We are back…Today: Artist Lorraine Glessner

me in the studio @Lorraine Glessner

Lorraine who lives in Philadelphia , lectures, teaches, exhibits her work nationally and maintains a studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In Lorraine’s words: “My recent work has been inspired by a photographic exploration involving ideas of the mark, narrative and life cycles as it relates to the urban landscape and environments of the city. By reading these marks, one gets a sense of a neighborhood, it’s past and the people who live there. I’m struck by the way in which the best people will prevail in even the worst circumstances, like the woman who lives next to a boarded up crack house, yet paints her house pink and plants fake flowers! In row after row of homes, it’s the contrasts of color, texture, pattern, ambiance, form and mood that have affected my work since collecting these photographs. With these contrasts in mind, I combine layers of encaustic medium with fabric and found paper that has been subjected to branding and staining. Recorded marks, in the form of rubbings, drawings, and images taken from surfaces of the city are merged together with the stained materials along with my intuitive responses to them in paint. Through these materials, my intent is to follow and record these marks as evidence of the spectacle, the vulnerability and complexity of human activity and the poetic violence that is life.” to read more go to Lorraine’s website here.
 
Down sixth street (wires), 2010, encaustic, horse and human hair, mixed media on composted and branded silk on wood, 18x18x1 @Lorraine Glessner

Lorraine and I met a year ago when I got curious and interested in encaustic painting.  Lorraine taught me lots about encaustic, even about how she collages in horse hair (something totally new to me but then again…it was all new to me). I took a 2 day workshop with her last December and fell in love with bees wax and everything related to encaustic painting! I absolutely love her work.

*How did you get into encaustic painting? When did you first get into it?
I started working with encaustic about ten years ago when I was in graduate school. My core ideas involved linking the earth and the body through strong visual patterns and similarities. I began experimenting with materials that resembled the translucence of skin like latex, melted tyvek and I found myself particularly drawn to wax and encaustic. Although I loved the way it looked, I really hated working with it as I found it difficult to control. I worked with it for a year and it wasn’t until my ideas began to gel that I began to speak through my materials. However, once I was able to do this, I never looked back and I’ve been working with encaustic ever since.
 
Painted lady 4, @ 2010 Lorraine Glessner
*What is it that you like about encaustic versus other mediums?
I fell in love with encaustic because of its smell; it’s luminosity and tactile qualities that I couldn’t find with any other medium. Although encaustic is a painter’s medium, I don’t approach my work as a painter, but as a craftsperson. To me, my work is not about the act of painting, but rather, to develop an engagement with my materials, to perfect my technique and support my content at the same time. Although my ideas have changed somewhat since I began working with encaustic, I always find that I can express myself best using this medium.
Down sixth street (door), 2010, encaustic, horse and human hair, mixed media on composted and branded silk on wood, 18x18x1 @Lorraine Glessner
*Your new series is called “Rows”. Could you tell me why you chose this name and could you tell me more about your series?
The ‘Rows’ series is inspired by Philadelphia’s rows of homes, building and structures that I photograph on my drive to work from the Philadelphia suburbs to Temple University in North Philly. I’m most inspired by the marks on the walls, the patterns, textures and opulent ornamentation on some of the grand homes on North Broad.
*What is it that you like the most about being an artist? What do you dislike if anything about being an artist?

I used to work in an office and I like the freedom of being an artist, of working wherever and whenever I want at something that I love doing. As an artist, my work is always ‘with’ me, it’s something that no one can take away and the only limitation is my own imagination. Every day is a new day, open to new possibilities in the studio and no day is ever the same.

What I don’t like about being an artist is getting stuck in my own head and not being able to make anything, which I think, is something that all artists can relate to on some level.

Profound @ 2010Lorraine Glessner
*When did you know that “art” was “IT”?
When I was 15 and I’ve worked since then to be the best I could be.
*You teach to college/post grad age students. What advice do you have for them? What do you tell them about dedicating their lives to the arts?
Even though we love it, art is WORK. Work really hard, don’t get discouraged, believe in yourself and your ideas and never give up.
Garage, 2010 @Lorraine Glessner
Thank you Lori for introducing me to the wonderful world of encaustic!
To know more about Lorraine Glessner :
email:   lorigles@earthlink.net
website:   www.lorraineglessner.net
Blog:   lorraineglessner.blogspot.com