lunedì 5 ottobre 2009

Interview with Arabella Proffer

q)please tell us some brief info about yourself.

a)I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to academic parents in a big spooky house. I don’t know when I went “bad” exactly, but around age 13 I got into the whole punk thing and was a mild troublemaker. It is also when I started exhibiting my art. At 16, I moved to Laguna Beach, but I was in Los Angeles every moment I could manage. I went to art school, kicked a nasty drug habit, got married, and had a variety of jobs from working at an art gallery, DJing and graphic design, to being a commercial photography assistant. My husband and I started a record label in 2002, and later moved to Cleveland, Ohio, to live somewhere a little less crazy. I’ve been doing freelance illustration, portraiture, and the whole art thing full-time since 2007.

q)Tell us about your humble beginnings, When did you first realize that you wanted to be an artist?

a)It was more my parents deciding for me, supposedly I was drawing with enough aptitude by age two that anything else – other than becoming an actress or filmmaker – was never discussed throughout my life. Their worst fear was that I would become an accountant or civil servant. I was never really good at anything other than art and making films, so that worked out fine for me.

q)What are your tools of the trade and why?

a)For years it was acrylic, because I am by nature impatient, but they do not age well, so in 1999 I started using oils. All my favorite painters used oils, so of course I wanted my work to look as good as theirs. Old Holland paints are my favorite, I wish I could afford to buy them more often; synthetic brushes are best for me as far as the scale of my work, I’ll only use hog’s hair brushes for something large; I don’t use mediums or anything like that, on occasion I use Linseed Oil, but that’s all.

q)Who or what gives you inspiration on your morbid art?

a)I don’t think of my work as morbid really, at least it hasn’t been for many years, but portraiture of the Renaissance has always been the biggest influence on me from a young age. Fashion plays a big part; Elizabethan costume, punk, goth, and anything decadent Christian Lacroix comes up with. I’m also really fascinated by the lives of old socialites, actresses and nobility who led eccentric, fabulous lives – although most didn’t have a good ending. For the most part, I love anything to do with old Hollywood or European tradition of the upper classes.

q)Is your artistic background self-taught or did you go to college to study?

a)I graduated from CalArts, but at the time it was more about installation art and theory -- not painting. I was taking a lot of film and animation courses while there, so I would say in many ways that despite going to art school I am self-taught; I was painting before I went to art school, and became more serious about painting after art school.

q)How do you keep “fresh” within your industry?

a)I do a new painting every few weeks, so it isn’t really an issue for me. I get bored so easily that halfway through a painting I already want to get started on the next one.

q)What are some of your current projects?

a)I just came off doing three large shows, so for now it is a variety of group shows taking place in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Art Basel Miami. Since I don’t have a solo show scheduled anytime soon, I may start a new body of work, I’m still not sure.

q)Which of your works are you the most proud of? And why?

a)There are a few simply for the happy accidents and technical reasons.

q)Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?

a)Print making. I have tried it a little bit years and years ago, just nothing too ambitious. It sounds odd coming from an oil painter, but I actually don’t have the patience for it.

q)What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?

a)There is no such thing as burning out for me, and if it does, I’m sure champagne can fix it.

q)how do you spend most of your free time?

a)Boozing with friends, reading, watching old movies, and snuggling with the husband.

q)What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?

a)The Italian and Flemish Old Masters were my first love, and for some reason Albrecht Durer has always been a favorite; maybe because I think he was really hot as well as a great painter! I went through a Pre-Raphaelite phase as well as an Art Nouveau phase; Tamara de Lempicka was a huge influence on me for a very long time, as well as Erte and Christian Schad. It is funny how with every artist, I don’t necessarily like everything they do, but a few key pieces are enough to do it for me. There are so many today that might fall into the realms of Neo –Realism and Pop Surrealism -- or whatever you want to call it -- I really like, John Currin, Alex Gross, Nancy Baker and Sara Bereza.

q)We really like some of your pictures, how can we get our hands on them? Do you sell them? How?

a)If not through the galleries that represent me, I sell direct and do commissions through, as well as sell prints.

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