Monday, June 27, 2011

Artist Interview: John Paul Gardner

What is your name: John Paul Gardner

Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist: I received my MFA from the University of Oregon and my BFA from the State University of New York College at Potsdam

What is the style of your pieces: I would classify my style as low tech and simple with great attention to detail.   

What is the medium in which you work: I work with a wide variety of media ranging from room-sized installations made of string and monofilament to intimate 4” x 4” collages.

What started you on your path as an artist: As far back as I can remember I have enjoyed drawing.  I knew that I wanted to be an artist when I was a senior in high school and nothing else interested me enough to do in my free time besides making art. 

What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your
life: Making art allows me to reach a state of calm and relaxation otherwise unobtainable.  

What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in: I love outsider art, especially graphic and illustration based linear works executed by hand.  

Do you have art showings, and if so what are they typically like: I have shown my work nationally with one international exhibition in Sienna Italy.  My exhibitions usually take place in gallery settings, although recently I’ve been experimenting with alternative venues including public interventions and hotel room art shows

Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in: When I make my installations I like to wear athletic clothes to be able to move around quickly; I am usually running up and down a ladder all day. 

What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist? Being poor. 

What is your favorite sandwich of all time: I live on turkey sandwiches.  If I’m lucky there is avacado on it.  

Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they: Currently my wife and I are living in a super tiny apartment.  This has resulted in my smaller collage series of work I have been creating lately. 

Who is your favorite artist alive or dead: I’ve been really into Olafur Eliasson’s work lately.  He has an amazing ability to make the natural and synthetic worlds co-exist in harmony within a space.  He makes beautiful, conceptually engaging and technically astonishing work.
What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in person: The most moving piece of artwork I’ve seen is a painting by my talented wife Erin Gardner.  The piece entitled The Point at Which I Let Go is a deeply layered work that includes a realistic rendering of a fire tower being softened by the surrounding atmosphere of orange, yellow and brown hues.  There is something about the imagery and color palette that resonates within in. 

Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work:  My very large cat loves my linear installation studies.  He plays with the hundreds of strings hanging from the ceiling and walls or our apartment.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share with us: I am currently featured in my first Museum Exhibition at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center curated by Christine Temin. 

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