Tag Archives: Collage art

“Dinner with an Artist” featuring Inez Storer

“Dinner with an Artist” was inspired by the many dinners ANNE REED GALLERY’s owner, Barbi Reed, has had the pleasure of enjoying with gallery artists over the years. It was during these dinners that the conversation twisted and turned to the delight of all sitting around the table. There was no more perfect way to relax and enjoy the camaraderie of artist, collectors, and staff after the intensity of curating, preparing for, and installing an exhibition. Today, we invite you to this virtual dinner table conversation with Inez Storer as we talk about her current exhibition: Summer Pastimes.

ARG: What early influences sparked your interest in art and becoming an artist? inez-storer photo

My father was an artist and art director of many well-known films. Being around his creative energy greatly influenced me. I always knew I was an artist. I have a vivid first memory from when I was 3 years old of creating a “site specific work” in a sandbox. Later, I was the go-to kid for all the posters in school. I also always went “outside the lines” on the handouts given out during the Friday Art Lesson that only lasted a HALF HOUR!

ARG: Do you have any contemporary or historical role models who inspire you?

My eye roams everywhere – Matisse, Rauschenberg, Giotto, DADA, Surrealism. I find myself often attracted to work that doesn’t always make sense in the real world.

FoundTheCave

Found the Cave by Inez Storer

ARG: Your use of found imagery is one of the defining elements of your work. When did you start working with mixed media and what determines your selections of material?

I had a life of interruptions with a large family so creating collage/assemblage works was a way of dropping what I was doing and being able to pick up where I left off by merely looking at the scraps left on the table.

I also have a bit of a criminal past! One day my 9-year-old son came home with some very interesting things and, after I bribed him one dollar, he led me to “the burned down house” down the street.  It was incredible! Items left there dated back as late as1856: journals, objects, photos, books, every thing had “history” written all over it. One day I was caught and that was the end of my criminal object hunting activities and the beginning of collage!

ARG: Your paintings are all very narrative, often with multiple stories. We’re very curious about how you determine the subject of your paintings?

The first mark, or matrix, I make on the surface of a work is oftentimes my instinctual way of beginning the process. It may change (and most often does) as I go along but, it is definitely that first mark or marks that determine the way to proceed.

 ARG: Your work seems to beg us to dig deeper into this narrative. In your statement you mention that you often leave “written clues” in your paintings. Can you give us an example of a written clue in Summer Pastimes and where you might want that to lead us?

Balance, Relax by Inez Storer

Balance, Relax by Inez Storer

I really don’t set out to give “clues” but just hope that the viewer will take the adventure to new heights. Verisimilitude!

 ARG: We feel that all the elements in each painting relate in some way. Do you have an intention directed to the viewer?

I hope that the work isn’t always “of the same flavor”! It is through my process that I want to explore various ways of telling stories as I am a storyteller by nature.

I sometimes create a series, and other times, there is a wild card piece. I really do not believe in planning things out to the nth degree. What comes creatively is always the surprise and I like to be surprised and have that “AHA!” moment.

ARG: We understand you’re a wonderful teacher. What do you do to inspire your students? What advice would you offer other aspiring artists?

I have always told my art students, “art chose you, not the other way around.” They really do not have choice except to figure out how to support their “habit” and to keep on doing it as much as is possible. I think I still am on the right track as I just gave a lecture to students (and other art people) at Santa Clara University. Afterwards students came up to me and thanked me for giving them that advice and information. They were grateful to hear it.

Jump Up, work on paper, by Inez Storer

Jump Up, work on paper, by Inez Storer

ARG: You mentioned that your parents are European. Where are they from and has being first generation American influenced you and your art career?

They were both from Germany and, yes, indeed they influenced me. They kept many secrets about their lives before they came to the U.S. and I was always trying to find out more about that life. My mother was Jewish but only admitted it just before she died. I learned that we have over 30 relatives and some lived only fifteen minutes from where I grew up. THAT WAS A SECRET! But my mother did not want anyone to know she was Jewish so she never mentioned it. Life was complicated for me since I never knew much about my own history growing up. A lot of my art making came out of this experience.

ARG: Besides having European parents, you are married to Andrew Romanoff, also an artist and whose great-grandfather was Tsar Alexander III and is the great nephew of Tsar Nicholas II. Has being married to someone with so much familial history influenced your work?

"The Boy Who Would be Tsar" by Andrew Romanoff chronicles his magical childhood through the use of miniature Shrinky-Dink drawings.

“The Boy Who Would be Tsar” by Andrew Romanoff chronicles his magical childhood through the use of miniature Shrinky-Dink drawings.

It has had a big influence on my work in terms of the historical observations. It has been/is a constant source of ideas that may or may not come to fruition. Many a painting has come out of this relationship. It’s ongoing, like turning to the next page in my studio practice.

ARG: We raise our glass to you and to your latest wonderful exhibition with ANNE REED GALLERY. Although we’ve many more questions for you, perhaps we should end this conversation by asking if there is there anything else you would like to say, either about your work or perhaps something totally unrelated.

I want to say that your online style is a very interesting way to go about introducing artists across the globe and one that should/and will have a life of its own! Thanks!

Inez Storer, Inverness, California

ARG: Thanks, Inez. We’ve so enjoyed sharing a conversation over a “virtual dinner” with you and look forward to more time with you in the future.  Cheers!

