Interview with Garric Simonen
q) Well, first of all please tell us a little about yourself.
a) Thank you for your interest in my work. I can remember drawing from an early age and engaging things that stimulated me visually and metaphorically. Obscure things have always influenced the ways I process information, I suppose I am the type who sees figures in the clouds, or faces in the landscape. My daily life consists of studio time and contemplation. I also love being outdoors with my family and experiencing nature’s wonderful gifts.
q) Had you always planned on being an artist [or had you other hopes]?
a) My Mother and Father were both highly creative, as were their parents. My family’s artistic history has allowed for a unique opportunity to explore my interests as a painter. Right now I am sitting next to a box of my old childhood drawings. My parents saved everything I ever drew on. When I look at these early works I see traces of elements I still use today. That is amazing to me; the idea of holding on to some visual element for that long, unconsciously. I love it.
q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?
a) Lately my materials are what I have found laying around. With the exception of a few tubes of paint here and there, I have really minimilaized my resources. If I see a pencil lying on the ground it becomes part of the collection of things that I use to make marks with. I use primarily oil based products, and have learned quickly that these conditions make for an almighty mess. So I have a little bit of a Jackson Pollock/Francis Bacon thing going on. The supports change from paper to wood panels. Most recently I have been making 60x60inch panels with ¼ birch plywood. The wood is easy to attach things to, which is a large part of the process I am involved with lately.
q) How would you describe your style?
a) I think Squeak Carnwath said; “Good ideas are not made, they are stolen.” I believe that’s a big secret everyone needs to know. My work is a small part of an ancient tradition. There have been so many great painters; Durer, Goya, Manet, Van Gogh, Miro, Braque, Duchamp, de Kooning, Twombly…too many to list. I share a fundamentally simple interest that I think a lot of these painters shared; the idea of surface and layers; not to mention politics, identity, theory, etc.
q) Do you go through any certain processes while trying to produce your work?
a) During the making of a painting, there are very little thoughts in my head. I rely on the experiences I have had, and trust that this knowledge will make new work. Painting sessions can range from a few seconds to several hours, I like to spend time with a painting and study it; I like knowing specifically what is happening to it.
q) What are you working on at present?
a) I have stumbled into a project using patterns and text. It was an idea from a sketchbook, which is highly irregular for me. I choose a word that can be delineated into larger words that mean similar things, or evoke similar ideas. There are cascading stacks of words that form quasi polygons, which I enjoy filling with expressive letters and other symbols. The structure is new for me, and rather relaxing in comparison to the works I just came from.
I also love using my Twitter account @AntiPainter.
q) What about recent sources of inspirations?
a) My inspiration has always been from landscape, but not necessarily in a traditional context. I enjoy what I see in the surfaces, perspectives, compositions and colors of my surroundings. I like layers and how time can wear things down, like old walls or desks.
q) What are some of your obsessions?
a) I obsess over things like financial stability and bills, probably no different than most people. I live fairly simply by today’s standards, yet I often find myself caught up in materialism. I think painting is a way for me to stay connected with the rawness of life. Metaphorically I am obsessed with the areas between contrasts, “fine lines” so to speak.
q) Which galleries have you shown at and which galleries would you like to show at?
a) I enjoy when people are able to experience my work. Being from an artistically decentralized community I have been challenged to find venues outside of my region. One of my paintings is currently showing in Chicago at a national exhibition titled “Wet Paint.” This is probably the highest level of visibility of my career. I do try and limit my exposure online, I think images look good online and that’s about it. Where would I like to show? Most definitely New York, I need to get there.
q) If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?
a) I enjoy getting emails from people off my website. Its fun to see who’s intereseted; even when its an old friend with a horrible fake name.
q) Do you have any suggestions or advice for artists that are just starting out?
a) I honestly still feel like a beginner, though so far it has been a life long journey. I know of no point in which the discoveries will end, so I can say; trust yourself, where you’re at is where you need to be.
q) Who are your favorite artists?
a) I like the [artist] to have sensibility, but not so cerebral that I lose their intentions. They need to have something beyond surface talent. I think a lot of people today can paint pretty images.
q) What books are on your nightstand?
a) I read biographies. I love reading interviews with artists and finding things in common; makes me feel like I’m not the only one thinking this or that.
q) To what weaknesses are you most indulgent?
a) I am a creature of habit. Anything that I enjoy and can get away with, I usually exploit. Over the years I have had to make some difficult decisions about my lifestyle. I am pretty tame these days, but still have a wild side. If I had to do it all over again, I definitely would.
a) My name is Garric Simonen. I live in Spokane, Washington. www.SimonsenArtStudio.com.