Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-vi

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xiv

First, I thank the artists. They wrote by far the greater part of this book. They took a collective leap of faith, submitting written interviews to a person unknown to almost all of them—a person with a vision, but no promise of, a book. Most invited me into their homes or studios, and for that I must thank their significant others as well. Many suggested other artists to consider, and some led me through their exhibitions or invited me to their presentations. Some gave me catalogues or other books. It has been a pleasure getting to know each of them and their work better....

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-8

The past century of art history has witnessed a revolution in the use of found materials, sparked by Picasso’s (fig. 1) and Braque’s 1912 forays into cut and pasted papers. Duchamp would soon follow suit with his “readymades” of found objects. A world of materials found comfortable homes in Dada, Surrealism, Arte Povera, Fluxus, Land Art, Installation Art, Conceptualism, and other movements and trends. Anything and everything was potentially a medium of art. While drawing, painting, and carved, modeled, or cast sculpture continue to thrive, found materials are ubiquitous and their use is second nature to contemporary artists....

read more

Margaret Adie

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 9-11

Q Why are you making your own people?
A Several years ago, shortly after my daughter left for school, my relationship with my husband ended after thirty-two years. Suddenly I found myself alone in a house that had always shared the comings and goings of others. I have long been a collector of objects that attracted me through their craftsmanship and beauty. Even when an object no longer has a function, there is often a remarkable beauty tied to the craftsmanship that went into the design, based on its original purpose. It makes sense that...

read more

Helen Altman

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 12-13

Q What survives of your show at the Galveston Arts Center, devastated by Hurricane Ike? How have you coped?
A I lost a lot of important pieces in that show. Many of the larger blankets were made by companies which no longer exist and individuals who have retired or who have shut down. The technology has changed and you can’t get replacements. I tell myself that the pieces lost were not living things. I typically make art with the idea that it has a lifetime, a limited time on earth, the same way I do. These pieces just didn’t...

read more

Celia Álvarez Muñoz

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 14-16

Q Why do you call yourself a conceptual artist? If conceptualism privileges ideas, why do you seem to insist on such a high level of craft?
A I think somebody else attached that label, and it sounded good. Though, I admit, ideas are the drivers, and I favor following and unraveling and embellishing them, pulling them as far apart as I can to almost a breaking point. Irony is an excellent tool, too.
That’s the gig with fine-tuning. I love finely crafted stuff and have deep respect for materials and tools....

read more

The Art Guys

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 17-21

Q What have you learned from The Art Guys Marry a Tree?
A Because it’s an ongoing project (we’re still married to the tree), I’m still learning. Please note: correct title is The Art Guys Marry A Plant.

Q In broad terms, how has your view of “the art world” changed over the years?
A In responding to this question, I think it’s important to understand what the term “art world” is. It’s commonly used to reference that highly specialized culture that involves museums, museum professionals, galleries, collectors, art journals, etc....

read more

Frances Bagley

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 22-24

Q What are the synergies of joint projects with your husband Tom Orr? What have been some favorite collaborations? Since your studios are adjacent (and may even overlap), how much of Tom is in your work (and vice versa)?
A The main reason Tom and I work well together is because we have tremendous respect for each other. Additionally we have certain basic similarities in our aesthetics and in our character, even though our work looks very different and our personalities seem very different. We are both extremely responsible, almost to a fault, and never want to feel that we are being unfair. Consequently, we...

read more

Karin Broker

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 25-27

Q Your raw materials range from the mass-produced (antique tins, dress patterns, costume jewelry, and postage stamps) to the unique (personal letters, children’s drawings, and salvaged paintings). What has the world gained, and what has it lost, by your appropriation and alteration of these materials? Are there limits to what you would alter?
A I’ve kept some interesting items out of the trash. Recycling is not new, but I think that I’ve tried to retain some of the sincerity of the pieces before they were lost to a somewhat newer generation. My letters, although they hold meaning for me, would also have been lost since I don’t have any immediate heirs. Again, their meaning needed to be preserved or at least recycled....

