Tag Archives: mixed media artist

Meet the Artist in Residence: Matt Simon

Matt Simon, 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 Matt some questions about their work and studio practice:

Matt Simon

Matt Simon

Q: Tell us about your background.
I’m from Denver, Colorado, and lived in various neighborhoods around the city growing up. I didn’t really make much art in grade school (I had two art classes during those twelve years), and ended up getting into art pretty much on accident — I actually applied to a bunch of engineering schools, but ended up choosing Oberlin for financial reasons.

Still, I entered college with the intent of majoring in physics. I sat next to the painting professor at a first-year orientation event, and she encouraged me to take a class with her since I’d always had a vague interest in making more art but hadn’t really acted on it. I did so my second semester, and during a class field trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art first saw the painting Lot’s Wife by Anselm Kiefer, and was enamored with its scale and textural aptitude. But during another trip to the museum with some friends during commencement week at the end of the year, the painting’s emotional weight hit me. I had to figure out how Kiefer was able to provoke such a strong reaction through an image, and I was hooked.

Lot's Wife - Anselm Kiefer

“Lot’s Wife” by Anselm Kiefer

Q: How would you describe your work?
I think the best descriptor of my work is tactile — I love creating textures that make you want to touch them, and have slowly figured out various material processes that result in ones I’ve integrated into many of my pieces. My favorite one is probably a mixture of acrylic, sand, clay, and iron oxide, which dries thick and claylike, but much more sturdy due to the acrylic and sand; this can be seen most plainly in my book, Weathering.

how the stars did fall

how the stars did fall

My longest-running subject material is the mythology of the American West, which has a long and complex history I’m still working to understand more completely. I feel a deep affinity for the landscape of that region, especially in Colorado and New Mexico. But at the same time, that affinity is enabled by the genocide and displacement of the indigenous peoples who lived there. I draw on that tension as inspiration for my work.

the child the father

the child the father

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Most of my work begins textually, often from written sources on the West and the period of westward expansion. I find imagery or stories in these which I draw from to create preliminary ideas for pieces. A couple of my favorite textual sources for this kind of working are Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.

Once I have that initial idea, I’ll try to figure out which medium best suits the idea, whether it be one of my usual assortment of book, painting, sculpture, or print, or some combination of those. I’ll occasionally make a more formal sketch of something, like on a small canvas before moving to a large one, but often I’d rather just jump in with the idea and follow where it takes me as I work the image over and over. I find my choice of mediums fairly forgiving since I can usually just add more material over the last layer if I want to change something, which helps this approach.

Weathering (page 2)

Weathering (page 2)

Q: Do you collect anything?
I like to collect natural materials, especially rocks and plants, and some of my pieces even end up incorporating them. My favorites are the ones I have that remind me of Colorado and New Mexico.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have a hard time picking favorites, so I’d say there’s a three way tie: I’ve already talked about Anselm Kiefer, but I also love the work of Doris Salcedo, whose sculptures always have a level of detail that seems completely impossible, and Kathe Kollwitz — I don’t know of anyone who can create more depth in black space. I’d be happy to be one-tenth as good at that.

Kindersterben - Kathe Kollwitz (My copy)

“Kindersterben” by Kathe Kollwitz

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
I mostly listen to things in the vicinity of indie, folk, and bluegrass, with some hip-hop/rap in there as well. I often end up playing music that feels like it suits the piece I’m working on, so I sometimes will listen to an album or even a single song on repeat if I’m really focusing in on that correlation.

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.
I love making large-scale works, but unfortunately studio space where I live, in Seattle, is expensive, prohibitively so for a space big enough to do works of that size. So I’m planning on taking full advantage of the space I’ll have for the month and working on some good-sized pieces. I’m going to try making a book at least the same size as my largest so far (2×3’), or maybe even bigger!

Weathering (page 5)

Weathering (page 5)

Q: What’s next for you?
I plan on starting to apply for MFA programs in the next year or two. It’s a little intimidating how many incredibly skilled artists are competing for admission (especially for the well-funded ones), so I want to get to a place where I feel more confident in my portfolio first.

Q: Where else can we find you?
You can visit my website, and I recently succumb to making an art-specific Instagram, which you can find at @mattsimonart.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Marisa Boyd

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

marisa boyd

Marisa Boyd

Q: Tell us about your background.
I am from Central Illinois, living in the town of Bloomington-Normal. I am originally from Channahon, IL which is near Joliet, IL. I moved to Bloomington-Normal in 2013 to attend college at Illinois State University for my BFA. Now that I am graduated, I enjoy reading a number of books I have laid out throughout my apartment and keeping a daily drawing practice. I spend my days walking throughout the downtown area of Bloomington and sharing an art studio with my best friend.

