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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Interview with Phil Blank

1)First of all,..can you present yourself..?
1)I live and work in my home in Carrboro NC. I'm also a librarian.

2)Do you think of yourself as an artist,or what?
2)No, the word art instantly confuses the situation. Like everyone else, I am a person who's experience of the world is enmeshed in a mind full of memories, associations and the imagination. I devote time and energy to trying to understand that and turn it into awareness and images which shimmer in my eyeballs. I prefer a rational, common sense attitude which precludes me using market-hyped terms like artist.


3)What is creativity?
3)It is discovery. As opposed to invention, which is how it is often seen in our individualistic capitalist society. Galleries love an invention. Discovery strives to uncover the subtle facts of our mythopoetical understanding of the world. To enable us to taste more and more of our undifferentiated experience.


4)Does your environment influence your art,either in style/format or
interference?
4)Yes, especially to the man made environment. I often picture my paintings in a thrift store full of shoddy crap or in a landfill and ask "when someone stumbles upon this will they stop?" My goal is to give people a rare experience of seeing some material thing that was deeply cared for.


5)What are some of your influences and inspirations?
5)My main influence, where the work really comes from, is visualization exercises developed by Buddha, Shantideva, Salvador Dali, Adam Yauch, Carl Jung, Mary Watkins and many others.
Inspirations, as in Work that has taught me what is real and lasting:
Brain/heart: Allen Ginsberg, Maurice Sendak, John Giorno, Crumb, Spalding Gray, Ann Magnuson, Mance Lipscomb, Studs Terkel, Isaac Bashevis Singer.
Eyeball: Arthur Szyk, Greg Gillespie, Kit Williams, Anonymous rock posters, Persian and Early Renaissance painters


6)What's your favourite mediums(pen,charcoal,paint,canvas,etc.)to work
in/on?
6)Lately, ink, watercolor and gouache. Before that acrylic. I also love a good pencil and a sketchbook.


7)Who are some of your favourite painters/artists?
7)I really don't look at much art and am a bit ashamed to not know too many contemporary painters. I keep up with what Sendak and Crumb are doing. I look at a lot of comics and posters. I'm probably forgetting lots of folks.


8)How long does it normally take you to complete a piece of your artwork?
8)Anywhere from a week to a month.

9)What else are you interested in besides visual arts?
9)Psychology, especially depth (James Hillman, Jung); Poetry, Old time music (blues, oldtime, musette and Jewish), Buddhism and the science of attention, politics, especially as it relates to manipulation of mass imaginations (a la Lakoff, Chomsky).


10)Got any new projects planned?
10)At my last show a local puppetter offered to collaborate on a production using art and music which I'm busy writing/composing. I'm trying to do a small informational piece for a local paper and I'm just embarking on a long term illustrated nonfiction book/poster about visualization.


11)How would you describe your art to someone who could not see it?
11)Detailed, lowbrow, slightly cartoony but un-ironic. Sharp. Begins in this world, ends in your head.


12)What other talent would most like to have?
12)The one where you can talk to people and they don't look at you funny.


13)What are your most beloved items?
13)Gee I don't know. I got a lot of books and instruments but I generally dislike stuff. Even art supplies makes me a little anxious.

14)Favourite books?
14)Maybe:
Spontaneous Mind, Allen Ginsberg
Outside Over There, Maurice Sendak
Working with Images, Benjamin Sells


15)Do you remember the first draw you made?
15)No but I did a lot of bad superheroes.

16)What kind of music do you like and do you listen.And is the music important for your art?
16)I listen to all kinds but really can't stand pop or electronica. Lately that means- Eric Bentley singing Eisler, Boozoo Chavis, Tommy Jarrell, Bongwater and Shock G.
I also listen to a lot of radio (WBAI) and old time radio shows. Music doesn't really affect the images I make but it comes from the same place.

17)Any advice do you have for artists?
17)Absolutely not. For people interested in exploring their minds I think the world needs to redefine a rational approach to end knavish wittiness. Try to speak clearly and not deliberately vague or abstract. Candor ends paranoia.

18)Your contacts.E-mail..Links.
18)It's all on
http://philblank.com
Blog: http://vividmind.blogspot.com

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