We are so happy to bring you an interview with the artist Ethan Greenbaum for his show Flats at Kansas Gallery!On not choosing to be an artist, but making the choice over and over again:
The choice to become an artist was a given before it was a decision. Both my parents are artists so it was a normalized model-a sort of default. I couldn’t think of any better ideas! As time has gone on, my ‘choice’ has been made again and again. It’s still the best idea I have.
You need continuing affirmation to keep working-but you can give that to yourself. Some external things that stand out to me are having my first solo show, getting gallery representation or being mentioned in the New York Times. Maybe one of the biggest affirmations was getting into grad school. Before then, I was very limited in my horizons and this changed what seemed possible.On doubt as a motivator:
Doubt, like affirmation, is a rolling process. The questions change. They go from ‘should I be an artist’ to ‘am I any good’ to ‘can I get any better’?On what and who influences the art:
I have some treasured favorites. A short list includes Richard Artschwager, Gordon Matta Clark, Rachel Harrison. They are influences for different reasons but have some things in common. One is they all begin with really clear subject matter (often of the same variety that I get excited by). They take the commonplace into idiosyncratic and visionary places. Also they all seem untroubled with genre-they let their work have the form it needs.
I’m a believer in making work with what seems most immediate and tangible. For me this means paying close attention to architecture, digital interfaces, signage-all the backgrounds and supporting structures for more our ‘interior’ experiences.On the evolution of aesthetic and practice:
I was educated as a painter and for awhile I was making more or less abstract paintings-meaning they were indirect in their subject and were made using relatively traditional painting materials. An important shift was the choice to become explicit in my subject matter while expanding my methods to include a range of commercial and sculptural processes. I think for me it’s about finding ways to get closer to the source(s) of my inspiration-to use methods that echo the logic and vitality of the source.
On the best and worst of the art-world:
I’d say that in general the worst experiences involve dealing with people who don’t care about art and are involved with the arts for reasons having to do with power or ego. The best is the opposite! I increasingly treasure the relationships and conversations I have with other artists, dealers, curators and collectors who are driven by a curiosity, passion and belief in art.On the work:
I hope people get some of the humor and poignancy in my work.
Flats runs from November 01 – December 20, 2015
To see more of Ethan’s work you can visit his website. He has also recently released a 3D print edition with Exhibition A (here) and in February you can see a group show he has curated with Michael Delucia (website) called Low at Lyles & King (here).