Emerge 5 Questions

Sage Sidley

Art on Demand 3.3: GAP

1. You graduated with a major in visual arts and a minor in mathematics, how did your studies inform your practice?

I really enjoyed learning the literal language of mathematics alongside the cultural language of fine arts. Both use abstract methods to explain substantially complex ideas and constructs within our society and the physical world. My studies inform the contextual research and the principles of time aspects of my practice.

2. What lead you to using the gallery walls as your canvas?

During the final year of my undergrad, I was presented with an opportunity to exhibit in an abandoned packing house. In the given context, drawing directly on the wall suited my idea to show, in part, the loss of the building. From there I continued to be fascinated with site-specific artists such as Robert Smithson, Richard Serra, Maurizio Cattelan, Daniel Buren, Banksy and Swoon (to name a few), and their connection to architecture and street art ideologies. Moreover, I enjoyed the ephemerality created by this method, and its contrast to the traditional discourses within the art gallery as an institution.

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3. What advice have you received from a professor, mentor or colleague who has influenced your practice as a visual artist?

My printmaking professor would always challenge my “completed” work by offering the idea to push my work further, followed by asking me, “Why not?”. As I could never come up with a reason not to do more, I always worked until I reached the closest I could be to that ideal. This idea of infinite time dedicated to constant improvement of your practice, is forever ingrained in my practice.

4. How do you know when your work is finished?

I am such a perfectionist; my work is never finished. The best part about working directly in a space is the time limitation of the installation and the final destruction of the work once the exhibition is complete. This timeline allows the work to constantly be reborn, adapt and evolve, as each space creates a new level of dialogue to the concepts I am exploring.

5. You teach various drawing classes, what’s the most important advice you give to your students when drawing portraiture?

Be patient with yourself and be willing to constantly adjust what you have already drawn. If you get frustrated restart, with the idea in mind that you have already absorbed and learned how to draw your subject in your previous attempts. Finally, use to your advantage that everything must and will line up.