Interview With Stephanie Buer

By | May 10, 2012 at 8:46 am | No comments | ART, Featured Post, Interviews

Stephanie Buer Interview by Erin Leigh

Nothing Lasts Forever is the solo exhibition currently at Thinkspace Gallery Los Angeles for Stephanie Buer, an artist eloquently expressive in the beauty she finds in urban decay. The collection sold out immediately including a piece to artist Ron English, its no wonder, the work is amazing. It consists of oil paintings and charcoal drawings of urban landscapes and industrial areas taken over by nature, vandalism and taggers. Her work represents a beauty for these places normally overlooked and she brings softness and new life so intricate they could easily be mistaken as photographs. Being a huge fan of Stephanie, I was excited to have her exhibition here in LA and even happier to have the opportunity to talk to her before the show.

Hi Stephanie, thank you so much for your time and congratulations on your upcoming show, I’m really looking forward to seeing your work! Your style is so interesting to me, you find beauty in the stereo typical not so beautiful places, I love that.What is it about these areas that inspire you?

There are so many things that I love about these places. They have such history, and so many stories to tell. I like to think about the energy and creativity that first went into the building of these places, the architecture alone is amazing. Then after its abandonment,I love seeing how buildings succumb to nature and eventually how they have the potential to bring out so much creativity in the artists that visit them. Its a strange combination of abandonment and life. I enjoy the thrill of exploring and going into places where others would be too cautious to travel and seeing new beauty where people may only see ugliness and waste.

You can definitely see that you enjoy it and that you do see that
beauty, your drawings convey it and they are so amazing! What is the process of using charcoal and where did you learn?

Thank you! Its a really simple process, I start with image gathering, solely off of my own photographs from various locations. I choose an image or multiple images to work with then i lay out in pencil, I prefer to do everything by hand. Then I put all the values in using charcoal pencils. I essentially work like a giant printer, its kind of funny to see it day to day but it allows the drawings to stay neat and tidy which is great because i love the stark whites against the rich darks of the charcoal. I learned all sorts of drawing methods in college and eventually just settled into my favorite way of working.

OK, so you.. your background.. place of birth, art history?

I grew up in the countryside of West Michigan, and moved to Detroit to attend the College for Creative Studies. I lived there for about 10 years, and then recently left my job and moved to Portland, Oregon with my husband, deciding to focus on my art career. As far as art history goes, I can remember always drawing growing up, it was what my sister and I did for fun. It wasn’t until high school that I realized I was able to draw well and began to take it seriously. Honestly though, all through my childhood and even into College I really wanted to be a ballet dancer, even going to a professional ballet school. I am really glad it turned out I liked drawing and painting way more.

What is your approach to your work? Is it more planned out or spontaneous?

The actual making of my work is planned out, its very detail oriented.The spontaneity comes in the image gathering, the exploring is the most exciting and adventurous part.

Your bio mentions the Falcon Art Community, can you talk about that?

The Falcon Art Community is essentially a large group of studio spaces with all different kinds of artists working together under one roof. I have a studio space there along with many other painters, musicians, writers and actors, its a really creative environment. The space that i have is actually a part of a fellowship that i was awarded this year from the Calligram Foundation which is led by Allie Furlotti, and is currently Oregon’s largest art fellowship. The Calligram foundation is collaborating with Brian Wannamaker, the owner and operator of the Falcon Art Community. His contribution is to offer the fellowship recipients studio space within the Community Studio space.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?

Honestly, I love what I do, and I am currently looking at continuing to build a larger body of work based on buildings and locations that inspire me. I’m also looking forward to exploring more cities; I’m hoping to go to Eastern Europe next summer. In the immediate future I’d like to continue working and growing with Thinkspace Gallery and perhaps someday showing in other cities like New York or perhaps somewhere in Europe.

-Erin Leigh

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