Interviewed in March of 2016 by Andrew Houle
Hometown: Middletown, RI
Current town: Dover, NH
Website: Click Here
1. Hey there Jeremy, great having you featured here in the pages of Chroma and taking the time to let us pick your artist's brain. Let’s dive right in. You and your wife Michelle Morin (an incredible professional artist in her own right) have formed roots here in New England and the work that emerges is a reflection of your surroundings. Can you talk a little about what this region means to you creatively and how it’s impacted your career as an artist?
Thanks so much for having me. Yeah, for me it the seasons that have the biggest impact on my work. There's this pattern that I've observed enough times now that I can confidently call it a work cycle that I'm probably destined to go through for the rest of my life. In the spring and summer, I'm almost exclusively interested in painting from life (plein-air landscape painting/ still) I just crave being out and absorbing everything I can. It almost feels like foraging. Then as soon as September rolls around I completely shift gears. No interest what so ever in run air work and I become totally introverted and become solely interested in making things using my imagination. Like I said I'm just now becoming comfortable with the cycle but before I'd get really depressed about it because I was feeling like I was all over the place with the two, but now I'm realizing it's more like a nourishing process.
2. From being raised in Rhode Island surrounded by the eastern coastline, then receiving your art education at MassArt and living just north of Boston to now settled up in New Hampshire; you’ve lived in some very different but yet uniquely New England environments. Do all of these places find their way into your work through the experiences and time spent in each? Any locations that have resonated more than others?
I kind of think it all just collects into one "New Englandy" hybrid environment. At least that's what I'm after. Not a specific place but an abstraction. With that said I had a studio over by the back shore in Gloucester years back and that's really stuck in my head. There's kind of a darkness over there that I found really attractive.
3. You’ve mentioned before how your paintings are formed pulling from memory. Within any number of your pieces there are aspects found within arms length of an artist’s studio or home, then combined with dreamlike landscapes that flicker on the edge of surrealism and abstraction. What content within your work emerges from memory? Is it the locations or the colors that you remember? Or at times does personal photography act as a guide from days, weeks or seasons past? (Or a little bit of both?)
I've actually moved a bit away from those interior/exterior paintings so it's hard to remember somehow. But I use whatever it takes to make something that feels right. Those were meant to behave like memories (washy and liquidy) but I used personal photos drawings and also some memory.
4. Your changing studio space is not simply a workspace but has often been the subject matter throughout your career. Whether tubes of paint, brushes, rags, stretched canvases leaning against the wall and even the inclusion of your own sketches pinned to the wall populate finished pieces. There is a refreshing simplicity to finding inspiration not just in nature, but right in front of us in the common spaces that make up our homes and workspaces. Are you always searching for the next painting inside or outside… even if it the next painting happens to be what someone else would consider clutter?
Yeah, I like to keep my eyes pretty wide open. Painting the studio has a nice kind of irony and a weird sort of dimensional mirroring that just comes baked in but really (since I intentionally avoid figures) painting my studio is my way of approaching a self-portrait of sorts.
5. Alright, we know you’ve switched back and forth from painting in both acrylic and oils over the years without any real discernible shift in the quality of your work. Other painters would argue this is completely unfair and proof of inherent super powers, what gives? Why switch back and forth? And secondly, what forces are at work allowing you this paint brush sorcery?
Ha, thanks. That's nice. I have a lot to say here but I'll try and keep it short. As to the "why switch back and forth,” I use oil to paint from observation since it's such a correctable medium. And sometimes I just get burnt out and need to think through a different medium. But I'm partial to using acrylic. Not using solvents is a big deal but honestly, I love the way it handles. People complain about how fast it dries but that's the best part (especially if you're prone to being restless) and I really love the challenge of elevating the surface of acrylic. Oil paint is organic and lush right out of the tube. It's just nicer material so the challenge with acrylic is you have to employ a lot of tools and strategy and elbow grease to get it to feel rich and organic.
6. We like to give away a few industry secrets here in the pages of Chroma. Are there any specific paint mediums or unorthodox products you love to work with? Right down to the brand name and everything.
Hair dryer is a must. I've owned about a dozen. Crappy brushes are important for me. I use squeegees and do a lot of wet sanding. Specific mediums Utrecht's matte gel is the perfect sheen, almost feels like wax.
7. Music in the studio while you’re working? Anything that you’re listening to now that is pushing you or inspiring you? We accept guilty pleasure soundtracks here as well. This is a judgment free publication.
Oh, man music is so problematic lately. I need something that barely registers. I can't work in silence, that's just too distracting but I can't listen to music that will control my mood in any way, cause I don't want it to have a role in how these things are made. So honestly I end up listening to the same album over and over basically till it becomes white noise. Totally sounds insane as I'm writing this but it's actually kind of comforting.
8. So, Jeremy, you’re professionally represented in 3 different galleries nicely spaced out geographically with several online outlets to order reproductions of your work, not to mention an Etsy shop as well. At times does the organizational and clerical aspects of managing an art career creep into the hours allotted for applying paint to canvas? Essentially, the reward for producing great work is typically more work. How much has time management become important to effectively working on both the creative and business sides of things?
It depends. I tend to save it up and dedicate a few days to "office" stuff. I'm not super organized, though. I want to be but, you know.
9. With having gallery representation internationally up in Toronto at Parts Gallery, has safely packing and shipping your pieces over the border become a new aspect factored into an art career? Any consideration to just driving the work there rather than hand over the paintings to a carrier?
Ha, yeah, I was going to do that for my last show there but I ended not being able to plus I was nervous about bringing "merchandise " over the border. But yes shipping is tough for international. You really have to package with the worst case scenario in mind and it's nerve wracking to an entire shows worth of paintings stuck in customs. Plus large paintings need to be taken off their stretchers and rolled and sent freight. It's all doable but it's a process I don't enjoy for even a second.
10. Every once and a great while, a certain classic NES (Nintendo) theme playfully jumps into a painting. We’re pretty partial to Kid Icarus, Metroid and Excitebike here at Tryptic Press HQ…any chance we’ll see any other “Lost Levels” or favorite games emerge in your work?
Yeah, definitely. I like using video game images for a number of reasons but, in particular, I like how they act as a portal to a childhood dominated by a screen.
11. Something we love including in each interview is asking our featured artists who THEY think deserves the spotlight? Any artists out there whether painter, sculptor, musician, or even small business you think our readers should be paying attention to?
My friend Tom Deininger makes some really beautifully strange work. You can image search him but he really does the kind of work you have to see in person.
12. Lastly, what is coming up next for you? Any upcoming projects or exhibitions where we can expect to see your work? Shameless free plugs… GO!
I’m developing a body of work right now and am not planning on any shows to give them plenty of time to solidify.