read more

Maureen Brouillette

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 28-30

Q Would you have become an artist without the example of your father, Al Brouillette? Explain. What is his legacy?
A Probably. I think there is a genetic component to all of this. By the age of three or four, I was fascinated by visual images and excited by them. Mostly book and record album covers. My parents often took me with them to book stores and record stores to browse and occasionally buy. It was their idea of a good time. Mine, too. I also remember having to take a nap every afternoon when I was three, four, and five. I distinctly remember lying in bed and thinking how beautiful the light from the...

read more

Steve Brudniak

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 31-34

Q Why do you call yourself a Surrealist? Why haven’t Surrealism and other “isms” and movements necessarily been superseded by the next big thing?
A From the time of my childhood I have had a way of looking at things, describing things to myself, that didn’t seem to mesh with the way others around me create associations. Places have a feel that might correspond to a person or object for me. Numbers and letters all have a distinct color in my mind (something I use as a memory device). I think my capacity for subconscious referencing of events and things might just be a bit extravagant...

read more

Margarita Cabrera

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 35-37

Q In your soft sculptures, what do the sagging forms and dangling thread ends represent? Why have you often incorporated rigid, industrially produced elements into the soft sculptures?
A The pieces have an anthropomorphic feel to them, as I am trying to represent the body of a person both emotionally and physically. The seams and the threads are purposely left exposed to reveal the making process, because in the actual maquiladoras the making and people are so often made invisible, especially to their American consumers....

read more

Eugene W. R. Campbell Jr.

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 38-39

Q Describe the move from realism to abstraction in your painting.
A Realism is the style which I was taught in school. I had very little exposure to abstraction. Upon graduation, I began studying myriads of artists and that in turn exposed me to the thought of branching out past illustrating an object exactly as it is. I have since been flirting with this nonrepresentational style but have not completely crossed over to complete abstraction....

read more

Danville Chadbourne

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 40-45

Q What is it like to have so large and flexible a space as Gallery Nord in San Antonio for a solo show?
A I really like doing exhibitions. It is a chance to see the work in a more formal environment than the studio and an opportunity to control the presentation. It also allows me to establish certain relationships that might not happen otherwise. I’m very selfish about this control, and I always prefer one-person exhibitions. I also like to do the exhibition design and installation myself whenever possible. The only other person I really trust to work with me is my wife, Diana [Roberts]. She has an incredible sense of presentation and really understands my work from the inside. She also ran an art center for almost eight years and has had a lot of experience....

read more

Claire Cusack

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 46-47

Q Why soap dishes?
A The soap dish sculptures are a result of a Central American truck-stop experience. On the visit to the outhouse I was left to ponder on the thought, hmmm... would it be better to cleanse or not?

Q What led you to become an artist? What were your first artworks? A I grew up in an art gallery. I was always surrounded by art and have always been attracted to the natural beauty in the elements of nature. My first artworks were out of rocks found hiking in New Mexico....

read more

Robert Dampier

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 48-50

Q What drove you to take your toys apart as a child? How did this foreshadow your future as an artist?
A My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, so taking apart old toys and using parts from items that were going into the trash, I made new ones. Making my own toys was about using my imagination, and using what I had available. Every kid in the neighborhood had the newest toy, but not every kid had a robot made from an old deodorant bottle and pipe cleaners. Using the materials and found objects around me has been a natural part of my creative process from the very beginning....

read more

Roberto del Rio

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 51-53

Q Why did you tape your toys to the wall as a child?
A Where I used to live as a child there was a lot of construction taking place. They were building homes, and after the workers went home, I used to go into those houses and I started taping things and putting all my toys inside concrete walls. Specifically why? I don’t know, but ever since I can recall, I’ve been doing that stuff....

read more

Martin Delabano

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 54-57

Q Why did you give David McManaway a mummified crocodile in a glass tube? What became of it?
A I had known David and his work seemingly all my life, but this was the first time I had invited him over for coffee for some younger artist/older artist conversation. I gave it to him as a welcome-to-my-studio gift. David was very excited about it. Later he turned around and gave it to another artist. Sort of like this idea of a mummified crocodile making the rounds....

read more

Vernon Fisher

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 58-59

Q Why do you like the idea of “correspondences among unlike things”? What are some examples in your work?
A It seems magical, as one might expect, it being a remnant from the prescientific cosmology of the Middle Ages. You see examples all through Shakespeare. You also see it in Leonardo’s Lady with Ermine where the woman and the ermine look an awfully lot alike. In my work, a good example would be the linking of bat with umbrella in Basutoland or the comparison of the structure of the parachute and the seashell in Parrot....

