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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Interview with Bonnie Gloris

q) So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?

a)My name is Bonnie Gloris and I grew up outside of Albany, in upstate New York. I moved to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design in 2002. I am now 22 years old, and I live in Jersey City with my husband. I still commute to Manhattan daily, where I work as a studio assistant to artist, Barbara Nessim.

q) How did you get started making art?

a)Upstate New York is a very quiet area, so I started making art to occupy myself as a child. My drawings were pretty surreal, in a way that only a kid’s drawings can be. No matter what the scene, I would always write “love” several times on each image! I received a lot of encouragement from my teachers, which compelled me to continue making art.

q) How would you describe your art?

a)When I’m oil painting, my work tends to be quite realistic, and when I’m using mixed media it’s more graphic. I’m still experimenting with how to combine those two styles. I also use a lot of patterning. Lately my subject matter has been dark in nature.

q) Where do you get the inspiration for your art?

a)I have many sources of inspiration: sometimes I’ll find an image I really like, and I’ll incorporate it into a collage; sometimes I’ll hear a phrase or a song, or read a book, and I’ll be inspired to interpret the words into my own visual language.

q) What are you working on now?

a)Right now I’m working on a submission for the Vinyl Killers exhibition in Portland, Oregon. The show is about making artwork on or out of old records, thereby saving them from their fates in the trash. I also just finished a piece for The Art of Horror, which opens on Friday the 13th of October in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My painting, “They Won’t Stay Dead!” was inspired by the film Night of the Living Dead. The curator selected it to promote the show, via the press release and postcards.

q) Are there some web sites that you would like to recomend? Artists, art communities, xxx,...!?

a)There are a lot of great websites that I frequent, which help create a sense of community among artists and offer them a creative outlet: Artdorks, Drawn, IllustrationMundo, and Illustration Friday, to name a few.

q) What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?

a)I would have to say mixed media is my favorite way to work, because it allows me to loosen up and explore my subconscious artistic impulses. I find it helpful to always keep a sketchbook of these small collages.

q) What advice would you give to younger up and coming artist?

a)Being an artist involves a lot of hard work and sometimes the rewards are minimal, but if it’s truly what you are meant to do (and you will know if it is), then you have to persevere and make your own opportunities.

q) What is your personal definition of life and art and everything else in between?

a)My philosophy is not to over-think things. Especially with art; just let it happen, and resist the temptation to analyze every detail.

q) Take us inside your process a little bit. How do you begin a piece? What inspires the concept?
a)My process varies quite a bit. Sometimes I just start putting together different elements that appeal to me, whether they are colors, textures, or imagery, and eventually a concept emerges. Other times I begin with a concept in mind, but by the time I am finished it has evolved into something else. It’s very rare that my work turns out how I originally envisioned it.

q) What are your artistic influences?

a)I’m sure that I am influenced by many more things than I realize, but a few of my favorites are: Victorian wallpaper and fashion, Baroque motifs, Art Nouveau decorative elements, Folk Art, the Pop Art aesthetic, 1950’s style imagery– I like juxtaposing ornate styles with bold styles. I am always looking…sometimes I find little trinkets or scraps of paper on the ground and think, how could someone throw away such a treasure? I can use this for something!

q) How are the reactions on your work in general?

a)I think that some people find my work too edgy, and others don’t find it edgy enough, but that’s the case with most art. I know that there is a large middle ground because I get a lot of positive feedback from people who see my work on the Internet (that’s how I came to be interviewed here!), which I really appreciate. It’s also important not to be too concerned with other people’s reactions, because I can’t change the way I draw– it’s who I am.

q) What are you doing when you are not creating art?

a)My job as a studio assistant is fairly time consuming, so when I’m home I’m usually creating art. Otherwise, I like to read, watch movies, go to museums, sew, and cook.

q) What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?
a)I think that there isn’t currently much of a market for artwork. People either have money but no taste, or taste but no money. I’m trying to start a career as a freelance illustrator, but even the opportunities in that field are slim; stock art seems to be a big problem in the illustration industry, though I can also understand the art director’s point of view.

q) What is freedom to you as an artist?

a)Artistic freedom is very important to me. In high school, I got in trouble for painting the silhouette of a woman! Can you imagine? It was incredibly refreshing to attend college and actually be encouraged to think freely and push limits. However, I don’t believe in creating work simply for its shock-value: it must have aesthetic integrity as well.

q) Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?

a)My most recent works tend to be my favorites, because I am constantly growing and changing as an artist. After spending so much time with a particular piece I become a bit enamored of it for a while.

q) Last Books you read?

a)I just finished Goodbye, Columbus, by Philip Roth, which is somewhat of a classic. Before that I read The Book of Salt, by Monique Truong. The books I read tend to include dysfunctional families, and are good but sad. Some of my favorite authors, who have inspired a large portion of my work, are Truman Capote, Marcel Proust, Vladimir Nabokov, Maya Angelou, and J.D. Salinger.

q) Last records you bought?

a)I don’t buy music very often because contemporary music doesn’t appeal to me. I like classic rock. I am also a big fan of Beck.

q) Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?

a)My favorite visual artists are Robert Rauschenburg, Max Ernst, Kiki Smith, Nancy Spero, Romare Bearden, Frida Kahlo, Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Salvador Dali, Sigmar Polke, Francis Picabia, Joseph Cornell, Joe Sorren…the list is endless. I was very fortunate to live in New York City for four years, where I saw a lot of amazing art. The Museum of Modern Art has a great permanent collection. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is inexpensive (pay what you wish) and vast enough that you could never feel like you’ve seen everything. It also has a branch of exclusively medieval art in Upper Manhattan, which is well worth the trip. The Neue Gallerie has beautiful German and Austrian Art, and The Folk Art Museum features interesting “outsider” art. The Jonathan Levine Gallery always shows really fun, trendy work like Miss Van and Jeff Soto.

q) Which do you think make good art good? originality, or style? And, why?

a)Good art isn’t something that can be defined, and there is no formula guaranteed to produce it. In general I respond to art that is a combination of originality and style. It’s understandable to gravitate toward certain styles and find inspiration in them, but you have to take it to a new, individual level.

q) Do you get emotionally attached to your work and do you miss your work when it is sold?

a)I do get emotionally attached to my work, but that tends to fade over time. When I price something, I think, “How much is this really worth to me?” I don’t care if it’s unusually high or low; if I’m not honest with myself, then I know I will regret selling it.

q) Your contacts..E-mail.links
a)My website,, has all of my contact information and is continually being updated.


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