Skip to main content

Six of the Best Part 17


Part 17 of an interview series in which I invite artists to respond to six questions about art, process, and creativity  (Part 1Part 2Part 3,Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12, Part 13, Part 14Part 15, Part 16). Today's artist is George Raica, a mighty fine painter who lives on the east coast of the USA (where he is also director of the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence University).



Philip Hartigan: What medium/media do you chiefly use, and why?

George Raica: Currently I am using the iMac computer to do digital graphics because I don't have heat in my studio in the barn across the street during the winter months. I greatly enjoy doing the images I'm generating on the computer because the work is right at my fingertips and I can get immediate results. Plus it takes a smaller amount of space to do what I'm up to. But I consider myself a mixed-media painter and have worked with lacquer over vinyl. In a separate series I used inter-mixed lacquer with latex and oil and waited to see what kind of special effects turned up as the materials dried--which includes curdling, cracking, floating, bubbling, et.al. There is also a conceptual element to the work, which I won't go into here because I'm going beyond the parameters of the question.

Philip Hartigan: What piece are you currently working on?

George Raica: The digital graphics and-in the barn. Now that it's warmer I'm working on a large piece (7'x 9') made up of configurations of gestural mark-making (triangles, circles, squares, and rectangles). Some of the marks are freehand while others are taped off. This piece is being done in my barn studio where I have a lot of space to move around.



Philip Hartigan: What creative surprises are happening in the current work?

George Raica: Gesture and shapes change in order to get the piece to "work" with regard to composition, design elements, shape, size, and configuration, as well as color value, hue, saturation, paint texture, etc.

Philip Hartigan: What other artistic medium (or non-artistic activity) feeds your creative process?

George Raica: Walking, running, walking, driving my car, reading and writing poetry, working with found-objects. 



Philip Hartigan: What's the first ever piece of art you remember making?

George Raica: Monsters, fighter jets, airplanes, and tanks.

Philip Hartigan: Finally, and you can answer this in any way that's meaningful to you: why are you an artist?

George Raica: I think I was born to be an artist; Inherent in my DNA. I remember always pounding and hammering on objects in the basement as a little boy with no specific purpose in mind. One time I made a teeter-totter for my sisters at Christmas time. They wouldn't "ride" on it because it didn't look much like a teeter-totter.

If you liked this interview, and you'd like to keep up to date with the series, why not Subscribe, or sign-up via Google Connect, using one of the options over on the right? Thanks, and keep creating

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.

My Work Acquired by Important Collection

When so much of making work as an artist involves slogging away in a room with no idea if it's ever going to be seen by the world outside, it's satisfying when a little success comes your way. I am very proud that two of my handmade books were acquired recently by the Joan Flasch Artist's Book Collection at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago. This collection is one of the most renowned collections of books made by artists in the United States, so it's a huge honour to be included.

Here is one of the pieces, an interleaved slit accordion fold of two etchings:


And here is the other, a heavily collaged accordion book bound together by sisal:


Each piece is now being catalogued and digitized, and at some point in the future they will be on display at the library, possibly in the company of books by artists such as Joseph Beuys:

And Christo:


And Richard Tuttle:

I have paintings in my studio that are six feet square, yet it's these two small books that have given m…

How to etch a linoleum block

Linoleum as a material for printmaking has been used for nearly a hundred years now. Normally, you cut an image out using special gouges similar to woodcut tools, cutting away the lino around the image you want to print. This is called relief printmaking, because if you look at the block from the side, the material that remains stands up in relief from the backing material. You then roll ink with a brayer over the surface of the block, place paper over it, and either print by hand or run it through a press. You can do complex things this way (for example, reduction linocuts), but the beauty of the process is that it is quick, simple, and direct.


A few years ago, I saw some prints that were classified as coming from etched linoleum blocks, and I loved the textures I saw in them. In the last few months, I've been trying to use this technique in my own studio, learning about it as one does these days from websites and YouTube videos. I've also had email exchanges with several pr…