sabato 2 maggio 2009
Interview with Trey Speegle
q)Please introduce yourself.
a)Hi, my name is Trey Speegle.
q) Where do you live and work?
a)I have an apartment and art studio in the Meatpacking District in New York City and also a
country house which is a converted barn in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, 2 hours north of New York
q) How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?
a)I use paint by number paintings as a visual resource. I take found words and images & create visuals with multi-
layered meanings. The picture plane, sometimes interrupted by lettering, reveals the underlying architecture and the
tension between the two. I have over 2500 paint-by-number that function as an access point for the viewer to "enter"
q) How did you start in the arts? How/when did you realize you were an artist?
a)I am a self-taught art Director and Graphic artist since I was 17 for publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Allure, Us
Weekly and OK! Magazine. For years I had made artwork on my own using positive affirmations and words. I inherited
my friend's collection after he passed away and began to accumulate more and more. After living with them for years
began to merge words with paint by number imagery to create this new body of work. It took me 25 years to be able
to call myself an artist... I didn't feel I was one... after a long while I knew that wanted to be an artist working with
my own ideas.
q) What are your favorite art materials and why?
a)The unpainted paint by number kits are very inspiring materials... starting with the box itself, the lettering and design
and words used to describe the paintings. and then there are the unpainted boards, the array of all of the paint colors.
I use all kids of medium to recreate these works... I use collage, silkscreen, digital photography, paints, pencil, oil
stick, pastels and I am starting to work on a new series using video as well.
q) What/who influences you most?
a)Warhol more than anyone. The late art critic Emile de Antonio once said, "Good artists have one idea. Great artists
have more than one idea. Andy Warhol was a great artist." He was such a "hands-on" and "hands-off" artist at the
same time. He could draw but he was removed from his work. He went to art school and was a commercial illustrator.
He had paintings in museums and created ad campaigns too. Born in the 60's, I am a pop artist at heart and Andy is
the father of pop... other artists did it too, but his remains the best and most influential.
q) Describe a typical day of art making for you.
a)I always have ideas for work but I don't make art every day. A phrase will jump out and I'll write it down, whether it's
from TV, a dream, my own experience... My favorite way of working is to be in my studio in the
country which is one big room, really. there is never enough counter space so I usually work on
the floor.... starting a collage in one area... laying out a series of prints and reordering them for hours in another...
with music or TV on going from one thing to another. I work best if I can stop thinking and use my intuition and
seize the moment to step outside of myself. I guess all artists try to "summon the muse" in whatever way they can...
q) Do you have goals, specific things you want to achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?
a)With Warhol, Koons & Hirst, as examples, I want to be THAT successful. MoMA retrospective, Venice Biennale, the
q) What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?
a)Lots of artists... Charles Lutz is a young artist I like very much... Douglas Gordon, Graham Gilmore, Robert Therrien,
Sophie Calle, McDermott & McGough ... there are tons of others that everyone knows... Ruscha, Twombley,
q) How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?
a)It depends on the piece but it seems to take about 6 months from idea to framing and photographing the finished
piece. Large paintings can take longer but I've also done 500 mono prints in the space of 2 weeks ...
q) Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally attached to them?
a)Some pieces I don't care if I ever sell. Usually I don't think about selling, honestly... I have commercial insticts but I
care that the work is "wanted" and appreciated more than I do than whether it's sold or not. I thought about selling
just today and I realized that I need to really visualize them going out into the world ... I also need to visualize those
checks going into my bank account too!
q) Is music important to you? If so, what are some things you're listening to now?
a)Very important. I've always loved music. I listen to satellite radio all day, everyday in the studio. The new Bob Dylan is
great... Fleet Foxes, Adele, Duffy, Ray Lamontagne... anything by my old favorites, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison,
Emmylou Harris, Jimmy Scott... I could go on and on...
a)I have started several... my friend Allegra Huston's memoir LOVE CHILD about growing up the daughter of John
Huston is beautifully written, Carrie Fisher's WISHFUL DRINKING and A. A. Gil's restaurant reviews PREVIOUS
CONVICTIONS are both really funny and smart... it takes me FOREVER these days to finish a book these days... I read
mostly online now ... I think maybe I need to get a Kindle from Amazon...
q) What theories or beliefs do you have regarding creativity or the creative process?
a)Some works, I think about for years before they manifest themselves, which is the way I really think about how my
work gets done.... it manifests itself as it wants to be. I usually have an idea about a work but when it really gets
good is when it changes and mutates into something else in the process of creating it.
q) What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you're not creating?
a)I'm always creating... this is something I've always done. I can't help myself... I apply that creativity to working on my
house in the country, framing others people's works that I collect, updating and communicating with friends on
Facebook and through email. I watch TV shows like 30 Rock, which is my favorite...
q) Do you have any projects or shows coming up that you are particularly excited about?
a)I do. I can't say just yet for whom but, I am putting my work on all sorts of things for the home for a major U.S.
retailer. From dinner plates to wallpaper to gift products and bedding.... using my own name and artwork. Paint by
number lends itself to commercial enterprises since that is it's origin but I am using it in a way that it is was not
originally intended... I am endlessly fascinated at how odd and beautiful it is as applied to almost anything. For me it
is a metaphor for creative self expressive.
q) Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how? What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?
a)I don't follow it as much as some but living in New York, it is easy to see tons of new work at any given time with
Chelsea and Madison Avenue and all of the great museums, I could spend my time doing nothing but seeing art 24/7.
I am usually looking at presentation, framing, installation, as much as I am the work. I have my own ideas so I'm not
that interested on that level... And I pretty much HATE art magazines... I find them boring and pretentious. Websites
and galleries I look at a lot.... ArtNet, ArtCal, ArtSlant, ArtKrush, I look at.... Gagosian, Cheim & Read and Lehmann
Maupin are three of my favorite galleries and websites...
q) Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer, and answer it.
a)Are you a good artist?
God, I hope so. If I get to heaven and God tells me that I SUCKED as an artist, that really would be a drag. I saw
HORRIBLE work through a window in SoHo last weekend and as I walked by and I REALLY wanted to go in and say,
"Whoever is making this work, please tell them to stop!" That sounds horrible but the work was AWFUL and I really
resent bad art and the space that it takes up... so let's hope mine isn't total crap.
q) Any advice for aspiring artists?
a)Question your motive for wanting to become an artist and check to see if you have anything to say. I sat on sidelines
for many years because I didn't feel that I had anything important to say. Visual style is one thing but uplifting
humanity is a real solid reason for becoming an artist. It's a big goal but in the end, art is all that lasts... that, and
q) Where can we see more of your work online?
a)Artnet, CherylHazan.com, TreySpeegle.com, 20X200.com
Trey Speegle mobile - 917.405.8551 upstate 845.482.2093