As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 

TODAY

Sunday, December 17

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


A/C
« SketchFest 2013: Big Event with Even Bigger Laughs Art Around Town »

Interview Wed Jan 09 2013

High Brow, Low Brow, Here Brow, No Brow: A Studio Visit with Paul Perkins

photo43.jpeg

People are strange. They can be such idiots, and so violent. American culture is so ass-backward, yet so sickeningly appealing. Paul Perkins knows this all, and thinks about it, maybe a little too hard, as he cuts up tiny pieces of cellophane and construction paper in his carnivalesque basement studio on the South Side.

As part of an ongoing "Studio Visit" series for Gapers Block, I visited him in his studio back in July and asked him a few questions about his work. Perkins has a solo exhibition up at Peanut Gallery (1000 N. California Ave.) through this Saturday, January 12.

photo12.jpeg

Tell me about your background -- how and when you became interested in making art and what brought you to Chicago.

I was born and raised in Oklahoma City. When I was 19, I came to Chicago to go to the SAIC on a merit scholarship. I earned a BFA in studio arts in 2002. I have been making art objects since I was a child and knew I wanted to be an artist since I was 4 years old. My mother was like an art teacher for me and has remained one of my strongest influences to this day. My mother is half Muskogee Creek Native American and worked for a Title IV program where she taught and supported Native American heritage and students in Oklahoma City public schools. It was because of my mother and her profession that I made arts and crafts and found the process of creating important.

photo24.jpegWhat issues (formal/social/personal/etc) do you try to address with your work?

The materials lead first and foremost. The issues change in my work from one body to another, yet I have been very annoyed and sad as of late. For maybe two years now I have been motivated to create work that I believe reflects what is unfair in our capitalist society.

photo16.jpegWhat are your medium(s) of choice and why?

I think of myself as a sculptor. I use lots of stuff from craft stores, dollar stores, party material stores, and school supply stores. These are also places where I generate ideas. I can spend as much time looking at stuff, taking notes, and generating ideas for projects as I do buying for projects. My work usually starts with drawing, then I make sculptures/reliefs that reference traditional painting. In fact, most of the time, I think of my artworks as sculptural objects or three-dimensional paintings. When it comes to materials, I use a lot of things that I find, like cardboard, or things that I buy, such as colored paper, felt, craft sticks, tape, glitter, glue, and different kinds of clear plastics. I often think of classical religious paintings from the 16th century because of the multi-layered illuminated images. I try to create the illusion of some of these same techniques. My work is based on painting, yet, because of the craft-store materials, relates to bulletin boards or grade-school arts and crafts. I think this gives my work its own identity or its own kind of language.

photo44.jpegHow do you spend your time in the studio? What are your methods? What to you do to come up with ideas?

I try to work in my studio almost every day for at least four to eight hours at a time. As a practicing artist, I make my studio practice a part of my life. It's like I have a lot of problems and or pain and I have to give it to something. I have come to feel it is necessary to get in my studio and do some work. My process of creating artworks starts with many pieces at once. After spending time on notes and to-do lists, I then start to hone in on five to six pieces at a time, moving from one to another. Even when I'm not in my studio I am working, reading, writing ideas, and looking at images from Goya to Lisa Frank.

photo356.jpegWhat are your influences? What are you reading/watching?

As far as influential artists, I could use a lot of space to include them all. A short list, or maybe my top five in no order are: 1) Thomas Hirschhorn 2) Lucian Freud 3) Kerry James Marshall 4) Mike Kelly 5) Richard Tuttle. When it comes to the TV, I love NBA basketball and I watch 1980s pro wrestling on DVD. When it comes to music, right now I am listening to a lot of '80s hardcore American punk rock. In the past, I have read and really appreciate Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Richard Dawkins. Right now, I am reading two books: Sam Harris' The End Of Faith and Paul Johnson's Darwin: Portrait Of A Genius.

How has your work evolved over the past few years?

My work has evolved mainly based on the use of materials. I try to find a new way of manipulating them on each and every one, stirring them in different directions based on the attitude or personality of the piece.

photo351.jpegHow would you like to see your work evolve over the next year?

Like so many other artists, I want to make art full time. This means it would be way cool to be represented by some hotshot gallery that sells my work. I just always want to make more and more work. I also like to collaborate with other artists, maybe work on some installations. My mother has been sick and not getting any better, so I'd like to make some artworks with her in mind, for her. She got me started in all of this.

Do you plan to stay in Chicago indefinitely? Why or why not? What do you like or not like about being an artist here?

If one of these days I can go somewhere else and live somewhere else I guess I would. I'm not sure if it matters that I'm an artist in Chicago vs. anywhere else. Not a lot of people know who I am here. I spend most of my time working in my studio and not dealing with anyone. Is this a good strategy -- not sure? Wherever I am I will keep making stuff. It would be nice to show it as well. I think that some of my work might like to get out of town. I guess I would go along for the ride.

photo29.jpeg
In the interest of full disclosure, Peanut Gallery is run by me and a small group of comrades. Because I tend to conduct studio visits with artists whose work I am personally interested in, many (but not all) of the artists featured in the studio visit series here on Gapers Block have had or will have exhibitions at Peanut Gallery.

 
GB store
GB store

Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

Blogroll

ACRE
An Angry White Guy
Antena
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Collaboraction
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Defibrillator
Devening Projects
Digressions
DIY Film
ebersmoore
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
HollywoodChicago
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
InCUBATE
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
J-Pointe
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Marquee
Mess Hall
N'DIGO
Neoteric Art
NewcityArt
NewcityFilm
NewcityStage
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Onstage
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
Performink
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
SAIC Blog
The Seen
Sharkforum
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Steppenwolf.blog
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
threewalls
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Vocalo
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store

 

Events


A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.



About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Nancy Bishop, nancy@gapersblock.com
A/C staff inbox: ac@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15