QUESTION AND ANSWER WITH ARTIST KRISTINE MORAN
(Slow-wave 2, 2011, oil on canvas, 54” x 60”)
Q: How did you find your first gallery?
A: While I was working towards a BFA at OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design), I had my first show at the college’s gallery. I’m not sure if they still do this, but back then, they would curate student shows. It was really great. One of my teachers brought in a gallery dealer friend of hers to look at my work. This led to my first commercial gallery exhibition, which was at the Angell Gallery in Toronto. By the time I moved to New York City to go to Hunter College, I had already done a few solo shows and plenty of group shows, although I took a few years off from exhibiting while I was a student. During my thesis semester at Hunter, a few friends and I went out to openings in the Lower East Side one night. We happened to go into the Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, which had just opened, and Louise Despont’s work was up, which I loved. I contacted Nicelle the next day and we emailed for a while. Later that summer, after I had graduated, she came over for a studio visit. The gallery began representing my work that fall.
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Q: How long do you get to spend in the studio?
A: It varies from week to week. If I’m really busy and have an impending deadline I’ll spend upwards of 40 hours a week. I have a 10 month-old daughter, and now that I have a bit of down time in between shows, I’m in the studio closer to 30 hours a week. But those 30 hours are very productive. I make every minute count.
Q: Are you involved in the pricing of your work?
A: Yes, Nicelle and I discuss it before each show.
Q: Are you involved in the installation of your work in the gallery?
A: Yes. I have an idea of how I want the paintings to be installed before the show goes up. In recent exhibitions, the work has been hung in such a way as to read from left to right, so that a loose, albeit abstract, narrative emerges from painting to painting. Painting series’, such as Slow-wave 1 to 3, also tend to dictate how the entire show will be installed.
Q: Are you always able to support yourself with the income from your art?
A: I always had part-time jobs in the past. It wasn’t until the fall of 2008 that I was able to quit my day job and be in the studio full-time. If I’m lucky I’ll continue making art full-time.
Q: What is the worst experience you have ever had with a dealer?
A: A few years back, I did a show that had some sales and the gallery dealer did not pay. There is nothing more disrespectful than having a dealer sell work and then tell an artist that they cannot be paid because of such and such a reason.
Q: What is the best thing a dealer has ever done for you?
A: The gallery dealers that I am currently working with, Nicelle Beauchene in NYC and Daniel Faria in Toronto, both work really hard. They each have a great work ethic. They take care of the gallery end of things for me, so that I can focus my time and energy on my art practice in the studio. It’s pretty nice.
Q: What is the ideal relationship between an artist and their dealer?
A: One that involves a tremendous amount of trust, respect and open communication. Like a partnership.
Q: How did you find the right studio space?
A: I’ve been in many different studio spaces. I’ve moved studios 9 times in the past 7 years. This is partly due to going to school and also participating in several artist residencies. The frequent moves taught me to keep my supplies to just the essentials and stay open to different types of arrangements. I found my current space serendipitously. I put out the word that I was looking for a studio space to friends and got many leads, but in the end, I new I had to have a space within walking distance of my apartment, given that time with my daughter is a priority. I currently live in Greenpoint and found an old Greenpoint Open Studios pdf on line, with a list of artist studios in the neighborhood. I went down the list and randomly picked out a few artists to contact. Only one artist wrote me back – Dana Bell. It just so happened that she was in need of a studio-mate while she made the transition to another studio space herself. When I realized that it was a 5 minute walk from my home, I immediately took it. It also happens to have a window, which is always a nice feature.
Q: Being Canadian, have you ever run into any problems/difficulties?
A: I’m currently on an O-1 Artist Visa – and yet, every time I cross the border, I still get a huge interrogation. A few times, I thought for sure, that I was not going to be let back into the States. This creates a sort of tension while living here, it feels very transitory. I’m in the process of applying for a Greencard at the moment. Hopefully, I’ll get approved and feel much more grounded.
Q: What made you come to New York?
A: I initially moved to New York to attend Hunter College’s MFA program in 2005. I’d visited New York City lots before moving here, and knew that I wanted to experience living here. Going to grad school was an easy (and at Hunter, relatively inexpensive) way for me to attain the papers to legally live here.
Q: Were you ever so discouraged you thought about quitting?
A: Yes, I think of this all the time. Being an artist brings on such extreme feelings of highs and lows. I sometimes imagine disconnecting my computer, pitching my cell phone and moving into a small trailer in the middle of nowhere. But then the only thing I imagine doing there is painting. That’s usually about the time when I head over to the studio.
Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since deciding to become an artist?
A: To be patient. Patient with my work, with my practice, patient with how things evolve, be it in the studio, in the art world or with myself.
Q: What advice would you give to people that are just starting out as artists?
A: Spend a ton of time in the studio. Even on the days you don’t have time to make work, just being there for a few minutes to look at what’s happening seems to help. Also, foster a community of people that you trust, whether they are artists or otherwise, to give you feedback on your work and support your artistic practice.
**MORE ABOUT KRISTINE**
(Black Winter Morning, 2010, oil on canvas, 60” x 54”)
(Somnambule, 2011, oil on canvas, 36” x 48”)
(Slow-wave 1, 2011, oil on canvas, 42” x 54”)