Thursday Spotlight: Adria Arch

Tell us about your background.

I was born in Niagara Falls NY, grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and have spent most of my life in the Boston area. I spent two years at RISD and then graduated from Carnegie Mellon University. My graduate work, an MFA in painting, was completed at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. My mother was always interested in art, and she encouraged me to follow this path. Early on, I was taken to galleries and museums, and I always was interested in sitting down to draw and paint from an early age. It was an engaging activity where I felt the most free and truly myself.

Name some people, artists, artistic genres, etc. that have been influential in your work.

My work has many diverse precedents in visual history including Elizabeth Murray, Philip Guston, Jean Dubuffet, Modernist decorative arts, and contemporary street art. I also make oblique references to doodles, petroglyphs, cuneiform script, and hobo signs.

Where and how do you get your ideas?

I’m always looking for sources of unpredictable shapes, and I often begin my work with found pencil marks. I am very interested in the expressivity found in handwriting. I want to engage viewers with the lyrical and fragmented lines derived from these marginal marks. In some pieces, I employ both projected lines and my own line vocabulary.

What materials do you work with? Describe your technical processes.

I work with acrylic paint on wood panels, paper, and canvas. I usually start with a color idea – what do I want to see? From there, I project found lines onto my surfaces and paint them in as carefully as possible. Right now, I am interested in creating a layered surface that implies space, so each line is painted with attention to how it will read in space. Between each painted layer, I slather a layer of acrylic matte medium to achieve a further sense of depth and a milky, translucent obscurity similar to that of encaustic.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of being creative? What is the best part of being creative?
Freedom. What do you do with your freedom? That can be scary and challenging, but exhilarating. Where else in life can you feel this way without being physically in danger or putting someone else in danger?

What advice would you give to someone seeking advice about being an artist?

My advice would be to do this only if you feel that you MUST do it. It is very very hard to figure out how to make a living and have a family while trying to create a career as an artist.

Adria’s website

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