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Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Interview with Keli Reule

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

A)My name is Keli Elizabeth Reule. I'm 25. I grew up in North Carolina, in the southeast US. I used to live in Chicago and went to school there and then transferred schools and finished in CA, and have lived in San Francisco for a little over 5 years. I have one older brother. I love rock and roll more than most things in life and I love Italian food and beer and live in the tenderloin district of SF.

Q)How did you get started making art?

A)I have always made things. So I am not sure how "I started". It's just always been there. But I have a very musical family and we always played music and sang a lot growing up. And I took art class and things like that as a child and always made drawings and paintings. My dad's house is like one big embarrassing art gallery of Keli. But I started painting w/ some intention in high school I suppose and then went I to art school. And dabbled in photo and film in college and eventually went back to painting.

Q)How would you describe your art?

A)Awesome. Kidding. It gets hard to describe to people because i'm so close to it, so I try and whittle it down to something like- large-scale oil paintings. Limited palette. Some figurative elements. Blah blah blah.

Q)Who is your biggest influence, both art and non-art related

A)Influence in and of itself is a wildly complicated thing and difficult to nail down just due to the vast mysteries of our minds, hearts, and souls and their relationships to things like skill, tools, resources, work ethic, ect. But in essence I am really influenced by other art, music, books/writers, my relationships, surroundings, and experience. But really its just life, as it were. Anyhow some of them are:Edward Ruscha, Goya, Francis Bacon, Keifer, Elizabeth Peyton, Richard prince, Lucien Freud, William Kentridge, Kiki Smith, Robert Rauschenberg, Banksy. Ha. Super influenced by photography done before 1950. Film noir, and black and white aesthetics in general. i.e. any photo or film stuff done w/ limited access to contemporary tools.Blonde Redhead, Zeppelin, Radio head, Sonic Youth, Nina Simone, Tom Waits, Miles Davis, Mingus, SabbathFlannery O'Conner, Faulkner, Joan Didion, Pablo Neruda, Chekhov, Saul Bellow. James Joyce. Good friends and artists- Karin Olsson, Henry Lewis, Shawn Barber. Everyone I love. Friends and Enemies.

Q) How do you approach the creation of a new piece... how does everything come together?

A)There is a process but there is no FORMULA here, and the moment it starts to feel mechanical I try and rethink. But- Its starts (usually) with a photograph as an idea. Or w/ an idea for a photograph, which I subsequently shoot. Then I get a sketch going on a small scale and start to hash some things out conceptually. Then It moves to the canvas w/ a sketch and then I start painting. Once there is paint involved it becomes a completely different animal. I try and leave the paintings up to their own devices- if something is not working well, not serving the painting as a whole, then it goes. Even if it took me a considerable amount of time and effort (or luck) to get something to look a certain way technically. If it doesn't work it doesn't work. The moment it becomes too precious you're in danger of letting it control everything, which is to say that the painting would now be about technicality. Or if certain facets seem to be creating a different idea than I had initially intended then I'll (usually) go with it. Depends on how egomaniacal I'm feeling. Although sometimes I just have to really work work work to get an effect or something of that nature. Sometimes its just blood and sweat.

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

A)o-o-o-oil paintttttttttttttttt. It's just the way it comes out. And I just love the paint as a thing. I like to work in a lot of other mediums and most certainly love other mediums in regards to my taste and aesthetic as a viewer/consumer. But I work in oil due to the technical ramifications mostly.
Q) What is your favorite art related web site?
A)There are a lot. But here are some of my favorite-

Q) Is your work all hand done? Or do you use any computer tools to help out?

A)Yeah. Its all just pencil, canvas and paint. But I am by no means, ideologically speaking- a purist. Some of my favorite pieces of art are done using a great deal of tools. And I will occasionally use a transfer or something if I need to get something done quickly. But 95 percent of the time, at least up until this point, its "hand done".

Q) What, in your opinion, are the best and worst places to exhibit artwork?

A)This is a really hard question because that is going to depend entirely on what it is that you are showing. Paintings, specifically, seem to be best suited to a place where they are the focus. But that could be a multitude of places, and not necessarily a gallery either. So the best places could be the worst and the worst places could be the best. Whatever serves the piece. Graffiti or installations or music would clearly dictate an entirely different space demand and create an entirely separate set of problems/issues/ect.

Q) I'm always interested in where an artist find their inspiration. Where do you find yours?

