In anticipation of our upcoming exhibition 'Small Sights Deep Dreams' we interviewed Gene A'hern to get an insight into his art and practice.
Small Sights Deep Dreams
19th September - 6th October 2019
PIERMARQ*: How do you find the process of painting? Does inspiration usually come naturally or is it something you have to work on?
GENE A'HERN: It goes through patches. Some days are easy and natural and other days are difficult. When the process starts to become negative and overly magnified, I like to take a break. Inspiration tends to come more “naturally” after I let myself rest and gain perspective, and I can also let go and find solutions to unresolved works more easily. But I’m always looking.
P*: How did studying art benefit or hinder your practice?
GA: It did both. It benefited my practise by being around other artists at art school and constantly talking about art.
It hindered my practise because I was striving to get approval from teachers and my art was influenced by my desire to get good marks. It’s taken awhile since leaving art school to retrain my thoughts to not seek others approval but to be happy with what I want to create.
P*: Your upcoming exhibition at PIERMARQ* is titled ‘Small Sight Deep Dreams’ where did this title come from?
GA: Small sight refers to the small things we have control over (the present and the what’s right in front of us). Deep dreams represent the future, what we deeply long for and strive to be but don’t have control over.
P*: When did you start painting? Are there any significant painters that have inspired your practice?
GA: I’ve always painted, since I was a kid, and I kept pursuing it.
Richard Diebenkorn (any artist from the bay area figurative movement)
P*: The works in this show are more figurative than most of your earlier works, how did this change in subject matter come about?
GA: I don’t like to stand still.
I wanted to create more of a narrative, and that response comes the more I look at figurative works or interior scenes. Its as if I am looking through a window and witnessing an event being played out in front of me (an actor on a stage).
I also think having a narrative allows me to say more or direct the audience more consciously and deliberately.
P*: What is the most satisfying part of the art-making process – creating or completing the work?
GA: Both are satisfying.
When you complete a work that you thought you couldn’t resolve it's satisfying.
But putting paint to canvas is very satisfying.
P*: What are some things you struggle with in regards to your painting practice?
GA: I struggle to remain positive and not let negative thoughts dictate my actions. It’s a constant battle and one I work on daily when creating art.
P*: What are some things that you enjoy within your painting practice?
GA: I enjoy having a space to myself to create whatever I want.
P*: What is the best piece of advice you received in regards to art and painting?
GA: Simply be yourself and keep painting.
P*: What are the best / worst things about being an artist in this day and age? Any advice you would give to upcoming artists or people starting their career in art?
GA: Social media is both a blessing and a curse.
Being an artist in this day and age, we are connected more then ever to gallery’s, collectors and other artists through Instagram, which opens up so many opportunities.
But with the constant barrage of content and daily info, to stay relevant means to produce more content. This pressure doesn’t always produce the best art.
It also creates false emotional responses based on likes and follows. Its important to have a deeper reason and belief in what you do that isn’t dictated by the external flow. Also, the time needed to post, like and share can alter how you spend your time in the studio and interfere with being in a creative and free mindset.