Colors Behind Your Eyes Series- Behind Your Eyes, relief on Mulberry, 25" x 34", 2007
Brian Sherwin: Christine, tell us about your educational background. Do you have formal training in art? If so, who were your instructors and how did they influence you?
Christine Peterson: I have a BFA in fine arts from Iowa State University. After graduating from ISU, I realized that I wanted to continue to specifically study painting, and I am currently enrolled at Savannah College of Art and Design as a painting major.
CP: I have always known that I wanted to be an artist. As a child, I would go to the public library and find any book I could on the great masters- Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Boticelli. I don't think I fully realized that I wanted to seriously persue being a studio artist until a few years ago. I spent my final semester at ISU studying abroad in Rome, and being there opened my eyes to the potential of truly great art. Since then I have devoted myself fully to creating. I am most influenced by artists who can capture devastation and beauty all at the same time. Anselm Kiefer and Edvard Munch are two of my biggest influences.
CP: My work has evolved quite a bit even over the past year. Originally, my work was very figurative. I created countless self portraits and used my likeness as a catalyst to express whatever emotions I wanted to portray in my pieces. Most of the issues I dealt with in my work were of a personal nature. I created many pieces that referenced my feelings or emotions.
Lately, I have become interested in a broader sense of human interaction, or lack thereof. Some of the most beautiful times in our lives come from a human connection, and some of the most horrific times come when we feel as if we are all alone.
My current body of work has progressed in a more abstract direction. I still use bold color and texture to convey a point, but have removed the figure. I feel that by abstracting, a broader audience can relate to and find their own meaning with in a piece.
CP: I carry a sketchbook with me constantly and usually begin in there to create small compositions. I am inspired by the most minuscule things. Situations around me, a line in a book or the glimpse of beauty will ignite something within me to let me know that "its time." Once I decide exactly where I want the idea to go, I will begin working on a piece. More often than not, I have no idea what the end result will look like. I have a basic idea, but the final piece is usually completely different from what I intended.
I will usually get to a point within a piece where I am completely frustrated and will be dumbfounded as far as where to go. It can be extremely discouraging, but I know that eventually the piece will just speak to me and tell me where I need to go.
I am not sure how I know when a piece is complete. Some pieces never seem done; I will constantly question if I could work something out more. With others, I will get to a point where I step back and just know its finished.
BS: Christine, how does current world events influence your work? In other words, how does contemporary life impact your creative practice?
CP: I feel contemporary life impacts my work because I deal so much with human interaction. In so many ways, we are moving farther and farther from one another. We send emails instead of speaking, we text someone before we will pick up the phone and call. It seems as though everyone wants to be heard, but no one is willing to listen. We are all standing side by side but just out of each others reach.
BS: With that said, tell us more about the philosophy behind your art. What motivates you to create?
CP: My work has always been a way for me to speak when I feel I don't have the words. Anytime I feel that something needs to be said, I somehow find a way to express it through my art.
BS: Why did you choose to work in the medium(s) that you use?
CP: I have always loved painting, especially in oil. There is a fluidity and peace that I find when I am painting that I cant find anywhere else. Recently I have begun printmaking. One of the things that attracted me to printmaking is the process itself. Carving the block, inking, using the press, all of these components are extremely methodical and soothing. I also love the idea that you never know exactly what you are going to get until you lift your paper off of the press- its fantastic!
CP: As a starving college artist, my studio is any area in my apartment that I can clear a space. I try to keep it contained to one area where I can leave my inspirations, studies, etc. I love to work at odd hours, especially in the middle of the night or early morning. It is comforting to feel you are the only one up and about. I absolutely have to listen to music when I work. There is no specific artist or genre- anything that will motivate and inspire me with the piece I am working on.
BS: What are you working on at this time?
CP: I am currently working on a series of paintings that convey lack of human interaction through abstracted oceanic forms.
BS: Do you have any upcoming exhibits? Where can our readers view your work?
CP: I don't have any upcoming exhibits, but my work is on display in a few locations around Savannah, Georgia.
BS: Christine, the Internet is changing how we discover and view art. In your opinion, how have sites like www.myartspace.com empowered artists?
CP: Myartspace has been one of the best tools for me in getting my work to people who would otherwise have never seen it. It is also an amazing support and networking tool. Artists are able to interact with each other and anyone who is interested in their work through an avenue that has never been available before. Of course, there is nothing like seeing a work of art in person, but the Internet provides people the opportunity to discover and see things they normally may not be able to see.
BS: Finally, what are your goals as an artist? What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
CP: My ultimate goal is to always produce and show my art. I want to continue to capture amazing, horrific and beautiful moments in life, as well as give a voice to someone else. I also want for people to look at my work and respond to it in some way. Whether you hate it or love it, I hope never to be overlooked.