Thalo loves to promote artists and each month we spotlight a member of our community!
This month we are pleased to have Polly Shindler as the thalo Spotlight Artist for October.
Thalo Team: Can you give an "elevator pitch" of your work?
Polly Shindler: When I begin a painting, my attention is focused on the design of both the physical “room” as well as that of the painting. I create a space on canvas by using paint to convey the idea or “symbol” of a room. The spaces I depict are imagined and sourced mainly from images found in the real and digital world. My interest in creating these rooms grew first from an investigation of solitude and retreat, and then to a narrower focus on composition and more formal concepts. I consider color, pattern and texture in an architectural and art historical context in creating each work. My interest in both classical styles and modern designs create a scaffold for the space I want to construct and these decisions dictate the room’s feeling and atmosphere.
TT: What is your artwork about and what do you want people to take from it?
PS: My paintings are about two things: the way people create order in their private lives as well as how I, as a painter compose an image.
TT: Which artists do you feel have influenced your art the most?
PS: My top influences are the Post-impressionists: Matisse, Bonnard, Vuillard. I also look at Hopper and Hockney for atmosphere. And then I source material for the paintings within the paintings. I love to compose imitation Supremetist paintings by Lyubov Popova, Sonia Delaunay, Malevich, etc.
TT: Do you have a preferred method of presentation for your artwork and why? (Examples: workshops, gallery shows, Instagram, etc.)
PS: It's always nice to have work in a gallery or art fair. Instagram is wonderful because of the reach, but the best is for people to be able to see the work in person.
TT: Out of all of your creations (or bodies of work) which one did/do you find the most cathartic in creating?
PS: My current series is very satisfying in terms of the result as well as the process. I love to research the elements of paintings and create something out of nothing. It is much more personal than the abstract work I used to make.
TT: When was your “Aha!” moment that led your work to where it is now?
PS: I realized that although I never learned how to paint formally, my drafting skills had prepared me to paint representationally. Then when I wanted to render something, I wasn't held back by anything. It gave me great freedom in creating new compositions.
TT: How has your work (or technique) changed over time?
PS: I was an abstract painter for as long as I've been a painter. I did go through a period of time when I was painting architectural and transportation-related objects, but they were abstracted. They were made with a palette knife and color was really important. Now I reserve the non-objective images for the paintings with the paintings.
TT: How do you promote yourself and your art?
PS: Instagram has truly changed the game for me. It has taken my work from locally known to globally known. It's made a huge difference.
TT: Do you have any tips or advice for fellow artists based off of your experiences thus far?
PS: I wouldn't tell just anyone that they must go to school. It was important for me because I didn't have an arts background. If you can find a community, do it. Join an art critique or drawing group. You really need to give in order to receive in the art world. When you support, you get support. In my experience, artists are your allies. Also, find a space, any space you can to make work. Devote time everyday to get to a place closer to where you want to be.
TT: What are you working on right now and why?
PS: I am continuing my current series and trying to scale up.
TT: What would you consider to be your "biggest achievement" with your work thus far?
PS: There are two: my first solo show was 2 years ago at Ortega Y Gasset and that was a big moment for me. The second was when my work was written about in the New Yorker as part of a group show in NYC.
TT: What was your first work of art that you were proud of? Where is it now?
PS: I made a woodblock print in college and it is framed in my parents' house. It was exciting because it was chosen to be on the cover of the arts journal at the college I was attending.
TT: Do you take commissions? Why or why not?
PS: I do, depending on the content. I like to create works for people based on work I've already done where I feel competent in the subject matter. I don't do pet commissions anymore. It's too personal.
TT: What do you do when you aren't working on artwork (hobbies, job, etc.)?
PS: I love doing cross-stitch. I exercise a lot and I like to garden and hang out with my dog. And I also love to read and watch tv and movies. I also do a lot of crossword puzzles.
TT: What is an area in your work that you feel weak in that you want to improve upon and how are you going to get there?
PS: I think it's patience and the ability to prepare to work. I like to have my supplies at the ready and that means I don't stretch my own canvases or build my own frames-but I wish I did!
TT: How do you overcome art blocks?
PS: I keep at it. I don't get up and walk away. It's challenging to be frustrated by a painting or an poorly executed idea but I have found that letting it rest overnight prepares me to deal with the situation the next day. Sometimes, when ideas don't come, I switch tactics and get out of my head and look at other artists' work in galleries, museums or online. I also go to an art store and check out new materials. That's typically pretty inspiring. I also have subscriptions to magazines that I can flip through to get ideas.
TT: Where do you see your work taking you in the next 5-10 years?
PS: I hope to be engaged in work that I find interesting and satisfying. It would be wonderful to still feel supported by my community and perhaps to do more teaching and outreach.
TT: Is there something that you would like to share with us that we have not covered, that pertains to you and your work?
PS: Painting has been immensely beneficial to my health. It has been an invaluable tool in decreasing stress and making space for creation.
TT: If you have links for your website, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, etc. that you would like to share, please include these addresses below.