A)It's more a compulsion than anything else. Less what I do and more who I am. I don't mean that in that it defines my identity, I just mean that everything that goes in has some need to come out and it does and I try not to get in its way. It's not something I think about. I work at it, but I set my intention naturally.

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

A)All over the map. Obviously where ever the viewer is coming from, their perspective, is intersecting with the painting in a way that is entirely unique to them, so people have really different thoughts. Some incredibly kind, some very confused, some indifferent, some extremely negative, some smoke blowers.

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

A)Music. I play in a rock band (although I generally qualify everything I make in the same way so technically I guess that falls into creating art but for sake of the question) and play music in the house, sing in public, all that. Yeah, pretty much playing music all the time. I like to read a lot and watch films.

Q )What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?

A)Just all the red tape and bureaucracies involved in it. Anytime something that was never intended to be a commodity has to intersect w/ a free market economy, thus unfortunately making it a commodity, there are enormous logistical, moral, and ideological dilemmas.

Q) Do you believe that a person is born with a talent to produce art or can anyone can be taught?

A)First- they are innumerable angles to this. And as a discourse has been discussed at length for many years so I think it's difficult to pare it down to some sentences. But- Skill can be relatively arbitrary to ones ability to make things just because 75 percent of art is ideas. So in that vein- its something you've just got. But skill is obviously imperative and without it we would all be shit up the creek without a paddle, and in all mediums there are circumstances where a skill has to be learned. For example there are times I want to work w/ an idea that I quite literally have to really work at technically to get it on the canvas, because I've never done it before. Other elements to this are specific to medium and to opposing definitions of art-. But I think popular culture at large tends to think of art as this very elusive thing they don't understand that is made by very intense, eccentric, insanely sad people. Which is true! Kidding. But really I think the human experience is so complex that people who compulsively make things I think are not necessarily experiencing more of those complexities be it pain, joy or any of the myriad of emotions and experiences, I think their just tapped into them in an incredibly unique, mysterious way. And I don't mean tapped into like a therapist is tapped into them or some hippie shit way, just a very different and distinctive way.

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

A)I really like the painting I did of my grandparents. Not sure why. I like a painting I did of one of my best friends, Rannie, with a blindfold on just because it's so indicative of a particular time in our lives.

Q) What are some current/upcoming projects you are working on or excited about?

A)I have a piece up at 111 minna here in sf, w/ 110 other artist, which is a really great show. I had a piece in a show in Melbourne recently, which was really cool, lots of great artists and great gallery. Right now just moved into a new studio with incredibly high ceilings so I am working on getting some huge shit happening. Maybe 10 x 10's which I have been threatening to do for years now. Going to do a solo show in SF in May. And currently painting the cover for the record the band is going to make in a couple of weeks.

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

A)Well I'm pretty young in art years, so I'll get back to you with a more in-depth answer in 20 years, but I think the only advice is really just to keep making it. Keep making art. It's really hard, and if you can do something else go do that. But if this is all you can do then just keep doing it. The other stuff will come.

Q) Who are your favorite artists & Your favorite galleries?

A)See question 4

Q) Do you need others to tell you they like it before you feel validated?

A)No. Although anyone taking the time to look at/think about your work let alone talk to you about it is good and rare. But I do whatever I want to do all the time and that is all. Needing to be validated by other peoples thoughts on your work will not only make you insane but your work will ultimately become tethered to other peoples opinions and not to you which is to say, it is no longer your work. It creates this massive chasm between being able to think for yourself, trusting your own instincts, and the work you make. They are no longer related. Which is very dangerous business. But opinions and criticism are different things as well. Because criticism is key to being able to continue to make things and to learn to discern criticism is also important. So there are a lot of connected ideas there. Sorry I'm a bit of a rambler.

Q)Tell us a little about some of the different types of jobs you've had over the years, before/while doing what you do now. For someone who is starting out in art, how would you recommend they go about making a career out of it?

A)I'll get back to you on this once I have it entirely figured out. Cause I still have to work odd jobs. And I am still wading into the water of art as business and trying to figure out what I am willing to pay for it. And how all the logistics fit together in a way that I can make them work. But I stuff envelopes at print shops; last week I did temporary daycare at an international science convention. I've waited tables. Borrowed ridiculous amounts of cash. Won some grants. Blah blah blah.

Q)Your contacts..E-mail.links

myspace.com/sergeant (band)thank you!

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