It's been a while.
I contacted Grace once the dust from our move had settled, and she kindly agreed to have me in her home studio. I'm thrilled to be back at it with this blog in a new city...as a new Austinite! Without further ado, photos and interview after the jump:
EC: Why don't we start by..you telling me where you grew up.
GB: Okay..I grew up in Houston...and..I mean, what do you want to know?
EC: Well, just..it's sometimes nice to know where someone grew up, and how it affected...
GB: Yeah, I grew up north of Houston in Spring..everyone just calls it Houston. I guess I kind of got into art in middle school..and then in high school I was in y'know, the AP art classes or whatever. Then, I don't know, that just made a big difference for me, so I decided I was going to go to college for painting.
EC: You went to painting college in Houston..
GB: Actually, no. I went to four different schools. I did start in Houston at a community college, and then I went to ..it used to be called Southwest Texas, but now it's called Texas State..for a year. Then I came to Austin because I wanted to go to UT, but I decided I wanted to go to ACC for a semester, and then I ended up at UT for the last couple of years...so I finished there.
I kind of did a double major. I was focusing on both photography and painting. I love color. I usually work from my photographs.
EC: I was going to ask you about that. Do you take photos solely for the purpose of making a painting, or..
GB: Sometimes. I mean, it's kind of a process. I'll see something, and I think "That is something I want to make a painting of" and I'll take a picture of it, and whether or not it becomes a painting depends. Sometimes it doesn't happen, because there's--you can take a photo so fast, but a painting takes forever. or.. a long time.
But is that the driving force behind taking the photo? Painting is always in your mind?
GB: Yeah. I want to communicate with painting.
EC: So you wouldn't say that photography is a more primary practice..
GB: No. Uh-uh.
A lot of times I'll take a picture and open it up in Photoshop and kind of..make it how I want it to look...Photoshop some little things out of it so that I can make it more "perfect." Then I print that out and make a painting from it.
It's like I create my own visual paradise. Or whatever [laughs]
EC: You used the word "perfect"...when I see your paintings..and I'm mainly talking about your house series..they look edited. Perfect. Um..simplified.
GB: Mmm.Very minimalistic in a sense.
EC: Would you say that that's a conceptual thing, or just part of your sensibility ..?
GB: I don't like a lot of clutter. there's nothing wrong with paintings with it..but I like the ..it's the relationships. Between the house and the tree...or the relationships between the colors.. in a lot of ways they are more important to me.
|"The Competition Painting"|
EC: Why did you do the house series?
GB: In school they want you to do a series. I didn't really have an idea..but I love all of the houses in Hyde Park. One day I went and took pictures, and... I don't know. It's what I wanted to go out and take pictures of, and that's what it became. I was doing photographs of houses in black and white at night, and then color paintings. Of all the pictures I took, the ones I liked the most were portraits..they were very direct. The front of the house, not the side of the house..
I actually went out to take pictures of shadows.. and when I started, I ended up taking them of houses.
Anyway, it just became more about the houses. Portraits of houses.
GB: In school, people were like, "Well, where are the people in these houses?" and I was like, " I don't know..do they need to be there?"
They would say, "I wonder who lives there!" and all this stuff about people involved with the house..that's what they would like to see in the paintings.
EC: When you're driving or walking down the street, it's sort of more..rare..to see people there with their house than an empty scene.
EC:I wanted to ask you about the materials you use. I noticed on your website that you use things like plywood, cardboard..etc.
GB:I don't like canvas. Let's cut to the chase. I don't like it.
GB:I don't know.
EC:It gives too much, or..?
GB:I like using recycled materials..I like using things that I find. I like wood. It's solid.
I don't know, I just like it better.
EC:I'm with ya. If you were wondering.
GB:Oh, okay..I wasn't, but...that's cool.
EC:You paint with oils on the wood?
GB:I paint with both..it just depends on how much time I have or what's going on. If it's like a commission and I want it to [snaps] happen..let's do acrylics! [laughs]
EC:What's your life like outside of painting?
GB:I work at the Texas School for the Blind.
EC:Ah, I think I drove past it the other day. Is it the Texas School for the Deaf and Blind?
GB:No, just the Texas School for the Blind. There's a school for the blind, and a school for the deaf. But if you are deaf and blind, you go to the school for the blind.
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