read more

Trenton Doyle Hancock

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 60-61

Q How did growing up with stories in Paris, Texas, influence your direction in life?
A Assuming that by direction in life, you mean becoming an artist, I will say the accumulation of stories I inherited from Paris amounted mostly to cautionary tales. I learned what not to do in order to lead a virtuous life. Half of those things I did anyways, because artists don’t necessarily lead virtuous lives. At least the interesting ones don’t. Paris had little to do with my want or need to be an artist. The town itself didn’t necessarily promote that as a direction. I credit my family...

read more

Vincent Hannemann

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 62-65

Q How long have you been doing this?
A Since eighty-nine.

Q Eighty-nine. And what inspired you to start?
A Oh, yeah, that’s the million-dollar question. Wish I had some simple pat answer for that really, but this is just what I’ve been doin’ ever since I was a kid, one way or another. I’m just playing in the backyard now. And in addition, I’ve basically chosen a path of being an artist. Everything else I’ve done in my life for money has been just kinda to support my artistic whatever, you know....

read more

Ann Harithas

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 66-68

Q How was Victoria, Texas, conducive to your growth as an artist?
A The most important influences have been the art classes I took for years until I reached age sixteen. The second was my relationship with Madeline O’Connor, a Victoria artist who mentored many important artists of the time....

read more

Dana Harper

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 69-70

Q How does your 2011 show at Hiram Butler Gallery look to the past, and how does it look inside you?
A Basically, my collages are made the old-fashioned way, with a knife and glue. The old magazines I use as source material inevitably reference their origins in early and mid-twentieth-century European and American culture and history. Other signifiers of the past are the old paper that the collages are cut from, their black and white tones, as well as the inhabitants’ perfect hair styles and formal dress. The juxtapositions between compositional elements...

read more

Joseph Havel

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 71-72

Q Why should you be an artist now? What does it mean to be an artist now?
A The answer to this is probably different for different people. I still like to think that being an artist has a function or multiple functions. Creating a tangible link between the present moment and a historical cultural past that can be intimately experienced by individuals seems like a good one. I also think artists represent the risk of being present, synthesizing emotional, intellectual, and physical worlds into a tangible experience that ideally is not in service of the larger mechanisms of a capital economy where most risk is for profit....

read more

Tracy Hicks

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 73-76

Q Why do frogs loom so large in your art and your consciousness? Do you still collect frogs?
A Vulnerability! Mortality is inevitable.
While we accept the cycles of life as a basic premise, through most of our lives we feel invulnerable and choose to ignore changes within the cycles of life.
Frogs are one group of animals that closely mimic our evolution from egg to birth. So they have become a basic learning and teaching tool for anatomy and genetics. Frogs’ eggs are large, easy to see with low magnification, and so are often used to correlate the human development...

read more

Paul Horn

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 77-78

Q Growing up in Tomball, what led you to become an artist? Where did you receive your education in art?
A I’ve got a wonderful story. Starting from when I was four in the doctor’s office making drawings of the art on the wall to escape my suffocation anxiety, to tracing Garbage Pail Kids in the eighth grade, my favorite time for making art was junior high. Art was a different endeavor then. Art wasn’t classified and institutionalized then. It was my only escape from algebra, English, and other rigid activities. It wasn’t a CV, it wasn’t a genre. It was a thirteen-year-old’s cave painting. In a strange, unknown world....

read more

Otis Huband

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 79-80

Q “I used to be a connoisseur of shopping bags.” Your words sound like a great opening line for a novel. What did you see in shopping bags?
A All brown paper shopping bags are usually brown, but they vary and some are thicker, or darker, and some have little darker freckles scattered in. It is like choosing the best hide with which to upholster your sofa; the lines of the sofa must go with the hide and finish....

read more

Christopher Hynes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 81-82

Q How did growing up in Washington, DC, contribute to your growth as an artist?
A I went to the museums my whole life. When I was young my parents took me to the National Gallery of Art, Freer [Gallery of Art], Phillips [Collection], Hirshhorn [Museum], and all the local galleries down on P Street....

