CONVERSATION WITH THE ARTIST

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What is currently your favorite:

Website:  http://www.theartstory.org/artist-kiefer-anselm.htm
Work of Art: Too many to mention but here are a few.   Keeping in mind that I can provide equally long lists for music and literature if asked.

  • Bellini's  - St. Francis in he Desert
  • Picasso's - Guernica
  • Rauschenberg's - Bed
  • Bourgeois's - One and Others
  • Brancusi's - The Kiss
  • Soutine, Rothko, DeKooning, Guston, Duchamp, Bontecou, Klimt, Gaudi, DeChirico, Klee, Beuys, Cornell, Auerbach, Keifer . . . as you can tell I could spend a lot of time expanding this list

Piece of advice:  
When in doubt, don't. Advice given to me by mentor Lester Johnson with regard to my working process. It has been invaluable over the years in preventing me from poor (excessive) aesthetic choices. 

What one item would you grab if your house were on fire?
Pants . . . well, after my glasses. . .  which would be paramount in acquiring said pants.

Do you collect anything? 
Other Detroit-based artists and some that are now transplants. Our collection is quite diverse and offers much impetuous during time spent at home.

Was there an artist you admired that inspired you to be an artist yourself?
Early mentors and later supporters of my work include Joseph Bernard, Lester Johnson and Charles McGee. I also have a great affinity for the new york school of the 50's and 60's. DeKooning and Rothko have always been held in high esteem.

Is there a particular local artist whose work you admire?
Actually those same mentors (Bernard, Johnson and McGee) along with working peers such as Robert Edwards, Kip Kowalski, Richard Mylenek, Rick Vian, Sharen Que, Kare Silvio, Gary Elienko and many others. There are many who have migrated but still remain Detroiters to me, including Nelson Smith and James Chatlain.

What themes do you tend to pursue in your work?
In essence that is the crux of my concern in all my art activities. I prefer to explore cross-pollinated themes and those which lend themselves to multiple interpretation. Some include; architecture, landscape architecture, all sciences including but not limited to biology, geology, botany, chemistry and sub-atomic theory as well as physics. I also have absolutely no hesitation in merging such themes with notions of popular culture, language and symbology or trivial occurrences experienced as a solitary human living amongst a plethora of like and non-like beings. I'm not beyond puns or overt sensual or sexual reference.

Where are you finding inspiration for those themes these days?
Of late it's been thematic notions of germination, neuro-biology, DNA/genome mapping, information dissemination and general human and animal phenomena.

Is there a single habit that you strongly believe contributes to your success as an artist?
Be in the studio everyday and keep working. Being an artist is a vocation not just a job, this is what I always intended to devote my life. I've been very fortunate to have had the ability to always carve out my time to the studio process.

How do you feel about the art market / scene in Detroit?  Have you seen a shift in the last few years? 
I try not to get involved in the art market per-se but am encouraged by the large numbers of artist who have always found Detroit a creative base of development. I think there's talent here that rivals any in the world and there are many struggles and socioeconomic issues that Detroit artist face that makes their work that more passionate and genuine.

What are you looking forward to most about the upcoming exhibition:  Echoes?
Showing with Paula Schubatis and John McLaughlin is a great opportunity to create a dialogue amongst 3 different sensibilities who share a deep inherent approach to application and methodology. It's always a joy to exhibit with such like-minded creatives.

How does your work fit into that title?
ECHOES is an ideal mantra for all three of us I feel. I know in my own approach I am constantly interested in repeated information. It may exist as radio or vibration waves, digital code or organic cellular growth. This notion of a repeated development has always fascinated me in the dissipation and amplified patterns of such structures. Written language often falls short when speaking about visual and sensual works of art but ECHOES I think is one of those unique terms that has a universal simpatico.