Tell me a little bit about you!
I’m a full time artist born in Detroit, Michigan, and currently live in Canton, MI. I’m a self-taught artist learning by mistakes as I stumble along. I started working at a young age and never went to college. For a long time I thought I could never be a serious artist without having an art degree. Now I think it has worked out well by making me go my own direction without much influence.
My website is named “drawinghermit” because that sums up my daily living. I think, like most artists, I’m more comfortable working alone in my basement, doing my thing, than out meeting with people in the art world, advancing my profession.
My influences are nature and music… and my cat and dog.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
My first art discovery was photography, which I did with my own dark room for 20 years. So the artists Lee Friedlander, Ed Weston, and Robert Adams were big influences.
As a self-taught artist, is there anything that you feel you missed out on by not attending art school? Or alternatively, reasons that it’s best in the long run that you didn’t attend?
The only thing I think I missed out on by not attending art school is the camaraderie. Other artists to associate with. Build self confidence sooner. But I’m not social anyway, so I didnt miss much.
How can you teach someone how to make art? Never understood that. In the long run it was better because I made work without influence. I’m not good with critique. So my art is different.
Do you have any thoughts or advice for other artists who might be pursuing a practice that does not include a start in art school?
You don’t need art school. You don’t need NY. Save your money. Work every spare moment you can. Make a lot of crappy art. Get involved in the local art scene. Be professional with the marketing part. Good art comes from the philosophical thought and ideas of the artist. And IMAGINATION.
….and lots of practice.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
I always think my practice is evolving and transforming but looking at my drawings from many years ago they still look like alot my current work. Maybe its a very slow process.
What is your process like?
Not much planning. Even if I do plan, it never goes that way. I make pencil drawings every day. My larger paintings take at least a couple weeks. I have to do a lot of looking and changing, so they can take weeks.
I usually work on 3 or 4 paintings at a time.
It may sound strange, but I dream of things I have to add or subtract from my work.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I don’t have a mentor, but many local artists I admire. It always thrills me to see my work displayed with other artists I think so much of. (Like, how did I get here?)
Describe your studio.
I live in an 1865 Michigan farm house. My work area… I don’t call it a studio… is in the basement. With the dirt floor, rock walls, and mice. My cat protects me.
Only 4 people have ever entered my work area. I’m very private about that.
Do you view your private studio as a sacred space in some way? Does the work exist differently there than it does when it’s display formally in a gallery-type scenario?
I do regard my work area as kind of sacred. It’s like a church for me. Its a mess (mass?) but I know where everything is. I don’t want people there. Same as I would never do a demonstration—that galleries and collectors love—-Too personal, too private.
The work does look different displayed in a gallery, probably because of the larger room size. My area is pretty cramped, and not the best lighting.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
The most difficult part of the art world is the marketing part. My advice to young artists starting out is to take a business class. So many young artists don’t have a clue how the gallery, market world works. 35 years selling auto parts taught me how to be professional and treat it like a business. Galleries will appreciate that… that is, if you plan on selling work.
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
Complex Philosophical Unbalanced
What do you do when you find yourself in a creative rut?
Never had a creative rut. I have more ideas than I have time to live.
If you had unlimited time, is there anything you would do differently?
I do have a lot of time—now. Most artist would love more time. Life gets in the way.
I wish I would have started taking it seriously when I was younger.
What do you love most about your medium? What challenges or surprises you most about it?
I love graphite pencil marks on paper or painted canvas. Its a thrill to experience it every time. Im easily amused.
What keeps you creating?
I like making things that I dont know what they are when im done with them. It has to keep me intrigued.
What are you working on right now?
3 new painting/collage/drawings on canvas.
Im really excited about them.
Anything else you would like to add?
I have no idea what im doing. But I do a lot of it.
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