read more

Barbara Irwin

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 83-84

Q You say you’ve been an artist all your life. What do you mean?
A My life has been an ongoing work in progress. Whether it’s through the different jobs that I have held or whether it’s through my everyday life, which means pulling weeds, cooking a meal, or creating art. Everything has been done in an artistic way....

read more

Joy Jenkins

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 85-88

Q Whence comes your taste for baroque profusion?
A One definition for art is the human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature. I believe that in all of us is the ability to create art, and that we all do it in different forms. In the year 2013 there is not much under the sun that has not already been done, and some of the most beautiful art and design that I have seen from the baroque period and before could never be out-done. It is my inspiration because [artists then] had less to work with and could create magnificent art that had to...

read more

Norman Kary

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 89-92

Q Why do you like your studio “a little messy”?
A Some people may see my studio as messy and unkempt, but my work dictates that I have a variety of materials at any given time scattered around me; that is how I make unexpected associations. The seemingly random array of objects, pictures, scraps of metal, wood, and other assorted flotsam becomes my palette to select from. I am, however, not one of those artists who can’t throw anything away. In the process of transforming my objects or images it becomes necessary to discard the clutter. The leftover residue is something that I like to keep around for a while. It lies on my studio floor. The apparently discarded discards may be used later in another work. I like to challenge myself sometimes to be able to create work strictly from these leftovers....

read more

Mimi Kato

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 93-95

Q Talk about the astonishing complexity and size of One Ordinary Day of an Ordinary Town (2009–10). What are the dimensions? How many times do you appear as a figure in it? How difficult was it to create? What was Hare and Hound Press’s role?
A The process usually starts off with drawing the background where the narratives occur. The drawings contain locations based on my memories of places in the past. The narratives can come before the drawing or vice versa. After deciding the narratives, I sew costumes and props for the characters, sometimes collecting items from thrift...

read more

Sharon Kopriva

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 96-97

Q What did it mean to be included in the exhibition and catalogue Fresh Paint: The Houston School in 1985? At the time, and in retrospect, did it seem an accurate view of the main tendencies in Houston art? What, if any, trend(s) do you see in Houston art today?
A Fresh Paint jump-started careers for young artists who were lucky enough to be selected into the exhibition. Most of the core group were my classmates from the art department at the University of Houston, recent graduates, 1981, 1982, etc. The show was conceived by Barbara...

read more

Laura Jean Lacy

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 98-100

Q How did growing up in Washington, DC, contribute to your social consciousness and growth as an artist?
A I grew in the heart of black academia in Washington, DC, where my father worked at Howard University. Living at Howard University, I was introduced to the philosophical thoughts, writings, and art of African American intelligentsia such as Alan Locke and W. E. B. Dubois. I was raised in a family that understood the importance of exposure to history, art, and culture. I attended the King Smith Art School, where I studied visual arts, music, dance, and piano. I saw images created by black artists at Howard University and the local YMCA and also enjoyed going to the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian. All of this impacted me in the early years of my life. All this provided the impetus for my journey to become a visual artist....

read more

Marilyn Lanfear

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 101-103

Q What did you collect as a child? How have your collections changed over the years? When did you realize that your collections could become art?
A I collected everything in nature—shells, from the seashore and from the vacant lot on my way to school (snail variety), seed pods, leaves of different shapes. I still collect those things, but I now also buy things to collect. I think that the collecting of bought (sometimes called “found”) objects became more important when I lived in New York and in Oregon, when my possessions were in storage in San Antonio, my...

read more

Lance Letscher

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 104-105

Q Why do you use books and ephemera destined for (or already in) the trash heap?
A Mostly for the quality of wear and sense of human touch. The patina of human touch.

Q Your collages tend to share an obsessive quality with the work of certain self-taught artists. Is the compulsion to fill every available space literally a “fear of emptiness” (horror vacui)?
A No, it is more about interiority. Sometimes I think of the pieces as mental landscapes, diagrammatic illustrations of thought or representations of a chaotic and dysfunctional inner life....

read more

Ken Little

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 106-110

Q How did painting with your grandmother as a child determine your future course? What became of your earliest drawings and paintings?
A Growing up in Amarillo, Texas, in the forties and fifties did not provide me with a lot of role models for what artists could be. There was Walt Disney on television, Norman Rockwell on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, Pablo Picasso inside Life magazine, and Winky Dink on TV with my very own “draw on the screen” acetate.
Almost all of the artists who existed in the Texas Panhandle were basically Western artists who painted cowboys, horses, windmills, old boots, saddles, and other things of a very nostalgic nature....

read more

Bert L. Long Jr.

