Art, // April 28, 2015
Graehound – ARTIST
Interview with the artist Graehound —
1. Who are you and what do you do?
I am a full-time thingmaker and graduate student who creates in a variety of media, most notably mixed-media two-dimensional illustrations. Most of them feature intestines.
2. Why art?
Why not? There are so many people who make decent money, but little positive impact on those around them. I might not be able to make the Earth shake, but I can make a few people smile, even if its due to questioning the content. That’s a far more attractive currency, in my opinion. I can physically survive on odd jobs, but a soul’s gotta eat, too.
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
Oh, man. I don’t know. I don’t remember when I wasn’t making something. I was very blessed to have parents that supported everything I got into, even when they thought I was nuts. They bought me a my first spraypaints and a construction jacket to prevent my getting immediately arrested when I decided I was going to be Banksy at fifteen years old. My Dad always said, “Do good. Legal is less important.” Banksy is way better at being Banksy than I am, though, so now I draw on paper.
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
I really enjoy the things most people find unsettling…innards, flesh, blood. Disability. Fear. Squids. Stuff that lives deep in the ocean and scares the pee out of people who watch Japanese horror movies. And atmospheric emotion; when the space around something has a feeling, but no distinct way to address it. I’ve done a decent amount of self-portraiture, as well. People are pretty evenly divided on the importance of recording yourself; many think its purely ego-driven, but I use myself as a model merely because it feels less hypocritical to assign the considerations and fears I have to my own face than to plaster them onto something that isn’t required to defend them. I have great respect for all forms of accountability, and I think that’s what drives that particular set of works.
5. How do you work and approach your subject?
I just work. Constantly. I have about eight major projects in various states of process at once, thirty tabs up on Google of reference material to draw from (literally and figuratively), and try to maintain some variety between items to keep my arthritis and mind from staving up (illustration, beadwork, and fabric manipulation). I go on a lot of walks and photograph the natural world pretty obsessively to keep learning how to see better, which is ironic, because I’m going blind.
6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
So much of what I do is owed to the comic book industry and graphic illustrators, both fine art and commercial. I have great admiration for Greno and Zak Smith, as well as Dan LuVisi and Bernie Wrightson, but if you put any kind of strong technical draughtsmanship in front of me, I will have a new muse. There are endless sources of inspiration in the internet age.
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
Whenever someone tells me I’ve inspired them to go make something. That’s the best response you can get. Period.
8. What do you like about your work?
I like when it’s out of my head and not deviling my sleep anymore. More seriously, though, I would say I respect the evolution of my linework over the years. I like that I can see an honest progression in skill.
9. What advice would you give to other artists?
Make things. All the time. Enter shit you shouldn’t. Make unsolicited phone calls. Be hardest on yourself, and give others the benefit of the doubt. Be impeccably organised. Have and stick to a calendar. You’ll get twice as much accomplished. And when you just can’t continue in a piece, give yourself a break. That may seem counter-intuitive coming from a workaholic, but go do something different. There’s a reason your head stopped. It will catch back up again.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Just as crazy.
“The majority of my latest two-dimensional work is an attempt to reconcile multiple styles, media, and emotions in a distillation of personal perspective in often curious, bizarre, or disturbing subject matter that deals with disability and the loss of control associated with it. Systems that break fascinate and frustrate me. I create as catharsis on a level accessible and receptive of others’ equally confused understandings of their bodies and the spaces they occupy without demanding or necessitating their inclusion and acceptance. I seek to make drawings that embody a literal abstracted sense of self and selflessness…with some intestines thrown in for good measure.”
LINKS & CONTACTS —
215 E Douglas Street #313
Bloomington, Illinois 61701