American Artist, based in, Portland, Oregon, Painting & Drawing: Heather Goodwind
1) What Artbooks are you currently looking at?
I Am in It: Contemporary Chinese Art Expressions by Yiguo Zhang. It's actually a catalog of a show from 2008 at the Florida Gulf Coast University. I met the author in China and he gave me a signed copy. I loved the images and looked through them a couple of times but then it sat on my shelf for years until recently. Now I can't stop looking at it, especially the works of Shao Yan and Lan Zhenghui. I wish I had made an effort to see some of their works in person when I had the chance. It's funny how sometimes opportunities are presented to you when you're not ready to take advantage of them.
2) What was the last truly inspiring Art Exhibition you saw?
The Indigenous Art collection at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia. Six years later I'm still seeing the effects of that imagery in my work; it keeps changing, moving and fading but it's not going away.
3) Give us the name of your favorite overlooked or under appreciated Artist?
This is not an easy question. Under appreciated is relative and each time I think of a famous yet under appreciated artist, I'm reminded that they are, after all, still famous. So I will name someone I know who is completely overlooked: Sreetama Ray. She's a young, self-taught, Indian artist living in Singapore. She gets little credit or recognition for how amazing she is and yet her images are so powerful that people (and institutions) are stealing them left and right, particularly her paintings of Durga.
4) What are your Artistic guilty pleasures? Do you have a favorite genre/style?
If I felt guilty about liking anything it would be the plethora of new art that is "inspired" by Basquiat. There are so many people imitating his style. Some part of me wants to rail against that but in the end I have to admit that I really do love it.
5) If we came to your studio what would we see?
A big mess. Lots of stuff all over my work table that looks like it's been pushed aside to make space to draw. There's always little scraps of paper everywhere because I often practice a line or a brush stroke before I actually make it on my artwork. Sometimes I'll do ten or twenty of them before I feel comfortable with the motion - my work stays clean and tightly defined while the chaos of creation ends up all over my floor.
6) What’s the best Art Exhibition on The Americas you’ve ever seen?
The Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM has an amazing collection of folk and outsider art from North America and Latin America. I remember being particularly impressed the Amish quilts and the Mexican figurines.
7) What subject other than Art, are you interested in? That nevertheless informs your work?
I'm interested in people. I love learning about evolutionary biology, linguistics, psychology and social anthropology. The ever evolving ideas around these subjects shape the intellectual side of my work, giving balance to my emotional and aesthetic considerations.
8) What was the last Art Exhibition that made you happy?
A screening of My Best Thing by Frances Stark. I couldn't stop laughing throughout the whole film. Some of it was actually funny but mostly it made me happy because she was so open about these very personal yet semi-anonymous interactions that she was having online and managed to weave them together beautifully in a way that is socially relevant without being moralistic.
9) What was the last Art Exhibition that made you sad?
A few months ago I saw Maria TV, a short video work by Rodrigo Valenzuela that was at once playful and sobering. He had a group of Latina domestic workers telling their true stories and reenacting scenes from telenovelas. Incidentally, it was at the UPFOR Gallery here in Portland, where I also saw My Best Thing by Frances Stark.
10) What kind of person were you as a child? And what were your favorite childhood memories, which made you an Artist? how have you grown over the years what has changed what remained the same?
I was a shy child with my head always buried in a book. My favorite childhood memories are from when we lived in the Pocono Mountains on a huge property that bordered a forest. I would go alone, with my two dogs, into the forest to climb trees, build forts and see how far away from home I could get and then return before dark. It was a magical time. As for becoming an artist, it was a very natural thing to do as my mother was an artist as well. She was always so generous in sharing her materials with me and we spent many hours over many years drawing and painting together.
Not much has changed. I'm not that shy anymore and I hardly ever have time to read but I still spend many hours drawing and painting and my own daughter has her art table right next to mine.
11) Whom do you consider your Artistic Masters? Do you believe in mastery?
When I think of Artistic Masters I think of Michelangelo, Ingres, Hokusai, Van Gogh, Rothko, Motherwell, O'Keefe, Bourgeouis... where do I stop? And yes, I do believe in mastery. I think it takes a lot of work to truly gain control over your materials and it is especially difficult to do so without loosing your enthusiasm and willingness to experiment.
12) Which Artists have had the most impact on you as an Artist? Is there a particular Art Work that made you want to be an Artist? Please upload an image to justify your statement?
As a child, I loved the paintings of William Blake but was particularly impressed by the magical realism of Gustave Dore. His images reflected the world that I knew from books; dark, scary, magical and infinitely more interesting than the everyday world of real life. As a teenager, I fell in love with the works of Georgia O'Keeffe and Frida Kahlo, then later discovered Joseph Beuys, Eva Hesse, Jenny Holzer and Lee Bontecou. I've also always loved Asian art, especially the Chinese ink paintings from the Song Dynasty and the Edo period Japanese woodblock prints.
13) What gear do you use, and how does your gear, support your Artistic vision. How would you describe your Artistic Workflow what software, hardware, storage, & materials and processes do you use?
I love paper. I love the way ink absorbs into it, how water puddles and thick paint raises up off the surface. I love the way graphite pencils shine at a certain angle and how colored pencils feel chalky and thick. I work on a lot of pieces at once, I might have fifty or sixty in process at any one time. I keep them in a stack and when it's time to work I pull them out and look at them, placing them in another stack until one jumps out at me as needing something specific and then I immediately do whatever that is, placing the others aside. Then I leave that one to dry and begin again with the stack. Some days I'll go through the entire stack and not one begs to be worked on. That's when I start something new. When I finish one, I scan it and put it away.
14) Do you have any regrets with regards to your Art especially when starting out, What would you do differently?
I used to destroy a lot of work when I was young. I would start a work, not like it, not be able to finish it and then end up destroying it. When I started working in Moleskine books I set up a series of rules to follow: each page had a number, no pages could be torn out, each page would be signed when finished, no signed page would be re-touched and every single page in the book had to be finished and signed before I could start a new book. I did this in twelve books over ten years and it really helped me to become more disciplined. I also didn't let myself curate what I would show, all the books in their entirety would go online whether I hated them or loved them. I still follow these rules even though I'm working on loose paper. I force myself to finish all the works I start and each one is on my website for anyone to see. It's hard not to hide some away but I think there's a slippery slope there and I'm afraid of backsliding into destroying things.
15) In your genre style of work, what are the challenges/opportunities to your business. How do you envision yourself 5 years from now?
The market for original art is pretty small, so the challenge is to capture that tiny percent of people that value what you do. As for opportunities, you just have to put yourself out there and apply for everything you can. There are also more opportunities for selling prints, the giclee technology has made it much more accessible than it was when all prints were off-set.Five years from now I hope to spend time at artist's residencies. When I was younger, I would take my materials and go traveling on my own, not wanting to deal with the institutions that make residencies. It was great, but having done that quite a few times I can really appreciate the importance of landing in a community of artists instead of in a backpacker's hostel.
16) In your Artists Imagination, how do you perceive India. What painting/Drawings would you like to make of Her?
I perceive India as incredibly complicated. I have yet to visit India and know that whatever I think of Her now will certainly change when I do. That said, my visual imagination of India at the moment is captured by a book called Tantra Song, Tantric Painting From Rajasthan. It has already inspired one work of mine: Necessary Being, Series 14 #11.