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 111-114

You see all the doors out there? Well, that is the Bolivar Project.

Q Bolivar? A Yeah. It has to do with Hurricane Ike. When we went down to Bolivar when Hurricane Ike hit, six months afterwards, I couldn’t believe it was like a war zone. Six months later and the government just started to get it cleaned up because you know our governor Perry closed it down; they said we’re not gonna let this be another Katrina. So they kept the press out and everybody out for months before you could go in. But then when the press was allowed in, there were no dead cows. We know there...

read more

Jesse Lott

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 115-116

Q As a child growing up in Louisiana, why was it important to you to get the attention of grownups? How did you get their attention?
A It is my opinion that all children seek approval from adult caretakers.

Q How was the limb you found that looked like a soldier important? What became of it?
A The toy soldier from The Nutcracker was always a popular image. When I saw a knot in a stick of firewood that looked just like it, a light bulb came on [he draws the image of a lightbulb in the air]....

read more

Edward Lane McCartney

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 117-120

Q During our walk through Dignity and Impudence, your 2010 show at Goldesberry Gallery in Houston, I was most surprised to hear you say, “I am not attached to my work at all. Once I’ve made it, I’m done with it.” This despite the meticulous craftsmanship and very personal experiences out of which your work often grows. Explain.
A People are often surprised by my lack of attachment to my own work. Ever present is the emotional attachment to a good piece that I’ve created, the time, the care, the craftsmanship, even the personal relationship during its evolution, the problem solving, the editing, and eventually its final finish. For that, I can revisit a photograph....

read more

Mary McCleary

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 121-123

Q You have often used self, family, and loved ones as models. To what extent is your art autobiographical? To what extent is it expressionist?
A It may be impossible to make art that is not in some way autobiographical, even if it’s just a record of the time and place in which one lives. My work is never consciously about me. I’d rather draw my subject matter from history, literature, and science—branches of learning that help me explore aspects of the world and human behavior.
For years I’ve questioned the advice well-meaning art teachers give to kids and young artists to “express themselves.” This is a dead end. Unless you are doing art for therapy, it’s better to look beyond yourself. I am finite, and if were just focusing on expressing myself, I would run out of material in fifteen to twenty minutes....

read more

Leila McConnell

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 124-126

Q Why, and for how long, did you study architecture at Rice? How has that informed your work as a painter and collage artist?
A When I started at Rice in 1943 there was no art department. So architecture being the next closest thing, that’s what I studied. It was a very good background for art: freehand drawing (learning to see), design, watercolor, art and architectural history.
It informed my work in every way, and James Chillman had the most influence on me of all my teachers. He taught all the classes mentioned above, and I am forever grateful.
It hadn’t occurred to me until recently, but I’ve always been interested in space, and from 1960 on I’ve called my paintings “sky paintings.” From architecture, I suppose, the space in a room, outside, or in the sky has interested me....

read more

Kelly O'Connor

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 127-128

Q What do you mean by “calcification” of objects? How do you employ this concept?
A I like to think of calcifications as remains of the past. They occur on objects, people, and environments in my work. Many of the characters I use are archetypes from fiction. I create this look of calcification to emphasize their timeless nature. Some of the visual indicators of calcification are stalactites, crystals, and other mineral-like formations.

Q You focused on installation art in your education at the University of Texas. Was that a personal choice, or were art students encouraged to take that direction? Where has it led?...

read more

Mari Omori

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 129-130

Q The tea bags in many of your works are an obvious bow to your Japanese ancestry. What other Japanese influences come into play? Are aspects of your work distinctly American, even Texan?
A During the early eighties, the period of my undergraduate and graduate studies, I wanted to be an American artist. Looking back, it was perhaps my desire to assimilate and blend into America. Relocating to Houston in 1992 prompted a moment of reflection, and I began looking at things from two cultural perspectives: not as Japanese, not as American, but both....

