Thursday, April 7, 2011

Adrienne Miller, A Show and an Interview

My friend Adrienne Miller, who you may remember from this Dreamy Artful Couple post, is currently having an art show at Nashville's Smallest Art Gallery. Need proof that it's the smallest?
Check it out:
Adrienne makes such fantastic work and this show is no exception. Read Adrienne's interview as you look through some of the work. Want to see more work? Click on the link for the gallery page.
Q1. I miss working in the studio with you. You always had several great projects going in different media. Can you speak a bit about how working in different media in undergrad has affected the work you're doing today?

A1. In undergrad, sometimes to my detriment, I tended to dabble in all the 2D areas I could and I definitely can see it turn up in my work now. My latest work uses old photos with drawings on top of them. My BFA from Murray is officially in photography, and while I do still take photos, I currently identify more with drawings and prints - but obviously in this body of work I am combining media. I think my history of having my hands in different pots helps me in my studio not to panic and just reach for whatever I feel the project needs next, letting my work evolve more organically.
Q2. What concepts are you working with now? Are they ideas you have been working with for a while?

A2. The ideas I am working with now feel different than things that I have worked with in the past, but I know they are not a very far stretch either. My undergrad thesis show was titled "Ephemera" and was mostly made up of long exposure photographs. Ive always been interested in the way that time affects memory. We are all impacted by the way our memories change with age and distance so that they end up only as an impression or a symbol for the actual reality. I am still interested in a dreamy aesthetic and making work that recalls that watery feeling of trying to remember something right out of reach.

My current work at the Smallest Art Gallery is delving more into specific types of memory: secrets, deja vu, etc. and what it feels like to experience that. Ive also become very interested in the way that personal family photographs end up in anonymous places (like Goodwill) where the people in the photos are all but forgotten. So, I am still using photos in my work, like I said before, but definitely to a different purpose.

Q3. You are working full time at a university. Is it hard working full time and making art? How do you find the time to make your work?

A2. Working full time and working in the studio is a very hard balance.I essentially took off a year from making anything "serious" after I graduated college. I interned at Hatch Show Print, and I was starting to work, and just needed time to adjust to life and being on my own as an artist. Its such a hard segway from the support of school into solo studio practice. It has been a hard, slow time getting back into regularly making things. Deadlines are CRUCIAL for me, and I also tend to continue to take on projects even though I already feel to busy to think about it anyway. Its like the phrase "Fake it till you make it". Make yourself make work until you finally are making something you like. It takes a while to get there, but the payoff is worth it.

Also, finding a community is really valuable. With some friends, we started a "Print Group" in town and just regularly invited our artist friends to hang out and grab a drink. You could bring things you had been working on and needed feedback with, or just come to see what everyone else had been up to. For a while we even had a friend who was a curator bring us work from his gallery's collection to look at. I felt like that time and building those relationships was really important for me. No one likes feeling alone, and its helpful to at least have friends to gripe with about how hard your last print was to finish and how late you stayed up working on it.

It also definitely helps that I have an artist boyfriend, as cheesy as that is. It helps having that support and know that someone is in the same boat as you creatively. I also have a studio at home, which is convienent (but so messy!), and sharing a space with someone who's feedback you trust has been really beneficial for me. We've worked really hard to make the studio cozy and welcoming so we want to spend time in it, rather than avoid it.

The less positive side of balancing work/studio is that there are days when it feels like you are working two jobs. There aren't enough hours in the day some days, but you just do it because you love it. Sometimes you are really tired, and there are nights I have stayed up till 3 in a burst of energy and still had to be at work at 8am. If you love it, you'll lose sleep over it, and hopefully end up with work that you're happy with.
Q4. Tell us about your show in Nashville! Is it hard finding shows? What do you do to stay active?

A4. My current show is at The Smallest Art Gallery in Hillsboro Village. Its a really fun "gallery space" and because it is so different, I feel like people get really excited about it. It is an old poster case hanging on the wall in between two other businesses, so the work must be smaller than normal sizes. All my pieces are 6" and under. Its also nice that the gallery has such a strong website component, so it functions as an online gallery too. Plus, it is open 24 hours a day, since it is hanging on the sidewalk, and it is solar powered and can be viewed at night!

I have been very lucky to build tons of connections here in Nashville. My friends I made while interning at Hatch Show Print are very well connected since some of them have been living in Nashville for a while. A while back a few of us formed a sort of collective and we started pursuing group shows that way just based on who we knew in the community. Its just about meeting people and keeping those connections open for opportunity. Being nice helps as well as being excited about what you do. I think that excitement is contagious. Also, not being afraid to ask for shows helps - most people get excited about having good-looking art on their walls.
Q5. What's next? Any new ideas for your work? Any grad school plans?

A5. Just working on a few projects right now. I have a group show in town coming up called "Treehouse Dreamhouse" and I just turned in a print for a print exchange. I am also in the middle of a group drawing exchange that is organized by a friend from undergrad who now lives in Guam. I am also looking for residency opportunities, and am interested in possible collaborations.

As for graduate school, I am definitely applying for Fall 2012.

Wonderful! If you are in the Nashville area be sure to stop by Nashville's Smallest Gallery. The show is up April 7-May 19.

Are you having a huge show soon? I would love to feature it and do an interview. Just contact me!

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