Thursday, September 06, 2012
Interview with Artist Endia Bumgarner
Me: What draws you to art?
Endia: Color, shape, texture, conceptual implications, technical application, tenacity, creativity, cultural history that it records
Endia: What is your favorite piece you’ve done?
Me: Why is it your favorite?
Endia: I learned a lot from this exhibition. It was my first attempt at large scale painting. It was the first time that I focused and controlled my skills in an attempt to have an extended visual conversation with my audience. I was pleased with the paintings and the exhibition. I was able to observe areas that I needed to work on and prepare myself for my next show. I love opportunities that educate me on how to improve my performance.
Me: Why dogs?
Endia: First, I love dogs. When you love your subject, it translates into your work.
Second, it made me laugh. I was practicing for my graduate show and found several layers of humor tied to my subjective choice. In our culture we refer to some people as ‘big dogs’ which is a way of stating that they are an important figure. As a graduate student, I desired to create a body of work that set me in the ranks of professional artists (a.k.a big dogs). Then there is the fact that my paintings are indeed ‘big’ and of ‘dogs’. Then there was the fact that as a master candidate, I was seriously proposing that colorful dog and cat paintings were the basis for a fine art showing. My studies actually gave validity to the subjective choice. In the course of art history, dogs have often been included in paintings as objects of loyalty, strength, and masculinity. Cats, on the other hand, have occasionally been used to illustrate feminity, weakness, and promiscuous inclinations. I simply couldn’t resist playing with the gender implications of my subject in this painted exhibition of 14 dogs and 1 kitten. The the little pussycat will never be a big dog……it’s going to be a cat when it grows up. I like to think that the lesson of having realistic expectations in somewhere in this exhibit as well as the lesson of never quit dreaming. Not sure that it translated in the exhibition for the viewer, but it was in my thoughts at the time of creation.
Lastly, dogs serve as a defense. I have often used art as a defensive element in my life and found myself defending my paintings in graduate school. Big guard dogs seemed like a logical subject choice at the time with all things considered.
Me: Do you find teaching inspires your work or hurts it……?
Endia: I intentionally separate the two. As an artist, I prefer to be as free from outside influence as possible….including patrons, studies, teachings, etc. I find the more input I have, the more overwhelmed I become. I am aware of the power of influence that you have as an instructor and try to only influence technical skills.
Me: Do you consider yourself an “Arkansas Artist” or a Southern Artist” or….?
Endia: I consider myself an artist. However, I inevitably carry various labels such as white, female, southern, Arkansas, American, middle age, colorist, two-dimensional, modern, non-traditional, introvert, Libra, etc. I wish labels didn’t apply, but they do. A little bit of everything you are can be gleaned from your work. Labels are descriptive adjectives of who we are.
Me: Whose work do you admire?
Endia: So many…..
Wayne Thiebaud for his color and singular subject studies