Because I realize that you the reader doesn’t always want to hear everything I’m up to all the time and I don’t always want to talk about what I’m doing either I have decided to start an Artist Interview Series. I will interview five artists with five questions and hopefully this will give my blog a break from my rants. The first artist I interviewed was Scott Reeder.Scott Reeder is a painter, curator, filmmaker, and professor living in Chicago. His work has included involvement in founding the innovative website zerotv.com, curating the “Drunk Vs. Stoned” exhibitions, creating the Milwaukee International Art Fair, establishing Club Nutz (the world’s smallest comedy club), filming the soon to be released feature-length motion picture “Moon Dust”, as well as his paintings being added to the Saatchi collection. His paintings are snarky and humorous takes on modernist ideas and challenge the presumably over-educated art viewers in a fresh and sarcastic manner. Besides all of that I decided to ask Scott about his new and divergent work using pasta, the barriers he is trying to break down with “Moon Dust”, why he chooses to be involved with Milwaukee, and the challenges he faced becoming an established artist.
CW:Your work deals a lot with the expectations and the conventions of what art typically is. You break these down and reform them with your paintings as well as your curatorial work. Though I have only seen the short clip of “Moon Dust” on the internet, what are you intending to address with this soon to be released feature-length film?
SR:In the last few years there has been a lot of talk about how new digital technologies have made film making much more accessible and with that increased accessibility there is the possibility of expanding the range of voices making films. I guess I really believed this hype and thought what would happen if I tried to make a feature length movie for really cheap but one that was as ambitious as a lot of Hollywood movies as far as the scope of the production and level of fantasy and detail.
My other motivation for the film I think came out of a reaction to how much recent contemporary art has become completely dependent on referencing pop culture. I thought what would happen if instead of making art about a movie or TV show you made your own.Moon Dust is a fully realized world that definitely relates to my paintings and sculpture. It can also be seen as an extension of some of my curatorial projects that have a strong collaborative element.
I’m not using trained actors and while some of the film is tightly scripted ,there has also been a lot of improvisation and collaboration with the actors. Some of my influences for the project are the films of Jacques Tati and Jean Cocteau, mid-century architecture and buildings from the 1970s like Kurokawa Nakagin’s Capsule Tower and television shows from the 60’s like The Prisoner.
CW:You are a part of the bigger art world but you also choose to show work in Milwaukee, a lesser known player in the whole art scheme. In a lot of ways you are similar to David Robbins who also chooses to stray away into Milwaukee. However Robbin
s chose to leave the larger dialogue for a smaller, more “authentic” one. What are your reasons for dwelling between these two realms?
SR:David Robbins was one of my professors when I went to graduate school and he was definitely a big influence, He helped reaffirm a hunch that I also had that the midwest is actually a really interesting and unique place and it’s valuable in it’s separation from the coasts.
From a town like Milwaukee you can get perspective about what is going on in the rest of the world without being overwhelmed by it or ending up being too reactionary. You can build your own world.
CW:What were the biggest struggles you faced trying to make a living on the artwork that you create and sharing it with a larger audience?
SR:Being an artist is really hard. It’s really difficult to get that first big opportunity that will expose your work to a large audience. And if you are lucky enough to get that chance and do something that people respond to, it’s even harder to keep people interested in what you do.
My teaching job at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has been a great grounding force in my career and helped keep me really engaged with art through different ups and downs in my career.
CW:I notice that your most recent spaghetti and lentil paintings are drastically different from your more humorous and well known paintings. Where do you see this type of approach taking you, are you considering staying in this direction or was this a divergence that has stayed its welcome?
SR:I would like to pursue the new work which I’m really excited about and have lots of new ideas for- I think this work still deals with humor albeit a more subtle variety. At the same time, I’m still making the other kind of image based paintings and they seem to be getting better and better so I have no plans of stopping that kind of work either. I think there are many contemporary painters working now that have really varied and expansive practices with seemingly really different directions pursued at the same. I’m just one more person working like this.
CW:You’ve played a little bit with this dichotomy of “drunk or stoned”. You’ve curated shows that express that an artist can either be hyper emotional in the way they work or hyper sensitive and in a few instances a little bit of both. From your work I kind of get the feeling that you’re both drunk and stoned, especially with the expression of the cooked or uncooked spaghetti. So which is it, are you drunk, stoned, or krunked?
SR:I’m not sure what the exact definition of krunk is- I’ve heard the rapper Lil’ Jon talk about it while yelling “WHAT?”. So I definitely like the idea of yelling “WHAT?” as much as possible, so I guess I’m krunked.
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