Q: How long have you been making artwork?
I have always been making art since I was a child. Moving forward into high school, I focused on more realism and narrative scenes. During the beginning of art school, my practice began to shift into abstraction. I went to Illinois State University for art school.

"Nothing Entirely Surprising" by Marisa Boyd

“Nothing Entirely Surprising” by Marisa Boyd

Q: What was your experience like at art school?
My experience was the most beautiful, busy, stressful part of my life that I have encountered so far. I have never not slept so much, staying up all hours of the night obsessing over the latest idea that popped into my brain.…which would word vomit to anyone I began talking to about art to in the hallway. I was similar to many former and current art students being willing to do anything to get further into their inquiry while simultaneously feeling like there was more that could be done. I still struggle with this today. Ultimately, I met incredible people and artists that have influenced me throughout my time at Illinois State University.

Q: Do you have a job other than making art?
I am a server at a farm to table restaurant called Anju Above in Bloomington, IL. On most days, I actually really enjoy my job!

Q: How would you describe your work?
I would describe it to be quiet with a hint of distress. I make simple drawings that are made with a micron pen. As well as shape cutouts that are made of wood, fiber board, paper, or fabric. I embrace simple gestures. My typical subject matter is abstract focusing on the “activity” of marks rather than an image.

Marisa Boyd

Marisa Boyd

 Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
For two years I have been developing a personal drawing practice that engages me to seek a space within myself. Creating “Closed Eye” drawings is meditative that focuses on silence and my ability to see, hear, and feel my surroundings. I wait for the after image behind my eyelids to disappear, then I seek out shapes and specific colors. My closed eye drawings are my primary source material for creating larger works out of plywood, fiberboard, paper, etc. I cut into the drawings to create a hole and have a whole shape remaining.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I tend to plan too much, I set far too many goals instead of focusing on one or two things to work on. I have had a sketchbook project in my mind for the past month that I can’t wait to get the time to complete. In addition, my goal is to create as many paper drawing/ paintings as possible. I hope to find some material that will speak to me in a way that urges me to use my jigsaw to cut it into a shape with beveled edges. I am bringing a collection of velvet fabrics that are waiting to be the covering of a shape or used as a atmospheric ground.

Work by Marisa Boyd

Work by Marisa Boyd

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
I call it my “sharp tool,” although I believe it is for printmaking. I stumbled upon it at the DickBlick outlet in Galesburg, IL. This tool lead me to a revelation with my work. I began to scratch lines into paper and tear it creating sharp openings. The lines became an outline for cutting out a shape around the contour of the drawing.

Q: Do you collect anything?
I collect a variety of objects. My rock collection began at an early age and I still have the same jar containing the rocks from when I was a child. I look at the ground often when I walk, which leads me to collecting natural objects and photographs of them with their surroundings. The strangest thing I collect is lint from when I dry my clothes in the dryer. I began doing this in the beginning of 2017 thinking about my body and what covers it. I held attachment to lint because of the various colors of fibers and the shape it makes.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
Eva Hesse is my favorite artist. Her approach to Abstract Expression inspires me to not reject that label. The artwork existed in that realm while also developing into something of its own. Her persistence is an inspiration to me. I love that she explored drawing, painting and sculpture. During the last five years of her life, she produced so many incredible works of art. I have traveled to the MoMA, Seattle Art Museum, and Milwaukee Art Museum to see her artwork in person.

"Vital" by Marisa Boud

“Vital” by Marisa Boud

Q: What’s next for you?
Simply put…a road trip back to Illinois.

Q: Where else can we find you?
I can be found on Instagram @artsymars and at www.marisaboyd.com

Meet the Artist in Residence: Kelly Clare

Kelly Clare, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the months of January and February 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Kelly some questions about her work and studio practice:

Kelly Clare

Kelly Clare

Q: Tell us about your background
Right now I live in Benzie County, the smallest county in Michigan. It has only one full stoplight. Midwinter, there’s a frozen turkey bowling tournament on the ice, right out on the lake. I studied both creative writing and art at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where there is also a lot of ice, but more stoplights, and an incredibly generous group of faculty and students. I spent the last year there as a Post Baccalaureate Fellow managing a letterpress shop.

tork, woodblock, 2 x 3, 2017

tork, woodblock, 2 x 3, 2017

Q: How would you describe your work?
Most of my work pursues a longer predicament. In thinking about language, for example, I often struggle with its collective nature—how can I use “carpet” when senators are suggesting “carpet bombing”; what do I do when the thing I love is used in both impossibly kind and impossibly cruel ways, and what is my responsibility as a participant in this human project.

from RAW DREADFUL CRAZE, 2016, an installation. Each word of a speech given by then potential Republican nominee Ted Cruz was affixed to a pin. Over the course of a few days, participants were asked to reorder words, allowed to reinstall and possibly salvage the language anywhere they’d like.

from RAW DREADFUL CRAZE, 2016, an installation. Each word of a speech given by then potential Republican nominee Ted Cruz was affixed to a pin. Over the course of a few days, participants were asked to reorder words, allowed to reinstall and possibly salvage the language anywhere they’d like.

