I had a pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite artists, Ross Bleckner, about his favorite exhibition, inspiration and pursuing career as an artist.
It’s one thing to admire an artist’s work, but what if you also got to meet or work with him? For more than 15 years, I have been inspired by the exhibitions of an artist you very well may know — Ross Bleckner. This year I have the privilege to work with him on a new collaboration. His paintings are beautiful to the eye and I can’t help but feel an incredible emotional connection to his work. The largest painting Bleckner completed was on display in the World Trade Center (sadly it was destroyed on September 11th, 2001). In this interview, I asked Ross about his favorite exhibition, inspiration, and career as an artist.
1. What past exhibition was your favorite and why? My favorite exhibition was my retrospective at the Guggenheim in 1996. I suppose the reason is obvious… it was at the Guggenheim. Also ranked among my favorites would was my first museum show in San Francisco. For the first time in my career, I looked at my work and thought: “I can’t believe this is happening,” and “I can’t believe I created these paintings.” It was surreal. I also really liked them, which doesn’t happen often.
2. When you were growing up, did you want to be anything other than an artist? I never really gave it much thought until college. I loved the relief I felt when I was sitting alone making art but never imagined it was something people do as a profession, let alone myself.
3. If there was one exhibition that you attended as a child that helped you feel more comfortable pursuing a career as an artist, what exhibition was it and why was it so powerful? I actually don’t remember seeing exhibitions as a child. Even though I grew up close to Manhattan, I might as well have been in Nebraska. I do remember seeing “The Responsive Eye” at MOMA, an exhibition of op art that I liked because everything seemed to be moving. That work lead to the optimality, the pulsating of my stripe paintings in the early 80s.
4. What exhibitions do you have coming up in 2017 and 2018? 2017 is almost over and I don’t have anything planned for the remainder of the year. Next year I have exhibitions in both Italy and Belguim, if I can get all the work done. Which is why it’s better not to do interviews.
5. What is the largest work you’ve ever painted and what was the inspiration? The largest work I ever painted was a stripe painting that was a commission for the world trade center, which sadly was destroyed.