For this week’s campus celebrity, I had the pleasure of interviewing local Montreal artist, Heidi Spector. Read our interview below to find out about the type of art she creates and how she has become an international success!
Anna Stuber for Her Campus McGill (HC McGill): Can you talk a little about the type of artwork you produce, the process involved and how you became interested with art in general as well as your style?
Heidi Spector (HS): My work can be described as geometric minimalism composed of repetitive vertical and horizontal stripes in acrylic with resin on Russian birch panels, cubes and rhombuses. The process involves painting on custom built wood structures in various geometric shapes. I work with bold and vibrant candy-like colours that pulse and vibrate as well as with monochromatics such as different shades of white that have a calming effect. I create a grid to design the geometric composition which is ultimately inspired by musical rhythm and beat. The repetitive pattern of stripes is meant to project a natural sense of optimism and joy informed by the techno beats and self-absorption of club life. I finish my work with resin which provides the piece with a glass-like and reflective coating.The intention is for the viewer to see their reflection in the artwork so that they may feel the colour and musical rhythm and participate in the experience of the artwork. The resin process requires that I work in a tent which I built in my studio which serves to protect the work from debris as I pour the resin. I also use a blow torch in order to smooth the resin so that I may acquire a result which is ultimately as pristine as possible.
HC McGill: Where does your inspiration stem from?
HS: My geometric collection of stripe paintings and sculptures are greatly inspired by the American colour field artists of the 1950s and 60s whom I consider my heroes such as Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Gene Davis, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Frank Stella as well as hard-edged Canadian artists Jack Bush and Guido Molinari and British artist, Bridget Riley. When creating the works in my studio, I am influenced by the music I am listening to at the moment. My work takes on titles based on song lyrics by artists as varied as Amy Winehouse, David Bowie, Maria Callas, DJ Tiesto, Roxy Music, Oasis and Eric Satie. The colour palette of each painting is in part a response to each song, infusing the group of works with the sensation of being an audio/visual playlist.
HC McGill: Can you talk about any projects you are currently working on?
HS: My most current project is a solo exhibit entitled Put The Needle on the Record which will take place in Houston, Texas at Samara Gallery. The show opens on April 10th and runs until May 2nd, 2015. I am really looking forward to this show where 12 of my works will be exhibited including paintings and cubes. I will be present for the opening. I am also now working to prepare works for upcoming shows in New York and Los Angeles.
HC McGill: What museums, galleries, ect have you worked with or are currently working with?
HS: Although I am a Montreal-based artist, my work is represented in New York by Margaret Thatcher Projects in Chelsea, in Los Angeles by Lurie Gallery, in London by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery, and in Houston by Samara Gallery. My work has been exhibited internationally in cities including Montreal, New York, Los Angeles, London, Palm Springs and Silicon Valley. Perhaps the most exciting venue has been Miami where Margaret Thatcher Projects exhibited my work during Art Basel at Pulse Miami and The Miami Project in 2012, 2013 and 2014. My work is also on exhibition in Belgium at WOMA, the Wolvertem Museum of Modern Art.
HC McGill: As a Montreal based artist, can you talk about becoming international?
HS: Exhibiting internationally was undoubtedly a fantastic breakthrough for me as an artist that allowed my career to move forward. My greatest achievement has been to work with the New York gallery, Margaret Thatcher Projects. I feel this opportunity is what opened many doors for me and I am very grateful for that. In my opinion, New York, particularly Chelsea, is where the heart of the art world beats. There is such an appreciation for art in New York and I feel it most when I attend an opening at the gallery. Usually, openings at Margaret Thatcher Projects occur on a Thursday night concurrently with other openings in the Chelsea area. The whole area is teaming with art appreciators and collectors and the gallery is jam packed for three hours straight. It is really a wonderful and rewarding feeling for an artist to feel the interest of the public in the art you are creating.
HC McGill: What is your favourite piece/project?
HS: I am finding a lot of enjoyment in working on cubes in sizes that range from 7” x 7” x 7” to 22” x 22” x 22”. Working in three dimensions is challenging especially when applying resin but I enjoy conquering all the variables until I succeed.
HC McGill: What’s your favourite part of your creative process?
HS: Experimenting with various colour combinations is an enjoyable part of the creative process. I find that as each colour bounces off the other, the choice of colour influences the experience for the viewer. Often, viewers are attracted to specific colours in my work that tend to have an impact on the chakra energy points of their own being. I also find that colour is similar to human interaction in the way that some people bring out the best in each other. Some colours bring out the best in other colours and this is one of the goals of my work; to find the best interactions.
HC McGill: What are your future goals as an artist?
HS: Going forward in my career, my aspirations are to continue to work with well established galleries and museums so that my work may be exhibited and enjoyed by the public. I believe that art is something beautiful in this world that gives meaning to life and connects individuals with a shared pleasure. With all the dismal atrocities taking place in the world today, I am happy to be contributing something positive that people can embrace and for me to leave behind. My goal is to continue to have the opportunities to do so.
HC McGill: Do you have any advice to aspiring artists?
HS: Artists must go through many challenges for acceptance until they find their voice and the right people to help represent that voice. My advice is to never give up and to continue to create even when you think no one is interested in what you are doing. I feel a large part of success is dealing with rejection and persevering. It is really a great thing when one can spend their time working in a field they are passionate about because then almost every effort feels fulfilling. I also encourage artists to have a strong business acumen to well manage the business side of selling art. It is important to have a web site that shows images, artist statements and exhibition history. Is is also important to understand consignment agreements and all the ins and outs of packaging work for shipment. Social media to promote one’s art is also crucial these days. The business side of art may not be as much fun, but it is so important to be informed and organized.
Heidi Spector currently lives and works in Montreal. She has shown in galleries nationally and internationally, including exhibitions in Montreal, Los Angeles, London, Houston and New York.
Be sure to check out Heidi’s web address for aditional information on her work!
Image are author’s own