Monday, September 24, 2007

Interview with Bethany Marchman

q) Well, first of all please tell us a little about yourself.

a)My name is Bethany Marchman. I'm a painter and director/ co-owner of a small underground gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. called Rabbit-Hole Gallery.

q)How would you describe your work?

a)I try to make my paintings a little bit cute and a little bit creepy. All of my pieces are pretty "tongue in cheek." (I have a hard time taking myself very seriously.)

q) Did somebody encourage you to become an artist?

a)My parents have been incredibly supportive and encouraging for as long as I can remember. I am very blessed in this way.

q) What is your favorite medium?

a)Oil paints are my favorite by far. When I see oil paintings by the masters, I feel like the medium has infinite possibilities.

q) Can you describe your process, from the seed of an idea to a complete work?

a)Ideas pop in my head pretty randomly. I'll scrawl them down on whatever is available (usually the back of a receipt.) When I'm ready to work, I start with a thumbnail sketch to work out the composition. Then, I sketch the layout directly onto the gessoed/ stretched canvas with either a conte crayon or diluted oil paint (raw sienna.) I jump right into the painting from this point, usually loosely blocking out the lights and darks. I have a bad habit of painting the eyes first and practically completing them before moving on to the rest of the painting. The eyes are the most important part to me. If I can render them to be compelling enough I feel more invested in carrying on with the rest of the painting. I mostly paint from my head, but I will pull reference when needed (particularly if I'm incorporating an object I'm not familiar with) and I like to keep pictures of some of my favorite paintings around the studio for inspiration. I almost always have a few paintings in the works at once and cycle through them as they dry. Its hard for me to ever feel like a painting is finished, so I don't really quit tinkering with it until it's deadline.

q) Generally speaking, where do your ideas come from?

a)I've given this question a lot of thought and I'm not exactly sure where the ideas come from, except that they tend to come to me when I'm happy and active. And, that some of my favorite paintings have started out with "Wouldn't it be funny/ ridiculous if...?" as a premise.

q) How long does it take to complete a piece?

a)The quickest I can complete a painting is in a week -if I'm on a tight schedule and don't have many distractions. I average about a month though in general. It could be a lot longer if I'm working very large and have several projects going on at the time.

q) Who are your favorite artists…and who are some artists you are currently looking/listening to?

a)I love the masters and always find inspiration in their work. I'm particularly fond of Caravaggio. Lately, I've also been enjoying the paintings of the Flemish School for how incredibly creepy they can be. As far as contemporary artists go, I'm always discovering new people that amaze me. Some of my absolute favorite artists today are Michael Hussar, Mark Ryden, and Banksy.

q) Are you represented by a gallery? Do you have any upcoming exhibits?

a)I have nonexclusive representation from galleries and art dealers in California, New York and Atlanta, GA. U.S.
Upcoming exhibits:

Wonka, 12/07, group exhibition, Alcove Gallery, Atlanta, GA U.S.

Crybaby Gallery's Anniversary Show, 12/07, group exhibition, Crybaby Gallery, N.J. U.S.

Art Scope Miami '08, represented through Micaela Gallery, San Francisco, CA U.S.

Mona Lisa Show, 1/08, Strychnin Gallery, Berlin, Germany

q) Do you have any 'studio rituals'? As in, do you listen to certain types of music while working? What helps to get you in the mood for working?

a)I like to play movies in the background while I paint. They keep me company and slightly distracted so I don't get too obsessed over what I'm working on.

q) What is your favorite a) taste, b) sound, c) sight, d) smell, and e) tactile sensation?

a)Taste) tangerines
Sound) crashing waves, thunderstorms, or trains (white noise)
Sight) someone I love smiling
Smell) Vic's Vapor Rub and turpentine (very similar)
Tactile Sensation) soft fur

q) Do you have goals that you are trying to reach as an artist, what is your 'drive'? What would you like to accomplish in your 'profession'?

a)I want to keep growing and evolving as an artist. I think my drive is to push myself a little further each time. I selfishly hope that as an artist I will always feel some sense of purpose, so when I'm an old lady I'll still posses a passion for life. I'll still feel like I'm improving myself.

q) When have you started using the internet and what role does this form of communication play for you, personally, for your art, and for your business?

a)I've had my work online for a little over 3 years. I use the internet mainly for networking and it has been an amazing tool. I wish I was more computer savvy, but simply having a web-site to showcase my paintings and email to communicate has opened so many more doors than ever would have been possible otherwise.

q) What do you obsess over?

a)Whatever is in front of me!

q) Do you have prefered working hours? Do you pay attention to the time of the day or maybe specific lighting?

a)Daylight is ideal to paint by because it is so true. But, I tend to paint more at night because of the limited distractions. I can paint and paint and paint and completely lose track of the hour.

q) Do you do commissioned works?

a)I do very rarely. I try not to take on commissions because I'm bound to lose interest in them very quickly and then take entirely too long to complete the work..

q) Any tips for emerging artists?

a)I wish I had great practical advice to offer, but I'm still figuring so much out myself. I think the most valuable thing I've learned that I hope to never forget is to stay true to myself. If anyone tries to tell you what you should or should not be creating, ignore them or do the opposite.

q)…Your contacts


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