"I want to connect to the people that are going through this transition. You’re changing when you’re going through the consulate…your life is changing." —Marela Zacarías
New in ART21 New York Close Up: Artist Marela Zacarías creates a work commissioned by the Art in Embassies program for the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico. The painted sculpture, Red Meander (2014), is her largest work to date and is the first of her works to be shown in her country of birth.
IMAGES: Production stills from the ART21 New York Close Up episode, Marela Zacarías Goes Big & Goes Home. © ART21, Inc. 2014.
The Hillyer Art Space will be exhibiting three amazing artist for this month of October. We got to speak with all three artists as they share information about their artwork and their personal life. Here is a sneak peek of the work that will be at opening during First Friday, October 3rd, 6pm-9pm! Also, a special thank you to Teddy & Bully Bar for sponsoring Hillyer Art Space! Drink specials are being offered to the Hillyer Gallery Guests. The guest must show their Hillyer Gallery Stamp & Hillyer menu to get the discounted drinks.
Lee Gainer, Grandville, acrylic on two cradled panels, 48” x 72”, 2014
Hillyer Art Space: How did you get started making art?
Jeffery Herrity: Well, I never considered myself an ‘artist,’ and I never took art in school. I thought that because I didn’t know how to draw or paint, that I wasn’t creative. It wasn’t until many years later in my professional career that I took a pottery/throwing class with my friend Christine that I realized that I COULD make things with my hands. We spent many hours in the studio working on the wheel and doing some hand building. I realized that I wanted to do this more and hatched a crazy ‘5 year’ plan that would have me teaching and making money from my art. In 2007 I realized that my 5 years was running out and so I enrolled in classes at the Corcoran to build my skills (drawing!) so that I would have a portfolio to gain admission to the BFA program. During this process, I found out that they had a 5-year program that included a Masters in Teaching. My path had officially changed.
Lee Gainer: I’ve been drawing since age 3. I spent my childhood carrying around a paper pad and pencils for when the muse struck me. Art school was inevitable.
Alexandra Chiou: I have always loved creating things - my mom said when I was little, I loved filling pages and pages with multi-colored dots. She got tired of looking at the same thing over and over, so she taught me how to draw fish and butterflies and the rest is history.
Jeffery Herrity,Gray Area Series Eggs and Eagles
Hillyer Art Space: Is there a piece of artwork here that you are most proud of that is being exhibited?
Jeffery Herrity: I love all the work that I have created, but think that the series Metamorphosis - the ‘dolls’ - are something that I am proud of. I was having brunch with art and life mentors of mine Jim Rieck and his wife Judy Lichtman and we talked about our studio practices and getting to the place where we were afraid of the creation process and how to harness that energy. Inspired by Jim and Judy, I went right into the studio and started to experiment with new pieces. Thus the ‘dolls’ were born. They were a big departure from my traditional stacked totems, and I was terrified to try something new. So glad I did.
Alexandra Chiou: Each one is unique and special to me - I definitely have favorites when I feel like certain pieces are a turning point or milestone for me, but they change over time as my work evolves.
Alexandra Chiou, The First Inhabitants, 2012
Hillyer Art Space: What is your inspiration?
Jeffery Herrity: My mother. She did ‘ceramics’ when I was young. In her case, it was slip casting. I was always so fascinated with these figures she would bring home - mostly the Easter objects - bunnies and eggs. I wish we still had them. Luckily I have found many of the molds that she used and there are several - the eggs and bunnies - that I have in my collection now and have used in this show.
Lee Gainer: My work stems from my interest in how the photograph can serve as a time keeper, a tool for recall.
Alexandra Chiou: I am inspired by travel and the natural world. I go to a lot of museums and I also love being outdoors, so a lot of the shapes, images and contours I come across enrich my work. I also enjoy reading, and many of my ideas come from books I have read, whether it’s just a quote or a concept that interests me.
Lee Gainer, Spirit of ’76, acrylic on two cradled panels, 48” x 72”, 2014
Hillyer Art Space: How do you know when you are done with a piece?
Jeffery Herrity: I operate from my gut and when assembling new totems or other pieces, I will pour many molds so that I have several to choose from. Generally, I think that I will use them all in the new piece, but once I start assembling and edit based on the overall balance and composition. Once I fire it, and if it survives the kiln without becoming ‘wonky’ I konw it’s finished. There are many times however, that a piece comes out of the kiln and seeing it in it’s final form makes me realize that it’s not right and I will create a new edited piece. I hate when that happens.
Lee Gainer: It will begin to hum, to express an energy declaring itself complete. It’s a good moment.
Alexandra Chiou: There’s a threshold between when a piece is still fresh and when it becomes overworked, so I definitely try and balance that. I aim to make work that is unique, complex and engaging and when I feel I’ve accomplished that then it’s my definition of complete.
Jeffery Herrity, Bunny, Boy, Eagle in Black and White, 2014
Hillyer Art Space: What kind of research you do before starting a piece?
Jeffery Herrity: Not much really, I sometimes will go to my studio to clean or re-organize my mold collection and revisit molds that I haven’t used recently. I think the cleaning and organizing is my research. I have to open molds and think about how it could be used, and what other molds it will work with. I rarely sketch ideas (again, drawing) but make many pieces that are my sketches.
Lee Gainer: I am constantly taking photographs and searching for them, usually online but also in old books and magazines.
Alexandra Chiou: I have always been a collector of things - when I was younger, I was more interested in erasers, stickers, and coins, but now it’s more concepts and information. Whether I’m visiting a museum, reading books, or hiking, I spend a lot of time learning about other things. I constantly reflect on and process my experiences to see what resonates with me, and what I want to incorporate into my artwork.
Alexandra Chiou, Daughter of Mine, 2013
Hillyer Art Space: What are some other hobbies that you have outside of your art?
Jeffery Herrity: These days, art has been all consuming and so my hobbies have been sidelined. When I do have free time, I like to spend it with my partner John Copenhaver, a writer. One thing that we like to do together is go to Lost River, West Virginia where we have a great group of friends.
Lee Gainer: I like to read autobiographies and we are slowly remodeling our house. I do spend time reading various art blogs, working on my own art blog Peek, and seeing exhibitions. Art is 98% of my life.
Alexandra Chiou: I really enjoy going to museums, reading, listening to music, traveling, and being outdoors (mainly hiking). All these activities provide a lot of rich experiences that feed my artwork in one way or another. They allow me to explore new and interesting concepts and ideas that I can apply to my own artistic process.
Jeffery Herrity, Progression/Regression, 2014
Hillyer Art Space: What’s your professional/career goal?