read more

Kathleen Packlick

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 131-133

Q Talk about the art contest you won at age six. Describe your winning entry. What did you win?
A When I was six years old, I entered my first art contest. The contest was sponsored by The Friendly Fireman TV show. The instructions were to incorporate the label of a Junket Rennet Custard box in the artwork. I did a collage using the custard label as a water trough, and I drew a pink horse running to it. My prize was an Argus 35mm camera. My parents kept the camera in their closet. I got to use it only on special occasions. I liked to take pictures of my sister Marcia, my brother Tom, and our cat, George....

read more

Angelica Paez

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 134-135

Q Have you always been a collector?
A Yes, since childhood. I collected things like paper dolls, comic books, stamps, and old toys. I still have many of them today.

Q How have your collections changed over the years?
A Not much has changed. I think I still collect the same way I did as a kid, with the exception of a few adult additions to the roster like vintage photos, artwork, and furniture.

Q Were you always artistic?
A Yes. I can’t remember not doing something creative....

read more

Kevin Parmer

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 136-138

Q Why are images of women—usually with masked faces—so prevalent in your work?
A I suppose the use of predominately women in my work stems from past relationships and the idea of feeling that you can get to know someone closely, yet sometimes you discover that there may be an entirely different side to a person’s personality which can remain hidden for an indefinite period of time.

Q What inspired your first collage? When was this?
A The very first collages I made were in the late eighties and were basically cassette tape covers for mix tapes I made for friends. I started making collages as art in 2008. The first I made in 2008 was basically images cut from art magazines and reassembled to form an almost narrative image....

read more

Forrest Prince

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 139-141

Q Tell me about your upcoming show.
A [Jim] Harithas at the Station Museum is giving me a show. I’m always grateful when my work is shown.

Q Are you creating new work specifically for it?
A I can never stop.

Q Never stop. Why is that?
A I’m driven.

Q What drives you?
A Inner spirit. Spirit. That’s the deal. I’m led in everything I do. Everyone would be if they turned within to the Holy Spirit and followed where they were led, which would include not eating animals....

read more

Russell Prince

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 142-143

Q What compelled you to start making collages in 1996?
A I’ve strolled antique shops and picked through junk stores since I was a teen. On occasion, I’d discover a cache of papers—old letters, sheet music, family photos, pamphlets, bills, menus, a scrap of wallpaper—it’s amazing the remnants that people hold onto. At some point, I decided to use such materials in collages, but it wasn’t until ’96 that I put desire into action....

read more

Dario Robleto

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 144-146

Q Why do you call yourself a materialist poet?
A I have always struggled with the question of defining what my practice is. Since I have such a varied background of passions and pursuits, it has always been a challenge to settle on a title. I realized one day that “artist” seemed the best umbrella to put all those things under, but over the years, even that has not felt completely correct. This has always been a fruitful mental game for me and has actual studio implications. For example, I have asked myself in the past, “What if today I am a storyteller?” or “What if today I am an alchemist?”...

read more

Aaron Roe

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 147-148

Q What do you remember drawing as a child? Who encouraged you? Do you still have some early artworks?
A I remember drawing cartoon characters earliest, probably. In the elementary school years it was spaceships, battle scenes, cars, Star Wars themes, and schoolwork—pretty typical boyhood drawings. The Christmas crafts were always fun with the glitter and cotton balls.
My parents and grandparents saw I had a talent for drawing and were encouraging. However, drawing also got me in trouble at school when I should have been doing my work. I’ve always been a bit of a daydreamer....

read more

Jonathan Rosenstein

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 149-150

Q Why do you identify yourself as an Abstract Expressionist? What do you have in common with the first generation Abstract Expressionists?
A My work I define as Abstract Expressionist action sculpture because I feel that there is a kinetic energy and resonance between the elements. I use sculptural elements much like Pollock or de Kooning used paint: to create my own iconography, resonance, and light.
My use of found or consumer objects as elements in my sculpture, randomly placed, makes what I do much like John Chamberlain or Mark di Suvero, whom I strongly identify with. Abstract Expressionist painters and sculptors employ elements in their work to express raw emotion and conceptual content....

