An Interview With Gerry Trilling

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Studios Inc Resident Artist Gerry Trilling received her B.F.A. in Painting from Kansas City Art Institute, and has also studied weaving, dyeing, and paper making. Trilling has traveled extensively through Asia, South America, Australia, and Europe focusing on how patterns can create a large visual landscape. We sat down and asked her a few questions about what inspires her, her creative process, and advice for young artists……..Q: What originally inspired you to start creating? What is your background in art?

A: I always made things, all my life. I came from a family of creative people, I never thought about it. I just always made things. I have a BFA in painting and it is just something that I have always wanted to do.

Q: Is the medium you use now the same as what you started with? How has that evolved over your career?

A: I think I work with ideas and I work with a lot of different materials. I have worked in wood, worked in paint, worked in fabric, worked with patterns, I don’t work with patterns. I think you are moved along by what interests you and then you figure out the best way to articulate it in the real world.

Q: Where do you derive inspiration from? Do artists have a muse like poets and writers?

A: I have artists that I look at – Blinky Palmero, Gerhardt Richter is very interesting to me because his style has certainly changed over the years and he has very good at everything he did. I would say Sigmar Polke is probably my person that I am always happy when I see something he made. I think if you know what something is going to look like when you start, I’m not sure I know why you would make it. When I look at his work it always feels like it evolves as he is thinking at it and we all have components like stretching the canvas but it is the unfolding it’s the how it happens that is the part that is really interesting. And I never know what I’m going to see and I’m always surprised.

Q: What themes do you pursue in your art?

A: I’m very interested in material culture. If you go into thrift stores or flea markets you have this sort of capture of time. Most booths specialize in something, we are always drawn to the images, the toys, the material culture, the stuff. What was surrounding us that meant life and home. It is not conscious, its that place of comfort and familiar that is a starting place and you look at why and you start thinking about the time it happened. I grew up in the 50’s and women’s opportunities were very limited and you go off that, it’s endless. I look at fabric sometimes in a fabric store and wonder why did they make that, who did they think was going to use that. The design piece of it is pretty interesting. I like to use material that are, I think what I do anyone can do as far as making it. I happen to think of making it this way but most of what I use is readily available so I think people really do have the capacity to look at something and make connections if they will only try

Q: What have you enjoyed about work?

A: I love my work, it is where my brain is. It is a record of how I think through time.

Q: What have you not enjoyed about your work? Have you ever looked back and not liked what you saw.

A: Yeah, that is the best place. When you are in that everything looks the same, I am repeating myself, I don’t know where to go with this, everything I try isn’t working. That is the most wonderful place because you have nothing to lose. You can create something from nothing.

Q: Do you have advice to struggling artists?
A: Quantity counts. Quality either will come or won’t come. I had an instructor at the art institute that said, never use newsprint because you never know when that perfect drawing is going to show up and then you’ve made it on this totally destructible material that won’t last. Waiting for inspiration is a stupid idea, you have to make a lot of stuff and you will make a lot of bad stuff but then you get to go back and fix the bad stuff but you need to make a lot.

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