Saturday, January 22, 2011

TAG Gallery Interviews Fielden Harper

Fielden Harper
40 x 20" acrylic on canvas

Working with acrylic on wood and on canvas, Fielden Harper's paintings focus on the ways man has chosen to enclose his space.

Can you indentify at what point in your life you decided to be an artist?

I do not think I ever made a conscious decision; I just always was making things and assumed that I was an artist.

Can someone be taught to be an artist or is it something you’re born with?

I think that having a special way of thinking and seeing is what makes a person an artist and some people are born with it, but we can all learn from exposure. I have to think that way because I am a teacher and I believe deeply in that we can all be taught.

Who are your favorites artists/art influences - either historically or contemporary?

Diebenkorn and Hopper were the first artists I ever felt were my influences. Long before that I stood at the sewing machine and watched my grandmother make doll clothes and dresses for me from flat pieces of cloth and something was born in me watching her. Also, my mother nurtured my need to make art

How do you go about making a new work? What steps, or process do you use or go through?

I will be doing something and suddenly an idea will come into my mind. It will consume me and I cannot rest until I finally work it out on paper. That sketch tells me size and shape - the color just comes to me when I pick up the brush. I typically lay out the painting in one burst of energy. Then, I circle it and think about it before I go back in to refine it. The time varies, but I usually have several weeks between beginning a painting and completing it. If I am making an assemblage, I go more slowly. It may take months to complete a piece. I go slowly and carefully - my work pattern is opposite of the way I approach painting.

Do you work in more than one medium? If so, do they influence each other, and how?

I paint, sew, make assemblage, garden, cook hold my grandchildren and tell them stories - it is all part of a whole. I think that you can find traces of my thinking and my style in all that I do.

What do buildings mean to you? What is it about buildings that fascinates you so much, makes you want to paint them?

I have always been fascinated by the way in which Man has chosen to enclose space. I love the way the light changes on them throughout the day.

Which of your recent works did you find the most challenging to create? Why?

I am just finishing a painting of the Santa Monica Hospital and it has been so difficult because of the perspective involved. I must have reworked it four times over the past two months.

Who do you paint for?


Fielden Harper's exhibition opens February 1, 2011.

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