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BSDA Artist Interview: Polly Shindler

December 23rd, 2014 · 1 Comment

Today we launched a new show on Buy Some Damn Art by Brooklyn artist Polly Shindler.

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Fabric on Navy ( detail )

How did you end up making these mixed-media pieces with all the fabric scraps?

I used to TRY to make quilts but my favorite part was shopping for fabric. That was years ago. I have been trying to create dimension in my work, to see how far I can push the surface of my paintings. Fabric just came to me one day as a means to change the depth of the painting’s surface while employing pattern which is also interesting to me.

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Fabric on Gray ( detail )

Do you start with an idea of what a piece will look like or do you just let what happens happens?

I typically go in with a concept but once I’m into the painting,  many other things come up that change the outcome. Someone once told me that our ideas are far ahead of our practice-sometimes years, and I have come to believe that. I have ideas and materials that I may want to try but I first need to get some things out of my system. That usually means finishing a series I’m working on, then i can go forward with an idea I had months ago. It’s like you have to be mentally prepared to move forward.

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Sleep Rugs

You mentioned that you enjoy making art and want others to have fun with your work too. Can you go into that a bit?

I love humor in art. It’s what can draw me into a painting. I think I begin with a lighthearted approach, an sensibility that appeals to me  when I see it in other artists’ work. When you can relate to another artist’s methods or subject matter, it can have a greater impact on how you perceive the work. It works on several levels. And it can give you the feeling of being understood.

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Black with Fabric and Horn

What’s it like being an artist but also a curator? Do you think about your own work any differently based on your curatorial experience?

I thank the internet for my interest in curation. I see work online and want to see it live in my own personal space or the space I’ve been given (as a curator in residence) at Trestle Projects in Brooklyn. I put no limitations on what I put in a show-geographically. That’s really just the first step. Once I see work that I have to see in person, I’ll set up a studio visit or ask to see different pieces. And getting into peoples’ work spaces is inspiring too. When I get all the work hung together, it’s like having a dinner party with great friends. It’s also as if I make a work of art out of all these different pieces living together. And sometimes I’ll stand back and try to think of how the work is like mine and how it’s different. That can only inform my work.

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What the Cat Sees

You work out of a studio in Bushwick and go to a lot of shows. What’s the most exciting thing going on right now that people might be missing?

I try to get to as many shows as I can, but it’s never enough.  The most exciting thing to me is Instagram and Tumblr. There’s no way to see all the shows happening in Brooklyn,  let alone NYC.  And nothing beats seeing a favorite artist’s work in person. But the sheer quantity of work you can see  online in one afternoon can’t compare. Especially if you are working in your studio.  You have to multi-task–making and seeing work are pretty much equally important.