08_Clare

At the same time, words have a physical, tangible echo to them when they’re spoken, drawn, molded out of lead, poured out in pancake batter. We absorb their vibrations, eat them as crackers, rearrange them so please gets to be elapse and asleep. There’s something playful there, but also almost holy. A pile of pretzels gets to be wheat and salt—miraculously harvested, ground up, cooked in giant ovens, packaged and shipped worldwide—but at the same time spells out I was and I was / whirling feathers, either bird — / Every hunger / is first century, lines from “Keats is Coughing” by Marianne Boruch. The shape gets to be two things, many things, at once.

Thank you, Grace Paley, installation, 2017

Thank you, Grace Paley, installation, 2017

To my mind, a lot of my work is built on a sort of serious play. Often, even when I’m not thinking about language, about the anagram, I’m invoking that sort of endless possible undo and redo in whatever medium I’m holding onto—printmaking, the essay, installations, sculpture, fibers, drawing, the poem. And I think, as an artist, I’m still getting my legs. I hope to spend most of my life getting my hands dirty like this.

here’s to you, charlotte the sky, 2017

here’s to you, charlotte the sky, 2017

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I don’t know if I have a single, stable process. I show up, I think, mostly, or I try to. Some of my work functions in response to some long, articulable thought, something I can point to and say this anchorable fact is what I’ve been circling around all this time. Some of my work, especially more recent sculptures and drawings, come from impulse. Which isn’t to say they’re not deeply grounded in experience and gathered thought, but they’re much harder to talk about. I can tell you what paint, what sweater, what piece of wood, where the dirt came from, and I could sit with you for a very long time sorting through what the piece is doing successfully or unsuccessfully. I think there is more than one way to cross a river, and sometimes you’re tunneling underneath.

you wouldn't stop glowing, 2017

you wouldn’t stop glowing, 2017

Q: Who are your favorite artists and why?
The list is very long, and includes just as many writers as artists. Mary Ruefle, Eula Biss, and Marilynne Robinson have all been essential in shaping how I think of the world—there’s this thoroughness, integrity, and sometimes delight there in those essays and novels. And I have loved too many poets to name. Ralph Angel, Marianne Boruch, Heather Christle, Carl Phillips. James Tate. C.D. Wright. I feel like I’m writing a thank you note and forgetting everyone. I mean, I wouldn’t be myself without a whole summer of just reading Carole Maso. Or the time I’ve spent listening to Lorrie Moore, Don Delilo, Grace Paley. Not to mention my incredible friends and the faculty I’ve worked with.

straggler, 2016

straggler, 2016

It’s the same with artists. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Jen Bervin and Ann Hamilton’s respective bodies of work, their longer thoughts. I love Nina Katchadourian, Sarah Sze, Jessica Stockholder. I love Pedro Reyes piece, Palas por Pistolas, which I think is a brilliant instance of material transformation. The Fluxus movement and Rirkrit Tiravanija’s pad thai. Doris Salcedo, and Cathy Park Hong’s essay responding to her retrospective.

Everyone I gravitate towards thinks along different lines, but throughout there’s a longer, insistent pressure in their work, even when it’s incredibly playful. And I often think of them speaking to each other, across discipline, time, distance, movement. If you asked, I would draw you a little map.

The Work Is / The New York Times, 2015. Print project encompassing the entirety of one copy of the October 11, 2015 edition of the New York Times. After blackout poems were made from the news articles, the newspaper itself was shredded and remade into over 90 small booklets. Each booklet was printed with the blackout poems.

The Work Is / The New York Times, 2015. Print project encompassing the entirety of one copy of the October 11, 2015 edition of the New York Times. After blackout poems were made from the news articles, the newspaper itself was shredded and remade into over 90 small booklets. Each booklet was printed with the blackout poems.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I have a few threads I’ve been working on lately, playing with tactility and language, and I hope to stage an installation or two. I would like to continue my reading, drawing, and writing practices, but more than anything else I’m going to try to give myself permission to throw my efforts into serious play, into following the idea, the object, wherever it takes me. To listen in, and hard.

sprint / spring, 2017

sprint / spring, 2017

Q: What’s next for you?
After another summer in Northern Michigan, I hope to settle into an MFA program, fingers crossed.

 Q: Where else can we find you?
kellyclare.weebly.com


Kelly is leading two workshops during her residency at Main Street Arts: paper marbling on Saturday, January 20  and Japanese stab binding on Saturday, February 17. Sign up through the online gallery shop