Wednesday, April 7, 2010
TAG Gallery Interviews Diane Rudnick Mann
Pencils Vll Glass Jars
Pastel 26 x 41”
Diane Rudnick Mann
Using mouthwatering color, Diane Rudnick Mann creates trompe l’oeil and photo real images with pastel.
Where did you grow up?
How long have you been an artist and when did you consider yourself an artist?
Not long. I’d been a marketing person, a writer, a house renovator and also in a retail business. A little here, a little there – I’m pretty much self-taught so it’s hard to tell when I decided I was an artist; some days I don’t feel that I am at all.
Many years ago, when my daughter was in grammar school she had art classes. I went to her school on parent’s night and I was looking around the room and these kid’s drawings were outrageous. They were 9 years old, 10 years old. The teacher said she was teaching a new method called Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain. So, I never forgot that. Later, when I’d moved out here, I was looking through some UCLA catalogues and low and behold I see that they are teaching a Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain course. I’d always wanted to do it, so I went and took the class and it was a life altering experience. Anyone can learn with this method. It got me intrigued. I’ve always wanted to draw, but I was not very good. We did portraits and just worked in pencil. Then I wanted to do something in color, but not oils, because I had no idea how to prepare or mix anything so I thought I’d try pastels. Little did I know…..
I think being in the TAG gallery finally made my work and future very real to me. My brother is my biggest supporter. He had all of my paintings in his office. He would always tell me when people came in and commented on my work, and of course, he would try to sell them.
Where do you your find inspiration for your works? How do you choose your subject matter?
I like old little things that I find in antique stores or drawers or basically any place. I’ve been collecting things and I like to make up settings of objects and photograph them. I keep moving things around and take more photographs. Then I can work parts of the photos into a painting. I actually hate shopping so I tend not to go out hunting a lot. I end up looking around my house and that’s what I end up painting, these common objects that people don’t really look at. I think by painting them I seem to give these things a kind of a personality.
Jelly Beans ll
Pastel 16 x 14”
Diane Rudnick Mann
Can you name a few of the most important (to you) artists whose work you like?
Even before I started drawing these artists fascinated me…Robert Bechtle, Richard Estes, Charles Bell. I’d look at their work and think how is that possible? Ben Schonzeit, Audrey Flack, Alice Neel, Paula Rego, Balthus, Eric Fischl, Ralph Goings and that whole group of realists including Charles Scheeler and, George Tooker. And I also find the work from the deco period very interesting - I was always drawn to this type of work. I was never drawn to things like a large blue canvas with one white dot in the corner. They remind me of the Emperor’s new clothes. Realism, though difficult, was the work I wanted to do.
Why do you make art? Does art serve a function beyond decorating walls?
I think paintings can really mean something; they can evoke certain emotions in a person.
I used to find a lot of things on EBay. I’d find old keys and all kinds of junk. They had these christening dresses. I bought a few of them. Where I lived before I had an old pine cabinet and I hung one of the dresses from the cabinet, I put some things on the top, I took a lot of photographs and made a painting from that. It was the first painting I ever sold. I don’t know what it was about it, but it sang to everybody and the people who bought it wouldn’t ever part with it. They just love it. I don’t respond that way to all my paintings, nor would everybody else but there are certain things I think that people relate to.
What is the hardest thing about being an artist?
Insecurity. It’s one of the artist’s dangers. It stops me every time. It’s similar to the process of writing. Once I get started though you can’t get me away. In the middle of the night I get up and turn on the light and think of something I should have done. I go to the easel and stand there and it’ll be 4:30 am before I’m done.
I think all creative people are insecure. I think it just comes with the territory. So, I question everything and I think that makes it hard. But even when it’s good sometimes I can’t see it. Sometimes the best thing to do is to put it away for a week, then it’s really obvious what needs to be done.
What do you like most about being an artist?
No matter how many paintings I’ve done I am completely amazed and blown away when the painting develops. I work right to left since I’m left handed and with pastel you’ve got to go one way or the other. It never ceases to amaze me, as the image starts to crawl across the paper, and the painting develops. I just feel in awe of that. I think it’s a control thing working as a realist painter. I also think I’m afraid of broadening out a little and loosening up. I’m very, very specific about what I’m doing and I can’t let go of it unless it’s right. Because of the way I work that’s so precise, if it’s off a hair, it’s off.
I’d like to try oil – to try something with a brush and see how it goes.
Diane Rudnick Mann
Diane Rudnick Mann's exhibition at TAG Gallery opens April 27, 2010.