Linus Galleries, Fine Art Gallery
2014 Artist Interview Series
Linus Galleries, a Los Angeles contemporary art gallery, presents The Artist Interview Series. Our Linus artists are from all over the world and come from a variety of different practices and backgrounds. Read on to gain insight into the creative process and personality of our featured artist. This week we are taking a closer look at the masterful glass art of Biologist and Mosaic Artist John Sollinger. Several of his pieces have been showcased in our art exhibitions over the years including our live art show Silent Communication and our Vulnerability vs. Strength online art show.
1) Please tell us your name, artistic practice of choice, and location in the world. My name is John Sollinger, but I go by Solly. I paint with bits of glass in a technique that I call “mosainting” (mosaic + painting). I live in Ashland, which is in the Rogue Valley of Southwest Oregon.
2) Are you self taught or did you formally study art? I established my own techniques for mosaicking; however, I have admired the treatment of light in the work of impressionists.
3) What is the first answer that comes to mind when you think of your favorite color? Cobalt blue. I used it to copy Van Gogh’s Irises.
4) What subject matter appears most in your artwork? What do you love about that subject? What do you dislike? Native scenes devoid of human artifacts is my predominant theme; however, environmental issues underscore my most recent works. My last two works are nudes with forest fires. I like the sights and smells of a forest, but perhaps it is the quiet that I love most.
5) What is difficult for you about your chosen medium? Mosaicking is difficult due to the time commitment. l lay each piece many times before I adhere the pieces to a substrate. As a result, I produce one mosaic every 4-5 months. It is difficult keep it from going stale, and the motivation to continue sometimes vanishes.
6) Do you have any secret talents or party tricks unrelated to your art making? I make the world’s best pie! Apple and cherry pies are my family’s favorites, but I make a mean strawberry-rhubarb and blackberry pie too. The real secret is in the crust, the recipe for which came from my grandmother, although I substitute butter for lard.
7) Which artist living or dead would you want to have a drink with? What type of beverage? A beer with Vincent on a starry night would be a dream come true.
8) What musical artist/band are you currently listening to when you are creating? Jason Aldean cannot be beat. When certain songs of his come on the radio or CD, I stop mosaicking to dance, or I cut the glass in rhythm.
9) Describe your “aha” moment when working with your medium that made you make that leap into another level. When I copied Van Gogh’s Irises in Arel, I labored under many handicaps, including having my studio in an unheated, unfinished garage in snow country. By the time I had finished the work 13 months later, I knew that I had learned enough and could now create original works.
10) Where do you create art? I base my mosaics on digital images that I take while on image quests on forest walks. My studio is still in my garage, but it is heated. In good weather both garage doors are open, letting in great light to supplement indoor lighting.
11) How do you unwind? I best unwind when I meet friends at the pub. I am a classic introvert, liking the social gathering and then escaping to the quiet of my home or studio.
12) Any parting advice for budding artists? Learn techniques from experienced artists and learn art from nature.
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