Opening reception: May 18th 2017
An exclusive interview with Russ Vogt
Why did you choose art for a career?
I don’t know what else to do! I discovered I liked art in high school and that it was something I could do. I remember doing really well on a project in grade school too. We brought in a Christmas card to copy onto a larger scale by using a grid system. It really worked out for me and I never forgot that.
What do you hope someone feels when they see your artwork?
For me it’s not really about what people think. I like the feedback because sometimes what a person thinks about my art is way different than what I thought. But I’m not aiming for anything specific.
What artists are you inspired by?
Gaudi, the Blue Rider group, and Kandinsky.
What does the daily life of an artist look like?
A great day has no distractions, I’ll be working all day, and pretty soon the day is over, and I’ve gotten a lot done, and apparently everything is going well because I’m not thinking about it. With me, you’re never working on specific things, so there is no specific reward or something to complete. But sometimes you wake up the next day and you find yourself in a much better frame of mind.
Where do you take your colors from?
For my paintings, my biggest influence is Kandinsky, I also take from the Blue Rider group. For my ceramic and tile work, I am influenced by the person who made tiles for Gaudi. I was doing sculpture before painting, and I suppose the sculpture overflowed into the paintings.
How long does it take you to complete a sculpture or painting?
I have pieces in sculptures that are 15 years old, along with ones that came out of the kiln a month ago. So I don’t know how long it takes me. I make all the smaller pieces first, then do whatever I can think of first, and try to throw something together to make the large finished piece.
What sparked your interest in animals?
I saw a bronze cat at the Art Institute, it was very primitive. I liked this characteristic and how you could see the carved textures from the original piece, before it was bronze. That’s where it started for me and I built off that. I started making my own small concrete cats, which then started my tiling and mosaic process.
What has been the most creative part of your life?
It’s going pretty good right now. There was a part in graduate school that was pretty good too, there’s always ups and downs. When I have a “down” moment, I do something else!
What is your dream project?
Maybe a one-piece, large scale sculpture out of clay. You would need a huge kiln. I see other artists who work huge and it looks like it’d be really fun to try if I could have access to a huge kiln where I could build anything I wanted.
What are you working on currently that excites you?
My new abstract paintings. I’m also trying some new forms in sculpture. Right now there’s lots of pieces and I’m trying to simplify things, and I am getting some interesting forms.
All photos on this page taken by Tim Lien