devolve into me going “wow I like they way these things look together,” and then building off of that.
Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
Q: Do you collect anything?
House plants and beads. My aunt recently came across a big bag full of jewelry making materials that my late Grandpa left behind. The bag was full of precious stone beads including my favorite precious stone Carnelian, which it turned out was my Grandpa’s favorite precious stone as well.
Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?
The whole city of Chicago.
Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
I go for a lot of rap and hip-hop. Some of my favorite albums right now are Tyler the Creator’s Flower Boy, Kamaiyah’s A Good Night in the Ghetto, Tierra Whack’s Whack World, and Dj Quik and Problem’s Rosecrans. If I’m wanting to listen to something less wordy, I go for Philip Glass or Nujabes.
I don’t really think music affects my artwork. It’s more like what I like in music can be for the same reasons that I like my art or other people’s art. I like things that are intricate, chaotic/loud, and playful with the bite of a serious topic. The rap and art I like is often all of those things together.
Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I’d like to continue focusing on the creation of my own symbols and incorporating those symbols into a large scale fabric and paint piece. I also have a couple of unresolved projects that I started around a year ago that I’d like to bring out again and think about.
Q: What’s next for you?
Settling down in Buffalo, NY and getting my bearings!