The Sound of Paintings – an interview with painter and sound artist Mark Rushton – published August 2018
How have things been lately?
Lots of fun. I got sick with shingles in July, but had a relatively mild case. I was on an anti-viral for a week, which screwed me up, and then I had to deal with fatigue for 3 to 4 weeks after. As of mid-August, I’m just coming out of it. So there hasn’t been a podcast or newsletter. I’ve made a few audio things, but not much.
I’ve been working on paintings, both canvas and synthetic paper. The canvases take longer. I have a series of three 10″ x 20″ canvas paintings that are almost done, and a 30″ x 40″ canvas that I’ve started.
I worked on a lot of smaller synthetic paper paintings during my illness and recovery, mostly 8″ x 10″, because I didn’t have the energy, so that has made my catalog seem like I only do small paintings. As I’ve recovered, I finished a bunch of 11″ x 17″ sizes and just completed my first 17″ x 22″.
You really like that synthetic paper.
I like canvas, too, but I achieve what I want on the synthetic paper much faster. I’ve been working on that synthetic paper since about 1992 when I found a partial roll on discount at a Blick Art Materials store in Kansas City. I have matted and framed paintings in my house using this substrate from that era that look excellent despite having hung in places like bathrooms, so I know it’s a durable product.
It’s been an on/off relationship with that synthetic paper because it wasn’t always easy to obtain. Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time on smaller sized paintings, I’ve been able to refine my technique. I’m able to achieve what I want much quicker. These days, I use much higher quality paints and brushes, and that helps, too.
What about making these paintings in larger sizes?
That’s exactly where I’m headed. I was advised to obtain some encausticboards that have a birch cradle frame, a product I wasn’t aware of, and mount the paper. The encausticboards should arrive any day, and then I’ll play around with it. I also picked up a Wood Studio Panel from Blick on the advice of a store associate, and I’ll be coating the panel with a medium, and then mounting the paper on that surface. Once the painting is done, then I’ll obtain a floating frame and see how that looks, or maybe I’ll go with the traditional wood strips. I’ll be working in 24″ x 24″, 30″ x 40″, and 36″ x 48″.
How’s the gallery search going?
I can’t say anything right now. I’m in the process. When things happen, then I’ll let you know.
One thing I’ve been thinking about is how to handle the online store, which is basically an extension of my cataloging system. When I obtain some kind of gallery representation I’ll keep the gallery but likely shut off the shopping cart. I could probably do that today, and maybe I should.
I really have no desire to sell art on the web. Display, yes. Sell, no. And if I have a gallery working on my behalf then I want them to deal with their customer for decisions like framing, glass, shipping, etc.
Or if their customer sees one of my pieces in their gallery, or on their gallery web site, but they want to know if I have pieces in other sizes and colors, then the sales agent can look through my online catalog and contact me to send them a particular painting. I think that’s only fair. I’m thinking about it from the gallery owner’s perspective. I should operate my catalog like a warehouse that affiliated dealers can draw from. That’s where my thinking is today.