September 08, 2009

Albina McPhail :: artist interview

Strange Candy by Albina McPhail

Jumping in with the other half of "Beautiful Nature" is our second interview of the day with Albina McPhail. Albina has been showing with us here at artstream for a few years and her work always impresses me and those who come in our doors. Albina can be found all over the web at her shop, her blog and her site as well as our gallery shop!

1.What is your earliest memory of art making?

My earliest memory of art making is a bit fuzzy as it goes back to when I was about three years old. I remember bits and pieces of it, and my family supplemented the rest of the story: my parents have painted their living room, and the clean expanse of white space was just too much for me, a siren song – I found a pencil and went at it. In no time at all the entire span of the room was decorated at the tree year-old height with houses, trees, stick people with big hair…and they were all upside down. My parents, noting my absence and the fact that I was suspiciously quiet, found me in the act of creation. I remember not understanding why I was in trouble. I also remember that a few days later my parents presented me with a large quantity of sketchbooks and pencils.
2. What is your medium of choice?

I think that in the absence of paper, canvas, brushes, paint etc. I would be looking for a stick to scratch designs in the dirt, or mixing mud with my own hands to paint cave walls! For practical reasons I am working mostly with acrylic paints right now. They are a “base” for much of my artwork at the moment, but since I enjoy blurring the line between painting and drawing, I also use mediums that normally reserved for drawing – ink, pencils, conte crayons. In the end my artwork is a “mixed media” experience.

3. What are your greatest inspirations for your work?

Nature, travel experiences, and written word are my holy trinity of endless inspiration. I hear that people sometime have trouble with ideas and concepts – what should I paint? My biggest problem is trying to narrow it down in another direction – what should I NOT paint? Nature is always my go-to source. Human body or simple seedpods, all are expressions of amazing diversity of nature. There is such an abundance of beauty, such elegance, sometime restraint and sometime over-the-top riot of excess found in nature… you can draw on it indefinitely.

4. What is playing in rotation these days while you are working?

A Fine Frenzy, Nina Simone, Muse, JJ Grey & Mofro, Radiohead, The Black Ghosts.

5. What is a good art making day look like for you?

Good art making day for me is one without interruptions. I know that if my attention starts to wander I will loose my focus and momentum. Other than that, every day can be an art-making day, and every day can be a good art-making day. Since I am more of a process-oriented person, I don’t have to see an art project finished at the end of the day to feel good about it.

6. Who are your favorite artists?

…it is an ever-changing list, as there are many artists whose works I admire, so this is just a small selection of “favorites right now”:

J.M.W. Turner
Joseph Cornell

Ross Bleckner

Charles Avery

7. Greatest advice given to you, which you would like to pass along?

Don’t ever wait for inspiration, or right time, or perfect conditions to make art. There is no right time or wrong time, there are no perfect conditions, and inspiration does not come to those who wait. Make your marks: draw, doodle, paint, and sketch… art happens in the making.


daisies said...

i adore her work and her ... loved this :-)

Rita Vindedzis said...

I'm going to take your advice in #7. I really feel the need to doodle more theses days and just let it happen. Very nice getting to know you just a bit.