Getting to Know: Gallery Assistants Brent Erickson, Nate Burbeck, Chloe Briggs, and Jennica Kruse
Getting To Know… is a monthly article we will be publishing along with our monthly exhibitions at Rosalux to give you the chance to get to know our exhibiting artists a little bit better. In this installment we spoke with our four Gallery Assistants–Brent Erickson, Jennica Kruse, Nate Burbeck, and Chloe Briggs–to provide a little bit of insight into their work, their current exhibition; 4real, and how they manage as young artists.
Here is what they had to say:
Who are your biggest influences as an artist?
Brent: Dan Deacon, H.G. Wells, Donald Judd
Jennica: I would say my teacher, Diane Katsiaficas at the University of Minnesota. Her digital drawing class really pulled me outside of my comfort zone, and the processes I learned to use became central to my work, not just technically, but in terms of the conceptual questions I ask as well.
Nate: I love the work of Gregory Crewdson. I also really like Stephen Shore’s work, and painters like Edward Hopper and Carla Klein.
Chloe: I look at Alyssa Monks paintings almost every day for inspiration, and then of course my artist friends and family.
What inspires you?
Brent: People who are truly interested in something—that they can’t stop talking/thinking/reading about. I also think a lot about the things I watch and see, such as movies and conversations. Most the time, my thoughts end up in hypotheticals.
Jennica: I am inspired by a great deal of Italian Renaissance art. More directly, I am inspired by the way architecture defines the feeling of a space or place. In both cases, research into the history and background is a very important step for me.
Nate: I watch a lot of movies and am always looking for new artists and work online. I get really inspired by landscapes too and traveling, especially seeing pictures of places I haven’t been to.
Chloe: Listening to great music or watching a powerful film always gets me inspired to create.
Can you tell us about the moment in your life when you realized you were no longer a student of art but an artist, and how that transition occurred for you?
Brent: I think my involvement with the Ten Emerging Artists show at the Old European Bakery in Duluth, MN might be a good example of this. This was a really ambitious project put together by a few students to put on a one night exhibition of our work. We had to do everything ourselves, sending out the press release, obtaining the space and insurance, setting up the space, and curating the work of a few invited student artists. It felt real and professional.
Jennica: At my first job after I left school, I still felt like a student. The transition was gradual for me, as I did more shows and applied for various things. Setting up my workspace and figuring out equipment was pretty important in changing my self-conception.
Nate: Coincidentally I was still a college student at the time, but I remember just starting to get really into my work and taking it more seriously. This was reinforced when I did a Summer Artist Residency Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York and was around amazing artists from all over the world, I had to try and blend in.
Chloe: My first commissioned painting after graduation put things into perspective… I felt like a real working artist for the first time.
Where was your first show outside of university?
Brent: Neato Geo at Ochre Ghost Gallery in Duluth MN. Although I was still a student, this was completely separated from my university, and therefore outside of it. I exhibited with fellow students Rob Kaiser-Schatzlein and Adam Rosenthal. This was the first showing of work at the gallery outside of the opening of the gallery, which showcased the curators/owners own work.
Jennica: Two months after I graduated, the U of M had their first ever show of undergrad work in the Katherine E. Nash Gallery. All the BFA students from the previous year were invited to apply, and Bartholomew Ryan from the Walker Art Center juried it.
Nate: Midwest Biennial, a juried group show in Wausau, WI. I got honorable mention which meant I was given a $100 gift card to the Wausau Harley Davidson store. It was the best $100 gift card I never spent.
Chloe: I started to show my work in several coffee shops right after graduation, but the first official show would have to be at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design where I participated in a collaborative project.
How do you get from the first spark of an idea to a finished work for exhibition? Where do your ideas come from?
Brent: I play around with sketches in both a sketchbook and on my laptop. I usually start with something simple—like a square or circle—and arrange my drawings accordingly. The more overlap I can produce, the most interesting I think the work becomes. Even though I use recognizable objects as subject matter, I aim to abstract them into just lines.
Jennica: I always start from photos or other source material. I almost always play around with it in photoshop to see if I can cut down to the essentials digitally. Even though the digital step is important to me, the actual physical realization of my work is very important to me. I use many different media, but apply the same standards of completion to each one.
Nate: My ideas come from all the stuff I consume visually; films, other artists’ work, the news, things I read. My paintings are based off of photographs I’ve taken in various locations. Sometimes I have a specific idea or spot in mind, other times those ideas will evolve more organically.
Chloe: I just paint when it comes naturally- which isn’t all the time- I listen to my inner-artist. My ideas usually stem from late night conversations with friends.
What media would you use if you didn’t use your own?
Jennica: I use so many different media…I am really drawn to metal work, and am exploring it a little. I like to learn new ways of achieving my visions, but I also want to learn one medium well enough to do anything with it. I started out thinking I only ever wanted to use clay, but now I’m glad I have options.
Nate: Probably photography, or social practice (so-prac for those in the know), you can get great grant funding for that kind of stuff..
Chloe: If I wasn’t an oil painter, I’d probably be a photographer. I use a lot of photography in my process and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed.
What are you doing when you are not making art?
Brent: Mostly playing with technology, otherwise I am practicing cooking, working, or lounging around at home.
Jennica: Reading, cooking, cleaning, hanging out with friends and most importantly my little sister.
Nate: Working, hanging out with friends, keeping up on current events, listening to various podcasts. Trying to travel when I can.
Chloe: I’m a barista and a dog-walker, so that keeps me fairly busy.
What is your favorite word?
Jennica: Syllepsis comes to mind. I just like how it sounds.
What’s the most important thing in your studio?
Brent: Pentalic™ 6B Woodless Graphite, a pencil sharpener, a jar to collect graphite shavings.
Jennica: My computer. But it’s also the most likely to distract me, run out of batteries, and not work quite like it should.
Nate: My small and slowly growing collection of art books.
Chloe: For now, my laptop graciously playing pandora while I am working has got to be the most important thing in the studio. I hate working in silence, I need my Fleet Foxes to guide me.
What’s your favorite blog?
Jennica: http://www.koobly.com/ always has some really cool, different stuff.
If you had a $1,000,000 budget, what would you create or do?
Brent: Purchase space and equipment for a private studio and print shop. Giving myself the equipment I need to produce work as well as sharing and teaching print is a goal of mine.
Jennica: Something large. I’d really like to push scale, build something people are surrounded by. Build something tall.
Nate: I’d pay off my student loans and go on some huge road trips, visit friends in other countries. And since my paintings are based off landscape photographs I’d have a lot of source material for new paintings. I would also build much larger canvases, maybe even do some wall paintings?
Chloe: I’d build a coffee shop/art gallery/music venue and hire all of my friends- providing them with all the benefits in the world… and a nice paycheck.
What is coming up next for you?
Brent: I’ll be exhibiting work in a solo exhibition at the Duluth Art Institute in December this year. Besides that, continuing to work both in the studio and as an assistant. And possibly grad school.
Jennica: In June I will be in a show at the Phipps Center for Art called Women and Water Rights: Concerning Water. Over the summer and next year I will be working at the University of Minnesota in the eStudio and hopefully exploring different experimental media, vinyl layering, embroidery and pushing my art in new directions.
Nate: I’ll be featured in the upcoming issue of Studio Visit Magazine. Other than that just more painting and drawing. Hopefully more exhibiting too, we’ll see if anything comes up.
Chloe: On to more cafe exhibitions for the summer… and possibly some children’s book illustration.