For the images I produce as an artist, I have conducted research in Niger, West Africa, where I lived for three years. My art involves an exploration of the Nigerien landscape, the Djarma and Fulani cultures and the art forms they create. This abstract work portrays ritual and tradition in Nigerien culture.
To create my imagery, I work from a variety of references. Relationships among color, shape, and texture come together to form fluid and grid-like compositions. Color dominates the images and dictates the media employed to produce them. Drawing, painting and collage are the focus of my artistic repertoire.
Gretchen Beck served as Professor of Art, Chair of the Art Department, Curator and on the faculty at Concordia University, Irvine, CA, for eleven years. Currently, she is a professional artist.
She exhibits and discusses her work in group and solo exhibitions in galleries, on national and international levels.
At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to become an artist? Did the realization emerge slowly?
My Mom is an artist and I was influenced by her as well as my undergraduate experience at Valparaiso University.
How did you evolve your style and favorite mediums?
I served in the Peace Corps in West Africa after undergraduate
school and was greatly influenced by abstraction in native people's art forms.
What are your time management techniques? Do you have regular working hours...or favorite times to work?
I work for a few hours everyday in the afternoons and listen to classical music while I work.
Do you work on more than one piece at a time, or primarily just on one?
I typically try and focus on one project at a time, it allows a stronger focus, connection and concept. I have found if there are too many projects happening at the same time, individual projects do not get the complete focus and attention they need.
What would you say is your biggest influence--that which keeps you working, regardless of all else, your most steadfast motivation?
West African culture and art forms.
Does trying something new and not knowing the rules -- the boundary pushing -- create anxiety or excitement in you? (Or both?)
I do like to try new techniques and it does create excitement for me.
Do you enjoy having the "duality of both chaos and control" or are you happiest with a set plan?
I work from sketches, so I like a set plan for my imagery.
Do you have any projects or events forthcoming?
I am always working on new work for new exhibitions. I am focusing for the most part on national juried exhibitions right now.
For further information about please contact Gretchen Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can view her art at www.gretchenbeck.com