read more

John Mark Sager

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 151-153

Q What qualities do you look for in a book you plan to alter? Where do you find your books?
A Sometimes I find old books whose titles appeal to me, that trigger some response which might lead to a juxtaposition of ideas. I glue the pages shut to seal their story, then create my own story. Other times I collect books whose covers are different shades of a color, such as red. I find my books at used bookstores, and they find me as hand-me-downs from friends and family....

read more

Joel Sampson

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 154-155

Q You told me that you were always interested in photography. Explain.
A My mother got me a plastic Kodak Brownie Starflash camera with S&H Green Stamps. I developed the 127 black and white film in the basement and made small contact prints. I did not have an enlarger. I studied broadcast and film at Southern Illinois University and got hooked on still photography, which was much less expensive than shooting 16mm film. I also got interested in the history of photography. I owned a portrait and wedding studio in Columbus, Ohio. I later switched to industrial photography and technical writing. I always traveled with a Nikon loaded with Kodachrome 64 and usually a second camera body with black and white Plus-X....

read more

Ward Sanders

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 156-157

Q What inspired you to collect wind? How did you capture it, and what was the artistic result?
A The absurdity of collecting the uncollectable has great appeal. The wind collections have an air (pun intended) of authenticity with their handmade labels and designer-format containers. They are perfect examples of form following function: in this case a deceptive product sold for appearance rather than substance. Dada lives....

read more

Luke Savisky

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 158-162

Q Would you attempt to describe in a few sentences what your artistry involves?
A My approaches to individual works may be conceptually or aesthetically linked but can vary substantially with the structure of the work itself and the context in which it’s presented.
Some 16mm, 35mm, and digital works similar to the project I was invited to do at the Sundance Festival (2005) were a kind of live film performance, with me editing and creating effects and live, heavily layered montages with my hands, using multiple film projectors. This event was combined with a gallery installation with individual kinetic and three-dimensional film sculptures and roaming outdoor guerrilla projection in and around Park City....

read more

Kelly Sears

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 163-164

Q In an email you wrote that your yearbook film Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise “is currently having some fun on the film festival circuit.” What has it enjoyed the most? What keeps it happy?
A It’s been fascinating to hear how people read into this film. Some of them read American history into it and it becomes a cultural critique. Others read moments of their formation of subjectivity as a teenager, shaped by educational institutions. When making this film, I really aimed to collage the bodies and the narrative together in a way where the audience had to actively participate in making sense of the story and thereby make it their own story. As for what I was thinking about when I was putting it together, I hear part of it in lots of different interpretations....

read more

Al Souza

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 165-166

Q How has your training as an engineer influenced your work as an artist?
A Although I got a BS in civil engineering and worked as an aeronautical engineer for three years, I was never really an engineer. I was more interested in the nonfunctional use of materials. I was more interested in what something looked like when it was destroyed than when it was built....

read more

Julie Speed

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 167-168

Q What led you to become an artist?
A I’ve always drawn, painted, and made things. I’ve almost always known that I would be an artist. My first and second career choices were caveman and pirate. I think I was around six or seven when I realized that wasn’t going to happen. So I settled for artist. At around age thirty I was able to begin working in the studio full-time. Before that I had to work other jobs also.

Q What led you to Marfa after many years in Austin?
A Driving west without a plan was a fairly regular mental-health fix for me. On one such trip we ended up in Marfa and happened to be sitting in the car in front of a real estate office when we noticed a man standing in the middle of the main street of town. He was officiously stopping every truck and car and carefully directing them around a dinner-plate-size tarantula that was crossing the road. So we went into the real estate office and bought a house....

read more

James Michael Starr

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 169-172

Q Your 2010 show at Hooks-Epstein in Houston was titled Stranger in a Strange Land. What is the connection to Robert Heinlein’s novel of the same name and to Moses’ words in Exodus, the source of Heinlein’s title?
A I’ve chosen not to allow my titles to steer anyone to a particular interpretation of my work. On the other hand, I have the sense that, however spontaneous it seems to be, the work is an expression of some thought or idea in me and that it must have some significance, else I wouldn’t be so driven in a particular direction in almost every piece. So to deny there is some meaning would be dishonest. It’s just that whatever does happen to be represented is so personal, it’s not only likely to be irrelevant to the next person, it also seems almost an act of inappropriate intimacy to share it with just anyone....

