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Creative Q&A #22 – Gregory Thielker

August 26, 2009


How’s everybody doin’ this week? I’m good, hope you are, too. So somebody finally reminded the weather that it was August. The heat is back with vengeance here in Los Angeles, and now the seasonal wildfires joined the party. Looks like we’ve got ourselves a late summer!

This week’s CQ&A is with the amazing photo-realistic painter Gregory Thielker, yup that’s a painting up there. His subject matter is so unusual, yet so completely accessible. I think the vast majority of us have had the experience of gazing through a window covered in water, whether it be from rain or a car wash. Greg’s ability to mimic life with a masterful command of refraction and light makes it look like you’re his passenger on a rainy day running errands about town. See my interview with Greg and more of his fantastic work after the jump:


CR: What’s your artistic background?
Gregory Thielker: I was born in New Jersey and experimented with many different media there. I attended Williams College for undergrad where I was an art history major but with a heavy studio art component. During that time, I worked at the Clark Art Institute as well as lived in France and Italy where I saw a lot of great art up close. I went to Washington University in St. Louis for grad school and it was there that I learned a lot of technical painting lessons and developed a more critical stance towards art.

CR: What’s your favorite medium to work with?
GT: I’m a painter at heart. Although I appreciate and use other media, painting is still the most versatile and dynamic way for me to work.

CR: What medium would you like to work with?
GT: I would like to work with charcoal more. Most of my drawing is preparation, but I think of Robert Longo’s charcoals are as some of the most luxurious and painterly drawings I’ve seen.

CR: Do you have a favorite personal work? If so, what is it?
GT: I guess my favorite work of late is a painting from 2008 called Vortex (image at the top of the post). It’s been my most ambitious painting- close to 4 x 6 feet- and its the most abstract image that I have done in this driving series. I took many photos and combined several to create the image and then the painting itself took about 5 months to do. I worked very hard on the surface- layering glazes on top of one another to get a lot of subtlety in the greys, blues, and umber.

CR: Who’s blowing your mind right now?
GT: I recently went to the ‘Paint Made Flesh’ exhibit at the Philips Collection in DC (my new home) and I was floored by one of the early paintings in the show by Hyman Bloom called “the Hull” from 1952. It’s a gross anatomy scene, but the artist uses crazy fluorescent colors and lots of mixed techniques which makes it feel contemporary, but maybe better than so much of the painting I’m seeing right now. This guy is amazing.

CR: What’s in heavy rotation on your iTunes, or CD player, tape deck, record player, etc?
GT: I’ve gotten in the habit of listening to books on cd while I paint. I just listened to Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy and it was a pretty intense way to get through a week of painting.

CR: What’s next for you?
GT: I’m hoping that my recent move to Washington, DC will inspire some ideas for my work. I’ve also got a new project brewing that is a bit of a departure from the rain images, but it picks up some other themes from my work. That’s all I’m saying for now. Check for updates on my website soon.




harrison ave study

Above and Below

One Comment leave one →
  1. MotherKnowsBest permalink
    August 28, 2009 9:14 am

    Wow, Wow, Wow!!! Unbelievable. Love these!

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