Net Gallery Interviews: Michael Chase
This week Net Gallery shines its spotlight on photographer & artist Michael Chase (Area of Interest). In this exclusive interview we spoke with Michael about his brand new series Paintaway. The online exhibit took place over the course of last week (July 23-29th) with 77 digital images being uploaded to the Area of Interest blog, gathering over 30,000 notes.
Remember to check out Net Gallery’s top picks from the Paintaway series HERE, and view the complete Paintaway exhibition on the Area of Interest blog.
What inspired you to create the Paintaway series?
An accident spurred it. At the time, I was working on a logo for a friend’s blog. I was trying to create a paint splatter to photograph and use in the design but I couldn’t figure it out and just ended up with these blobs of paint instead. While washing away one of the failed splatters, I noticed the interesting textures created by the water running over the drying paint. I found it beautiful how the water caused the paint to bleed and flow. It reminded me of textures I would sometimes see while out shooting. I became fascinated with the possibility of creating my own textures this way.
When were these pieces created?
I created the first piece on June 21 and finished on July 23, just over a month. I would usually work in bursts, creating a few new paintings every day or two during that time. I always worked on the project during the day to let the paintings dry quickly in the sun and so there would be enough good light to take pictures. A couple weeks into the project, I made it my goal to complete 77 pieces and have them ready to post by July 23 and I reached it.
Can you describe the process/technique of how your work is produced?
I wanted something to paint on that I could easily wash and wouldn’t stain, I grabbed a white tile I had been using as a trivet for years. For the first paintings I would launch a glob of paint down and let it dry a bit before running water over it, causing sort of an atoll effect. Then I began dousing the top of tile before putting the paint down. I started mixing water in with the acrylic paint which allowed the paint to move freely and flow on the surface. I began dripping paint out of the mixing bowls to make splashes. I eventually bought more tiles so I could work on several pieces at the same time. I used things like brush handles, a three sided ruler, paper, and a small roller to push the paint around. I also tried sliding and jamming tiles together with paint in the middle to see what would happen. I tried anything I thought might make a good texture.
What is your favorite aspect of this new collection?
I experimented with a lot of editing techniques and figured out some really cool ways to alter color, especially towards the end of the series. I thrived on exploring possibilities and working around problems. Every day was a challenge to come up with something new and make it work. It was an incredible learning experience and completely changed my perspective on how I’m going to approach my work from now on. How did you know when a piece was finished and ready to be photographed? I knew a piece was done the moment I saw something unique happening. It could be a texture, pattern, the contrast, or something subtle like the general feeling of it. It was always something that separated it enough from the others enough to call it its own.
Are there any photos from Paintaway that really stand out to you?
There are quite a few that stand out. Still, the most startling piece for me was the very first. The inspiration from seeing that image gave me enough momentum to keep it up for an entire month. There were several other great surprises throughout the series. One of my personal favorites is the black splatter. In the beginning, I was trying to make something like that splatter but couldn’t figure it out. I ended up making it by taking the mixing bowl and putting it down by the tile and blowing into it with a huge gust of air. It went everywhere, my face, my hair, and my clothes. I only tried that once but I loved the result. I’m happy with all of them individually; they’re all memorable in some way.
Any plans to sell prints or other duplications of the works featured in this series?
Yes, I am planning on selling one-of-a-kind prints of select images from the series sometime later this year. I will make an announcement when I’m ready to release them to the public.
What styles/themes/media do you want to explore next?
I already have several ideas for my next project. I can say right now that it will involve a completely different set of materials than Paintaway and it will be going in a darker direction.
Lastly, If you could describe your art in one word, what would it be?