Interview: Edward M
Luca Curci talks with Edward M during THE EXTENDED BODY 2020 at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.
American artist Edward M. Donald most recent exhibitions included his work at the Art Box Gallery/Zürich, Switzerland, Art Metropole Europe, Barcelona, Spain, The Extended Body, International Art Exhibition, London, UK, and Art Box/Eduardo Lira Art Gallery, Miami. Art Expo, Zürich, Switzerland, Art Box, Basel, Switzerland, Art Box/Stricoff Gallery, New York, USA, The Scarab Club for artists, Detroit, USA, The Brooklyn Art Library, New York, USA, College for Creative Studies, Faculty Exhibition, Detroit, USA. Recently, his work has captured the interest of collectors in North America and Europe. He has been an adjunct instructor of visual art at colleges in Canada and USA and is currently instructing at College for Creative Studies, Department of Continuing Education in Detroit, Michigan. Prior to his fine arts career, Edward held a number of executive level positions in advertising and communications as an art director and illustrator in Canada and USA working on Fortune 500 business. Today and into the future, he is totally committed to continuing his gallery work and the education of visual artists.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Edward M – It is a passion and a compulsion, it is a profession and a lover, it is a blessing and a curse. I am grateful for the talent I have and the skills I have developed but I realize, unlike many other professions, I can never not be an artist. An artist can stop doing art but can never stop being an artist… we are what we do and what we do is, at least in part, who we are. For me art is life.
LC – What’s your background?
EM – The visual arts have always been an integrated part of my life experience and has defined who I am as a person. So, when someone asks, what is my background, I start with artist, then become more specific if required. I studied art at Detroit Institute of Arts while taking classes in public school, and later at The Art School of the Society of Arts & Crafts, now College for Creative Studies in Detroit. My instructors were from around the world, either by nationality or training, and remained active in their discipline while inspiring the young people in their care. It was an amazing experience.
LC – What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
EM – Having been a rather sick child with heart problems and the fear that often becomes dark thoughts and the fear that nothing will ever be finished. That state of introspection and dreams and time alone influenced much of my work and led me to an interest in German Expressionism. My work has an unfinished look because that’s how I see the world and how my life has been.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
EM – Inspiration is everywhere, in a poem, a piece of music, the natural world and sometimes the work and lives of other artists. Most of all through my wonderful children.
LC – What is your creative process like?
EM – I start with a thought (sometimes dreams) or emotional quality that leads me to a subject and then technique. From that point I tend to create sketches, with or without reference material. If I need reference, I will find it in nature or in the case of a human subject, find a person I can model. When working with a model, it’s often, but not always, a two-step approach. First a live session, that I’ll also photograph and when close to finishing I’ll often have the model return so I can revisit that original energy and work it into the final piece.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue?
EM – Themes and subjects approached in a way that encourages the viewer to apply their own narrative. My theming is a reflection of seeking and a desire to find those visual voices that do not always harmonize but in their distinctive expression create the texture of one’s life. My latest works of art are human studies which concentrate on an emotional search for content rather than technical aspects such as sight measurement or light management. In terms of materials, I do gravitate to acrylic polymer paint, ink, pastels, charcoal and conté on paper or clay board surfaces. I focus on capturing the human spirit and emotion through the use of a subjective color palette and conflicting surface textures. Therefore, I tend to see the act of drawing and painting as a conversation and shared experience with those who witness it.
LC – What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
EM – That’s difficult to say but my current series has a human focus. My next series may be more about nature, landscapes and botanical studies but following the same materials track as my current work.That may not happen until the second half of the year because I have 2 – 3 more human studies to finish.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition?
EM – “SENSU maiden: Metamorphosis”, the fan represents a blooming flower metaphor for a girl coming into her own realization. The visual technique represents organic and sometimes conflictive growth. There is harmony in composition but controlled chaos in materials application. “ROTES MÄDCHEN: Red Girl”, young woman contemplating her own complexity, strength and future. My model projected a very creative persona and indeed she was creative in manner and behavior, but in fact was a scientist. Red girl was both realities.
LC – How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
EM – THE EXTENDED BODY – MIXING CULTURES “is an exhibition of contemporary art, focused on the human body as a changing system that connects us with other bodies and spaces to perceive the surrounding reality; a strong communication system with its own language and infinite ways of expression”. You invited artists “to analyze the hidden parts of our identities, through an immersive experience inside the fascinating universe of the complex labyrinths of our consciousness”. All my works fits the basic theme of the human body being a system in flux. This is most obvious in “SENSU maiden: metamorphosis” in both content and visual approach, and in technique only in “Rotes Mädchen” where the narrative is much more cloaked. My work encourages the viewer to not only identify with its content but complete it within their own personal context, thereby becoming part of the work and not just a viewer of it.
LC – What are you currently working on?
EM – The last three pieces of the current series, ‘Humanus Countenance’: “Blue Girl with Green Eyes” (Blaues Mädchen mit grünen Augen), “Hands Down” (Hände runter) and “Human Factors” (Menschliche Faktoren).
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP? Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
EM – I am grateful that they are encouraging artists from around the world to share in an open and positive environment. Added to that, it’s the first class and highly visible locations as well as public relations support.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
EM – I would like to see the group do something in North America, perhaps Toronto or a city in USA. Detroit would be great for a more ‘edgy’ theme and the event would find great support within the arts community. I would also encourage collaboration with ‘cultural groups’ (arts clubs, museums, colleges) in each city or region that would help boost awareness and attendance. Another idea would be the promotion of a ‘student’ exhibition, inviting the top 100 art schools in the world to take part. But the idea that may generate the most ‘buzz’ would be an open call for indigenous artists (American Indian would be one example) representing every region of the world.