Wednesday, February 4, 2015

                                                    a visit with Sandra Gregson

Any studio goals for 2015? 
Any new material you've started playing with in your studio? 

I'm finishing up work for a show which opens at Loop at the end of February; I'm very excited to start a new project after that. I've worked with drawing, sculpture and video for several years however I have this desire to start painting! During a residency this past summer in Portugal, I used water-based oil paint to make the images for a stop camera video and loved using paint. I was seduced by the texture of the paint and the intensity of the colours. 

I'm looking forward to process of clearing up my studio, putting away the research resources, preparatory work, and materials I've been using. I intend to empty my studio completely to ready for what I see as a big shift in my work. I'm curious how I'll approach painting: if I'll work in series, or integrate it again with video.

  How do you know when a work is finished?

I often spend a long time on work, often 'practicing' the work before starting it by doing maquettes or sketches, then intensely working to make it. Then I'll pause with the work, leaving it not quite finished in order to reflect on it. I don't hurry to finish work. I don't like the feeling of having to let it go so will linger, reluctantly completing work, changing details, refining parts. 

When I think the work is close to finished, I  take the work out of my studio and put it in a room in my house to look at it in a different context, to see how it holds up outside of the studio context. If the work feels self reliant, if it presents itself as its own entity, I know it's done. It's not finished if it doesn't feel convincing and I'll take it back to the studio to rework it.

What is your most important tool as an artist? 

Because of sculpture and video work, I have used a variety of tools. My most important tool, and most sustaining for me however, is a pencil. There is something so satisfying about the sound and feel of a pencil on paper. I particularly like a 2B pencil when it has been used and sharpened several times so that it is about a third of its original size.  
Using a pencil and paper is my way of thinking about what I want to make or do. It's how I work out ideas, visualize work. I usually draw a combination of images with words to start the process of shaping ideas into form. Later, if I feel stumped by a work, I'll go back and draw it in order to rethink it, and with pencil and paper it is so much easier to change, rethink, redo because it is so immediate. 

What are you listening to in the studio these days?
I like silence in the studio because it helps me concentrate ad become immersed in the work. Sometimes I listen to radio but only when I'm at a stage in the work which involves repetitious tasks; it's usually cbc that I listen to - music and talk shows.

 Thanks Sandra for the studio visit!

Plan to see her upcoming show at loop:
Erebus & Terror  February 28 to March 22, 2015
Opening Saturday February 28 from 2 to 5 p.m.
Gallery visit with artist Sunday March 22 from 2 to 3 p.m.

or visit her website at