Recent MCC Drawing awardee Stacey Alickman has launched a USA Projects campaign* to support her fascinating painting project, and here, she offers a look into her studio and process.
I’m currently working on a project called Pulling The Legs Off Bugs Was a Cruel, Harmless Waste of Time. This poetic phrase came into my head almost ten years ago and its meaning is layered; that children easily pull the legs off bugs without remorse or regret. The emotion behind this phrase continues to inspire new work and new directions.
Last year, I began to integrate this persistent narrative within my art and explore why it has resonated so deeply. These paintings reflect my process of creative exploration and how this phrase has developed visually as well as conceptually. What have emerged are abstract pieces that are textured and rhythmic, densely worked and sculpted.
I’ve been working on many pieces at once this past year, rotating through as many as ten at a time. This is because some of my applications are thick and need long pauses before I can paint or sand into them again. Finished and in-progress pieces cover walls, shelves and floor space so that they are all in my line of sight while I work. Recently, I’ve also started using paper like paint, putting it on and then taking it off, and allowing the formation of the material to create rhythm and texture.
My studio at 6 Vernon Street in Somerville is shaped somewhat like a bowling alley, with one large window at the end. I like to work on the two opposite walls closest to the window, with an old, ratty chair in the corner for periods of contemplation. Half of my painting titles are born in this chair, the other half, usually in the bathtub (which is not in my studio). My space is cramped but tidy, with various tables and a desk that pens me into the space I am working. I have my paints and various tools for application laid out in an organized way so that fledgling pieces can begin in a completely disorganized way. This is the best way I know to initiate unexpected results. I always hope that something interesting might come out of the chaos.
Images: all images courtesy of the artist; titles for paintings (top to bottom) SPIACCICATA; PARADIDDLE; WET INTO WET; IN A BOX MY DIRTY POODLE THOUGHTS.
* Awardees of the MCC Artist Fellowships Program are among the artists invited to launch projects on United States Artists Projects, one of the crowdfunding sites that artists can use to support their art practice.