read more

Henry Stein

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 173-174

Q In the catalogue to your 1991 show at Blue Star, Dave Hickey dubbed you “Henri Eureka.” How did you feel about that—and about the show he curated?
A Henri Eureka was a name originally given to me by an artist named Dan Withers, a fellow member of a performance group called Ki-Flow-Turtle, which I was involved in during the 1970s. When Dave Hickey became aware of this, he reinstated the name. The show Hickey curated was a major leap for me and my art career. It was a large one-person show at a prestigious art space. The show was arranged and hung superbly by Dave Hickey. All the assemblages had their own wall; and the rear gallery space was devoted to a large collection of map tools. It was very successful, and I was very pleased. Dave Hickey is a pleasure to work with....

read more

Gary Sweeney

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 175-176

Q How did you attempt, in 2003, to rewrite The Story of Civilization?
A The Story of Civilization began with a concept: I was going to rewrite a book using discarded signs. I purposely created an art concept that was going to take a tremendous amount of focus and time, and one that was destined to fail. I knew when I started that I would never be able to complete the project. And then I had to find a book to rewrite. I thought of Ulysses and Gravity’s Rainbow, but determined that the importance of those books would overshadow the message of my work, so I settled on The Story of Civilization [by Will and Ariel Durant]....

read more

Cecil Touchon

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 177-180

Q Were Picasso’s 1912 collages as groundbreaking as they are made out to be? After all, pasting papers to great aesthetic effect goes back at least to medieval Japan.
A Collage and assemblage have been around for many centuries and in many forms all over the world. However, in Western culture, once dominated by painting and stone or bronze sculpture, the introduction of collage and assemblage was a radical shift. It is difficult now, with these new mediums having come fully into their own, for us to imagine what a leap it must have been in 1912 to consider disrupting the purity of the dominant mediums by the inclusion of foreign elements....

read more

Patrick Turk

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 181-183

Q When did you know you wanted to be an artist? When did you know you were an artist?
A I discovered an interest in making art in my early teenage years. By the time I had reached my early to mid-twenties, I feel like I had really begun developing my own voice. It was important to me to be making work that was exciting and impressive. I had developed and discovered some processes, in terms of cutting, constructing, layering, and blending methods, that I really ran with. I felt like my work was becoming more mature and unique. As far as “knowing” about being an artist, I believe that the desire and intention to become an artist are closely associated with actually being an artist. By my twenties I knew that making art was an important part of my life, and that I intended to keep on making art, regardless of...

read more

Janet L. Waldrop

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 184-185

Q When does jewelry become art?
A When it is an expression of your personality.

Q Do you distinguish between art and craft? Explain.
A Art comes from your soul and without words connects you to others. It is about expression, not the technique. Craft can be translated into instructions for others to create.

Q What kinds of found elements go into your jewelry? What’s the most unusual material you’ve used?
A Anything old—the older the better. Favorite: anything that does not have to do with jewelry. Strangest: dentures or bridges....

read more

Debbie Wetmore

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 186-187

Q Your jewelry incorporates everything from shell, stone, coral, and wood, to nails, circuit boards, and bamboo-calendar parts. What have I left out? What materials wouldn’t you use?
A I have also used vintage glass and sequins as well as zipper parts and all kinds of ethnic beads and amulets. Bones also make it in as well as pebbles and even the shell of a crab.

Q How do you see the distinction between art and craft? Is it helpful?
A Personally, I do not respond to this distinction. I find great beauty, reverence, appreciation, and inspiration in even the clothing and objects of value and use in many of the cultures of the world, and the distinction is of little value. It’s in “the eye of the beholder.”...

read more

Steve Wiman

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 188-190

Q Do I detect a reluctance to alter the found objects in your assemblages? You take great care in the selection, arrangement, and display of these collected objects; but you seem to respect the integrity of the objects too much to change their essential nature, even though you have taken them from their original context or (more likely, I suspect) one of a long line of contexts in their lives.
A I do love the objects I use and I do try to honor them in all of their authentic beauty. It is rare that I alter things, but on occasion it is necessary. I love the subtle color that plastics and fabrics acquire with age. There is no way I know to replicate those tones. As I look around my studio, I realize that what turns me on most is patina—genuine, worn surfaces created through years of use or exposure....

Sources and Further Reading

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 191-198

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 199-207