Art Feature: Float

Posted by on Jan 31, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

"Float," Grace Antic

by Grace Antic

Grace Antic is a Chicago-based Contemporary artist whose work deals with the restrained expression of deeply felt/experienced emotions often depicted through figures in solitude. Recognizably influenced by Asian Art, Antic’s work exhibits expressionistic use of color as well as linear figures. Much of her work is inspired by music and fashion as well as Pop Surrealism and Contemporary Art. Growing up in a family of creative thinkers, Antic has crafted her own individual style rooted in what she knows to be her innate drive—to create.

Question 1: You mention that you’ve grown up in a family of brilliant and creative minds. How did this impact your own growth as an artist? What do you find to be most significant in nurturing creativity?

What has impacted me most as an artist has been the support I have received from my family and from my schools. From a young age it was understood by myself and my family that being an artist was how I was meant to lead my life. And this (me being an artist) was always treated as a legitimate way of being in the world. I’ve always felt validated by those closest to me. Art in my family has never been on the periphery. One telling example: My Grandfather, starting when my brother and I were two and four, made sure that my family got memberships to every museum in Chicago. My mother, an English teacher, made sure my brother and I were seeing Shakespeare by kindergarten. My father, a scientist who travels internationally, seeks out large and small museums wherever he visits, and has already made it possible for me to visit Europe. This spring he and I will be traveling to Beijing. With the amount of Asian Art influences in my work, you can imagine how exciting this is for me!

In addition to the fundamental support of my family, I was lucky enough to attend a wonderful secondary school that put a high value on the arts and had a deep commitment to arts education. I was given the opportunity in school to develop not only my technical skill as an artist but to come from a place that fosters a deep appreciation of the seriousness and importance of art.

Q2: You describe your work as exhibiting “expressionistic use of color as well as linear figures.” As huge fans of your work, we’d love to know a little more about what that means to you. What inspired this goal, and why is it important to you?

Thank you so much for your kind words. Actually, the notion of a “goal” doesn’t really apply to my process. Each piece starts with simple planning in the form of a sketch. As for the color, that element is more intuitive. The color in my paintings doesn’t correspond to the real world. The color isn’t intended to evoke nature or realism. Color in my work is emotional, experiential. I believe in the authenticity of any one person’s reaction and connection to my art; however, I will admit that the reserved palette of my paintings reflect my own reserved nature. Like color in my work, figures are not intended to be representational. They are minimalistic and reserved, I suppose again, as a reflection of myself. The Asian influences are clear. Others have noted that the soft curving lines are powerfully feminine.

Q3: In your bio, you also mention that you’re inspired by music, fashion, and the Pop Surrealism and Contemporary genres. I’ve always wondered about how an inspiration or the seed of an idea grows into finished artwork. What is your creative process like? When an idea strikes, where do you start? When do you know a work is complete?

It’s difficult to describe just how an idea forms or takes shape. For me, it always starts with some kind of image: an image that already exists, one that I’ve seen and been inspired by, or one that comes straight from my imagination. No matter what, there needs to be something—an image, idea, phrase or feeling—that sparks something in me. Once I have that, it’s up to me to take it where I want- which is where the work begins.

When starting to work with an idea, I need to keep working until it is “translated”, so to speak, from an idea to a drawing, sketch or painting. This takes patience; if I wrestle with the idea enough I will be able to transform it from one medium (thought) to another (paint).

Knowing when a work is complete is instinctual. You just know. You can feel that you’ve gone as far as you need to and that any more adjustments made would alter the precarious balance of the effect the piece has.

Q4: Can you describe your creative space?

As a visual person, I enjoy having objects and images around me that inspire me while I work. These range from porcelain figurines from flea markets to funky designer toys to books on Japanese fashion and even a reproduction of Whistler’s Symphony in White No. 1. My space heater is also an important feature—I live in Chicago! When I’m painting I work at an easel, but use a desk for sketching and finalizing ideas. My studio is where I feel the most centered and where I know what I’m there to do.

Q5: How has your artwork evolved over time? What have been the most challenging obstacles to overcome in your work as an artist?

In the realm of technique, my work has evolved in two main ways. Over time my use of what I call “washes” as backgrounds has become more central and variable to each piece. Also the size of my paintings is integral to my work. I’ve always had a compulsion about the size of things. As a child I was fascinated by anything in miniature. On the other hand, it was a pivotal moment in my life as an artist when my art teacher recommended I use larger (much larger) canvases. His insight that my work (at the time) belonged large scale was key. I hadn’t seen it and he was right. Today I work in a variety of sizes.

Q6: Are you working on any projects currently that you’d like to share with our readers?

Coincidentally, speaking of canvas size, I am working on one of the largest large-scale paintings I’ve ever attempted. I am also experimenting with oils. Transitioning from acrylic to oil has been something I’ve wanted to try for a while now. In doing this, I am hoping not only to progress in terms of painterly technique but also as a way to push myself into new territory as an artist.

Q7: If you could turn the entire world onto the brilliance of one artist, who would it be? Why is he or she so significant?

Right now I’m loving the work of Aron Wiesenfeld. His strong feminine figures are captivating.

Q8: Because we are a literary journal, we would be remiss if we didn’t ask: What’s the name of your favorite book, author, or poet, and why is this book (or person) so close to your heart?

I am an avid reader. My whole family reads; our home is full of books of all kinds.  Interestingly, now that I think about it, we all not only read, we collect: My brother, since he was young, has collected TinTin, my father, in addition to other interests, collects anything written on Schakleton, my mother is an avid collector of Maurice Sendak’s works in illustration and prose, and, as for myself, my favorite author is John Irving, but I collect art books, as well. Another “literary aspect” of my family is that we often read the same book and then have really great conversations based on our individual takes. I can’t imagine being able to paint if I wasn’t also a reader.

Q9: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I’d like to say thank you for being a place where both art and literature can meet. Spry Literary Journal is this incredibly important space for readers to get to know artists.

Linsey Jayne is a wave-headed poet with a penchant for jazz who received her MFA in creative writing at Fairfield University. Her writing has been published in such publications as The Standard-Times, The Dartmouth-Westport Chronicle, and exactly.what.  She has served as the chief poetry editor for Mason’s Road, as well as the student editor for the Bryant Literary Review and the opinion section editor of The Archway. Linsey is currently at work on her first collection of poetry, entitled Idle Jive.

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