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“Dinner with an Artist” featuring Alex Zecca

zecca collage radius18

ALEX ZECCA: Collage Radius #18, Ink on Paper (click for more information)

“Dinner with an Artist” was inspired by the many dinners ANNE REED GALLERY‘s owner, Barbi Reed, has had the pleasure of enjoying with gallery artists over the years. It was during these dinners that the conversation twisted and turned to the delight of all sitting around the table. There was no more perfect way to relax and enjoy the camaraderie of artist, collectors, and staff after the intensity of curating, preparing for, and installing an exhibition. Today, we invite you to this virtual dinner table conversation with Alex Zecca to discuss his current exhibition: Collage Radii.

Zecca portrait

ARG: Do you remember any experiences in your childhood that sparked your interest in art? Were you drawing straight lines early on? 

AZ:  In the mid 70’s my mother became a film student at San Francisco Art Institute, so from that point on, I grew up in and around the wonderful and crazy extended art communities that created.

Carols Villa, an artist and teach, has been a lifelong mentor and inspiration for my early decisions and understanding about a career dedicated to a studio practice in visual art.

Zecca collage radius 12

Collage Radius #12, Ink on Paper (click for more information)

And yes, the silly irony is, I drew with basically the same tools even when I was 8.

ARG: When we see thousands of lines forming patterns, we know the piece is yours. When and how did you decide to focus entirely on lines? How has the work evolved over the years?

AZ: After years of adding more and more elaborate processes to my oil paintings, I needed drastic simplifying. Also, the solvents, pigments, and alkyds were undoubtedly killing me slowly. So, almost 10 years ago I had a turning point, and knew I was ready for the deconstruction of my process. It had to be simple, direct, and sincere.

I wanted immediacy as well as a good platform for mixing color, which had always been the main focus of my work. As it turns out, the answer for me was the action of drawing a straight line from edge to edge. It is completely fulfilling, meditative, and focusing. For me, this wonderfully simple mark, has it all!

Now after years, a million or so straight lines, and adding a little registration with some Zecca handssimple math to this process, the work has evolved into the moiré dimension in a way I could have never imagined. But it is still built upon the same simple principle of repeated action.

ARG: We’re mesmerized by the thousands of lines and the sensation we feel when we view your paintings, drawings, and collage pieces up close and at a distance. You mention that your work is an “exercise in precision and focus”. What are your specific challenges as you express yourself?

 AZ: The specific challenges in making these drawings are typical: don’t screw it up, or spill coffee on it – which I’ve gotten really good at… But being focused and mindful of my body position is the real exercise. The drawing action is a Tai Chi-like, whole body movement. The only way I can make such work is to be very aware of the mechanics of my drawing action. Have good form, balance and posture, and most importantly, shake it out, and stretch it out, a lot.

ARG: We can’t imagine how much patience it must take to create these pieces. Can you tell us about your process? Do you envision the completed work prior to picking up your pens?

 AZ: The drawings are multiple overlaid radii sequences. In other words, I draw a line to each registration point covering the field with one color, reregister the ruler, change color, and repeat. Over and over until I get saturation and  a new and unpredictable moiré pattern. I have some idea of how it will turn out but slight adjustments to the pattern of the fixed ruler’s placement have a huge affect on the moirés outcome. As much as I may try to control or anticipate the result, the discovery and surprise of the finished piece is the whole deal!

ARG: Do you ever create anything entirely different from these linear works? Are you ever tempted to make a “squiggle”?

Zecca KidsAZ:  I love squiggles and scribbles and all that loose, fun stuff, too – I’ve got kids. I Just never mixed that with the real serious business of drawing straight lines.

ARG: How did this body of work, “Collage Radii,” evolve? The collages emit a wonderful sense of freedom, almost as if controlled chaos was introduced to allow a different dimension to emerge.

 AZ: They grew out of more compulsive processes. Namely cutting my drawings in to long triangle strips, thousands of them, with the intention of assembling these radius pieces. This collage work was my attempt at loose and dynamic.

Collage Radius #3, Ink on Paper

Collage Radius #3, Ink on Paper (Click for more information)

ARG: Can you tell us a little bit about where your studio space is located and how you work? Also, do you work in silence or do you have background music playing?

Zecca DogAZ: I have a small studio in my beautiful backyard. Which is a wonderful place to be, but mostly makes both the work and my family readily accessible. My two 80+ lb Ridgebacks and I enjoy listening to Giants baseball games on the radio, PBS, and the Howard Stern Show. Music too, we like the heavy stuff, loud! Rarely a silent moment, but it all helps me focus, and laugh, and cry.

 ARG: You have spent a good portion of your life in San Francisco. Has the city or its environs had an influence on your work?

 AZ:  I’m not sure in what way SF has influenced my work, but a lifetime here has made me so connected to, and totally dependent on, the city. Just like the way so many Manhattanites can’t function off the island. It’s a bit like that. And of course, I’m also jaded and bitter…

ARG: Funny how that happens. Here’s one for fun: If you could meet two artists (current or historical), who would they be and what would you ask them?

AZ: I’d talk anything technical with Gerhard Richter, and have a drink and smoke with Francis Bacon.

Zecca collage radius 11

Collage Radius #11, Ink on Paper (Click for more information)

ARG: Great choices! We toast you and your latest wonderful exhibition with ANNE REED GALLERY. Is there anything you would like our guests to know about you or your work before this dinner conversation ends?

AZ: Nothing more… I toast you back. And thank you for your thoughtful questions. I’m always so grateful for inquiry and conversation about my work, so thanks for that.

ARG: Thank you Alex, we look forward to many more discussions with you!