Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Art Space Talk: Lynne Taetzsch

I recently interviewed artist Lynne Taetzsch, author of 'The Bipolar Dementia Art Chronicles, a Memoir'. (

Lynne creates abstract paintings for the sake of painting. Lynne is a 'process painter'. She is interested in the process of painting itself. She is not interested in creating images that are 'set in stone'.

Her focus is to utilize line, color, shape, and texture to create images that express emotion. The emotion conveyed depends on how these aspects are used. This focus on the physical elements of painting are well established in her body of work.

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "I knew from the time that I was very young that I wanted to be an artist. There was a smooth transition from making craft projects as a kid, taking oil-painting lessons from a local artist when I was 11 and 12, and eventually going to Cooper Union Art School in NYC."

Q. How has creating art shaped you professionally and personally?

A. "Professionally, I always worked at other things to make a living in order to paint, but for the past six years I’ve been working full-time as an artist. This is the fulfillment of a dream I had all my life.
Personally, I always saw the world through the eyes of an artist. I was particularly aware of color, shape and form. I noticed the shadows, and the sun sparkling on water. The visual world was always alive to me in a special way. I have also made it a point to look at art throughout my life, which has enriched me greatly."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art? What are your artistic influences? Has anyone inspired you?

A. "The strongest influences on my art were made by the abstract expressionsists. I fell in love with Hans Hoffman, Jackson Pollack, Rothko, DeKooning, and others. I was not really interested in any art before the cubists. So I guess you could say that my art was forged in modernism.

Years later I tried to look at art politically, from a feminist point of view, for example. But while it’s true that women artists have always been under-represented in museums and galleries and not given their due, I could not therefore change the art that I made. Socially and politically motivated art is not what I’m about."

Q. Tell me a little about your background. Are your past experiences reflected in the work you do today? If so, how?

A. "My non-objective or non-representational style of abstraction evolved when I was at Cooper Union in the early sixties. But everything I experience and see is reflected in my art today. I am always pushing myself to see if I can go to a further edge."

Q. How long have you been a working artist?

A. "I have always done art part-time, but have been doing it full-time since 2000."

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

A. "The people who collect my art love the energy and color and movement in it."

Q. What is your artistic process?

A. "I listen to loud music, standing up, painting on large stretched canvases on an easel. I work over days and weeks, creating layers which dry in between. The first layers are "background" which may or may not still be visible in the completed work. I paint fast, covering the whole canvas with large gestural strokes. Then I stand back and look at it, to see what the painting requires next. My art is based on improvisation, like jazz."

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "I used to paint in oils, and then when I was living in southern Florida on the beach, I noticed it took weeks for the paintings to dry. I switched to acrylics then (early eighties) and never looked back. Acrylic is perfect for my current painting process."

Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art? If so, how has it helped your art career?

A. "I studied art in several places besides Cooper Union (Rutgers, University of California, University of Southern California), but never got a degree in it. I have degrees in other things, including a PhD in Creative Writing. Since I never wanted to teach art, not having a degree in it hasn’t hurt."
Q. Where can we see more of your art?

A. "On my website at This January I will have a solo exhibit at the Upstairs Gallery in Ithaca, New York. I have art in The Gallery at Hawthorne Plaza just outside of Kansas City. I will be exhibiting in June of 2007 at The Hopper House in Nyack, New York."

Q. What galleries have you exhibited in?

A. "I have exhibited in many galleries. A few:
Clinton House Artspace, Ithaca, NY
Monkdogz Urban Art, New York, NY
Hartley Gallery, Winter Park, FL
Gallery for the Arts, Mt. Sterling, KY
The Kentucky Gallery, Lexington, KY
Reston Art Gallery, Reston, VA"

Q. What trends do you see in the 'art world'?

A. "There still seems to be a strong bias toward conceptual and installation art in big city galleries. But there is more openness, and therefore room for an individual artist to follow their own path. As for collectors, I think they are interested in excellence and uniqueness, rather than a particular trend."

Q. Any tips for emerging artists?

A. "Follow your heart and instincts, not what you perceive to be the hottest trend. Paint for your soul, not for money. Don’t give up."

Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?

A. "I create art because I would hate myself and fall into deep despair if I didn’t."

Q. What can you tell our readers about the art scene in your area?

A. "I live in Ithaca, New York, which is in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. It is a college town (Cornell University and Ithaca College), and we have a thriving population of artists and musicians. With a general population of only 30,000, however, we don’t have a big art-buying community. There are a couple of small artist-owned or co-op galleries, several non-profit galleries, and the museums and galleries connected to the college and university. Most of us who make a living on our art sell it elsewhere."

I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Lynne Taetzsch. Feel free to critique or discuss her work.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

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