|Maine Artist Interview: Alison Rector|
|Editor: Brenda Bonneville|
|Tuesday, 10 June 2008|
"Finding beauty where you might not normally expect it"
(image: Summer Camp by Alison Rector)
(Belfast, June 4th) Alison Rector is a painter and printmaker who lives in Monroe, Maine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in painting from Brown University, and specializes in painting interiors, particularly those of public spaces.
When did you first realize that you were going to be an artist and when did you first start making art?
I have always loved art from an early age, but never thought of being an artist as a career choice. I went to school at Brown in Rhode Island, and had close proximity to RISD (where I had the opportunity to take classes as well). After college, I began to think that the possibility of an artist as a career was actually viable, but I was still very cautious. Around 2000, I realized that I could pull off being an artist and still have financial stability. Now, I consider myself a full time artist and feel fortunate to be doing what I want to do.
Who or what inspires you?
Other art inspires me. I often go down to New York and Boston, I recently went to London and everywhere I go, I really like to look at what other artists are doing. Hearing a beautiful piece of music can also inspire me. For me, musicians are a group of people gathering together to make art—the quiet moments in between a musical piece correlates to the way color works on canvas. The way the notes hit is like the way a brush hits the canvas.
Is or was anyone else in your family in the arts?
My grandmother went to art school, however once she got married and had children, art became mostly a hobby for her. She was the person in my family who would take me to museums, which I really enjoyed.
Is the process of creating your art long or short?
I often feel that other artists are more productive than I am. For me, in order to make a good piece of art, it needs time to sit and be quiet. I know when a piece of my work is done if I can say to myself that there is nothing more that I can do to make it a better painting.
Tell me something about your work.
I am interested in depicting places where you can find beauty where you might not normally expect it. I'm interested in noticing the beauty of everyday and paying attention to moments of quiet.
Do you have a subject matter that defines you as an artist?
Mostly, I like to paint interiors, or views that are looking from the inside out a window.
How do you stay motivated?
By looking at what others are doing. It's not too difficult for me to stay motivated because I really love what I do. Deadlines though, are a great motivator.
What have you been working on lately? Are you experimenting with anything new?
Lately I've been working on low light interior spaces. My most recent body of work addresses how to create the illusion of light with paint.
Has your medium changed from when you first started out?
I've always worked in oil. I guess I would say that the materials have stayed the same, but my technique has evolved.
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Do what you love. Don't try to do it all, but rather try to focus on one area you love, what you do best. Part of one's job as an artist is to help the world understand who the person is as an artist.
What kind of comment do you despise the most when overheard at one of your openings?
General comments such as “It looks like a photograph.” I'm really not interested in having my paintings look like photos. It's not what I'm trying to accomplish.
What kind of comment pleases you the most?
I love to hear people say “That reminds me of...” and then fill in the blank. A room. The stove in my grandmother's house. I really like when people start to build a narrative (their own narratives) around my paintings.
How have you handled the business side of being an artist?
By talking with a lot of people. By trying to look carefully at how I price my art. A lot of artists under price themselves. I also work very closely with the galleries that I'm in. Galleries can give artists some really great advice.
Do you have any outside interests other than art?
My husband and I are homesteading, which I enjoy. I also like gardening, reading, music and most definitely interacting with other artists.
Are you disciplined about your creative process or are you more spontaneous?
Yes, for the most part, but sometimes no. I definitely work a certain number of hours every day, and like anything creative, the flow comes and goes. Dedicating time and trying to treat being an artist like a 9 to 5 job is important for me and helps making sure that I'm “present” when the creative flow is running.
What's the best part of being a full time, working artist?
The luxury of being my own boss and doing what I love. Stepping into the unknown and wondering if I still have something to say.
What's the worst part of being a full time, working artist?
Stepping into the unknown and wondering if I still have something to say. The financial compromises are hard, but that is a choice I've made.
Where can we find your work?
- Brenda Bonneville, editor
Copyright © 2008 MAINE ART SCENE - Maine Arts & Culture Online Magazine.
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