This post continues my series “In-Sync with…” aimed to get a closer look at a variety of contemporary artists and art professionals from Chicago and abroad. Read it, enjoy it, share it, and get in-sync with Chicago artist Sharon Gilmore. Do not miss her personal recommendations at the end of the interview.
I came across Sharon Gilmore earlier this year in my search for artists for the Chicago’s Twelve exhibition I curated at the Zhou B Art Center. Her artwork is compelling in many levels and reflects a great respect for nature and ideas of sustainability. Sharon’s sculptural works incorporate mechanical, man made salvaged objects along side elements of nature such as twigs and branches. They are delicate, playful, engaging and mysterious.
ABOUT SHARON GILMORE
Sergio: Where did you go to school (college/university) and what degree you received?
Sharon: School of the Art Institute of Chicago, MFA, 1985. Concordia University, Montreal, BFA, 1979
Sergio: Do you feel art school prepared you for the art career you have now?
Sharon: It was incredibly stimulating, supportive and tough in a good way. It did little to help me actually run a business though.
Sergio: What is one thing you wish you had learned at art school?
Sharon: Business savy in promoting, networking, selling art.
Sergio: What is your website?
Sergio: What are you working on and what inspires you right now?
Sharon: American Indian spirituality is inspiring my work right now.
Sergio: How does a typical day in your studio/creative space looks like?
Sharon: I work in the studio 2-3 days/week. I am usually working on several pieces at the same time, moving from one to the next like a dance. The studio is packed with found objects and as I work they scatter and mingle everywhere. The times I cannot be in the studio, I am still thinking, planning, imagining directions for the work in progress.
Sergio: Describe your creative process.
Sharon: The sculptures come through me. I ask them questions of intent, adding too much information, then scaling back to bare essentials. I know when the piece sings, it is done.
Sergio: What type of mental/practical activities do you do when facing a creative block?
Sharon: Sleep, dream, walk in the woods, patiently wait.
Sergio: Do you find social media to be a distraction or an asset for you as an artist and how do you deal with it?
Sharon: It is overwhelming to see the ocean of art throughout the world…. But also an honor to be a very small part of it.
Sergio: What is your biggest challenge as a contemporary artist?
Sharon: Exposure both as an artist and as a person.
Sergio: How much does the art market influences your art production/output?
Sharon: To say it doesn’t at all would be untruthful, but I always try to make art that is truthful to my beliefs and my personal inquiries.
Sergio: What’s next for you?
Sharon: I will be retiring from nursing in April AND am so excited about making art full time!
ABOUT CONTEMPORARY ART
Sergio: What excites you about the local art scene?
sharon: I am so drawn to simple, clear forms, colors, images, impeccable craftsmanship, care in creating.
Sergio: What is your take on the current emphasis on contemporary art fairs?
Sharon: A great way to see loads of art in person.
Sergio: Do you believe gallery representation today is as important as it has been in the past?
Sharon: No, I think individual artists can represent themselves, but having an extended family, such as a gallery opens more doors. It depends on how restrictive the gallery is promoting and supporting artist growth.
Sergio: How do you envision the art world would be different ten years from now?
Sharon: Something beyond my comprehension.
Book… The Spiritual Legacy of the American Indian
Art movie or documentary… Chasing Ice
Art museum… Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Contemporary artist (other than yourself)… Martin Puryear
Place to be inspired by… New Mexico, any forest, any place in nature
One sentence advice for an art student.. be truthful to yourself .
Chicago cafe/restaurant… OPARTS