Interview with Christopher Gray at Tourist Magazine
CHRISTOPHER GRAY for TOURIST magazine: How is life as a minimalist?
COURTNEY PRICE: Am I a minimalist? I am not so sure of this… I think I am too interested in the confused and vulnerable.
CG for TOURIST: Are there stories behind the paintings or are they developed purely on gut feeling?
CP: 50/50, I work intuitively but also have a lot of criteria… I am interested in the literal and physical but also I seem to embrace the anecdotal… a warm/cold thing. I value communication and directness in my work, but the problem is that I am studying unnamable things. I have spent a lot of time focused on communicating and interpretation: the communication capacities of abstraction have driven my direction towards simplified, codified form.
CG for TOURIST: Has having the ability to see things in the simplest of forms effected how you see everything?
CP: Sounds like some sort of superpower we are talking about…
I am a very visual person and sensitive to the things outside/inside/near forms as well, things like behavior and situation and context. I tend towards the scientific – keeping a sketch book log about the way things operate, move, are built – the colors they have, the way light hits things, the way they sit, the ingredients, elements and natures of things…patterns. What I see or notice is not always simple, there is a lot of complication to reconcile – I actually really enjoy problems/questions, and coming up with imperfect solutions to them. I think of this as a warm math – the solutions are not perfect and cannot be accurate but they are somehow more acceptable to me.
CG for TOURIST: It must be difficult to sketch your ideas if they are so simple. Do you ever draw or sketch? Is this reflected in your work?
CP: I draw a lot and play/mess around with paper shapes a lot… and with vectors digitally… and I make many lists of useful words that create tension – such as this vs. that – looking at things between things. I love working in sketchbooks for many reasons that include a purity of thought process and hand and something about immediacy…I probably fill at least 3 or 4 books a year. Some of the shapes and compositions that I find, or make paintings after, take a bit of time to find and digest… where they prove useful I use them. A lot comes from looking at things and processing over time. Sometimes I become fascinated with something intuitively and immediately and need to see it on some sort of larger canvas, but often I discover or uncover ideas while drawing and processing in books – there are many commonalities of form, structure and humor in this world, and drawing a lot helps me locate these things as shapes. My sketchbooks are the absolute first thing I would grab if leaving.
CG for TOURIST: How do you see your work evolving? It must be difficult to keep a level of simplicity over time without starting to consider additional touches.
CP: mmm… on one hand, I think I am growing more minimal -at least more comfortable with less, but also I am getting more interested in sculpture (encountering a being) and the strange and surreal… maybe the more presumptuous. Frames and sculpture are the newer things to my work… they feel like additional touches.
CG for TOURIST: What are you planning for 2011?
CP: More relief work/sculpture and print and mechanical processes… I bet I will have some paintings in still life situations soon too.
By Christopher Gray
No matter what is going on in the world there are things to relate to, to work on and love – I deeply enjoy working and this world – especially plants, rock/stone/minerals and the way things relate to each other. I think this is the beauty of the mind and of life, so much to look at, interact with or sink into… to invent, adventure in or to avoid and edit… and to create or communicate about.