Thursday, 19 July 2007

Interview with William Powhida

q)Let’s start with the basics; what's your full name, where do you live, and how old are you?

a)William Powhida, Brooklyn, NY, 31 years old.

q) Do you have any formal training?

a)Yes, a BFA from Syracuse University and an MFA in painting from Hunter College. It was a nice trajectory, Syracuse offered an education while Hunter had fabulous studio space and the art world around the corner.

q) Did the place you grew up in influence your image making?

a)Yes. My mom went back to school to study art when she saw how much I enjoyed drawing things as a kid.Through her I spent a lot of time in the studios at Skidmore College in Saratoga, NY when I was young and started drawing the figure there at night when I was sixteen. My friends were only interested in the fact that I drew naked women, so I knew early on I had to find another place to make work.

q) How do you come up with your concepts?

a)First, I think about how short life is and start getting very desperate. Once I meditate on how quickly things are moving, I try and think of ways to step out of line. I often try to intervene in places that artists aren't supposed to fuck with. That and I find inspiration in the freedom of fictional narrative.

q) Describe your creations in a clear, concise and understandable sentence. What do you call them?

a)My work is largely composed of fictional fragments from the life of an artist who does what I won't and can't.

q)What other mediums would you like to explore in your image making?

a)I am starting work on a graphic novel collaboration with a writer named Jeff Parker and I'm looking to make part of lost film about William Powhida. If anyone is interested in portraying him, send me a head shot and a short statement about a moment where you despised your own existence.

q)What is the best time in the day for you to work on a project? Is there one, or is it more about the environment -- maybe the right mood?

a)There is no best time, only time. Whenever I am not teaching. It's not always easy, but there is no other way.

q) What are your artistic influences?...and …generally who or what influences you the most?

a)In the visual arts the work of Duchamp, Ed Ruscha, Raymond Pettibone, Sean Landers, David Kramer, Jim Torok, Guy Richards Smit, Allison Smith, Eli Ga, Jade Townsend, Eric Heist, Micheal Waugh, and Jenny Vogel. I'm interested in language and narrative intervention whatever form it takes.In literature, I'm stealing from Ellis regularly. Fucker. Seriously, literature has had a huge impact on how I view art making. I don't take for granted that there is a one-to-one relationship between the artist and object/concept. I am a fan of the narrator.

q) Who are some of your favourite artists/designers/photographers?

a)All of the above artists plus I love Dawn Clement's drawings, Seth Goodman's paintings (he's in Baltimore, seek them out), and my wife gave me my favorite object, a little necklace from Rogue's Gallery.

q) What is your next project?Exhibition?Collaboration?

a)The next thing is an exhibition at Cheryl Haines Gallery in San Francisco in October. It has to do with that lost film.

q)What are your plans for the future?

a)Hopefully the plan will involve working more for myself on larger projects such as storming Basel Miami in a Siege Tower but that's still up in the air.

q)Are there some web sites that You would like to recomend? Artists, art communities, xxx,...!?

a)I already mention Seth Goodman, but my friend and artist Jon Allen has an incredibly bizarre and personal website that is painfully honest ( It will revolt and fascinate with equal force.As for blogs, I try and keep up on,,, and

q)What sort of music do you listen to?

a)Right now I've just been creating stations on Pandora, but my favorite right now is Midlake, a concept album band out of Texas.
That and I bought a record player to listen to old Blues albums on.

q)Do you collect anything?If so what?

a)I don't have any long term interest, but I have a lot of books. I also try and trade for art whenever I can.

q)What do you do for fun?

a)I don't know if drinking is fun anymore, but that's generally how I pass the time. Mostly, I derive pleasure from talking.

q)Any advice you can pass onto aspiring artists/designers?

a)Take a few hours, maybe a few days, and go through the big artist registries at Artistsspace, White columns, Saatchi gallery, and if you are in Williamsburg, the flat files at Peirogi. If you recognize your work repeatedly in others you should seriously re-examine what is important to you. I suggest putting away your tools and thinking about what you'd do if you could never use that particular set again. You can always come back later when you have something to say.

q)Your contacts…



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