Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Few Minutes with Artist Eric Dubnicka

Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up. 
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

I immediately liked the first piece I saw and knew I'd want to attend the opening of In Cahoots this week at the Duluth Art Institute. In Cahoots is a joint show featuring the collaborations of Eric Dubnicka and Jeremy Schock. The two have assembled an extensive collection of works that are totally collaborative and the DAI is giving them a space to share these works with the wider public from October 11 through December 9 in the George Morrison Gallery. This Thursday, October 25, there will be a Gallery Celebration from 5 - 7 p.m. and the public is invited. If you can't be there for the wine, cheese and friends of the arts, be sure to do a walk-through sometime in the coming month because it will be worth it. Admission is free.

EN: Who have been your biggest influences? 
Eric Dubnicka: My biggest influences in general are those that have made a commitment to art-making and a life immersed in it. Sculptors, potters, painters, crafters. Folks who, without glamor or glory, have accepted the burden that creativity is essential to their existence, and live their lives enveloped in it. It can be an artist's lifestyle and motivation, less than a particular style of art that influences me. To be more specific though, I am always researching and seeking out ways that artists have solved the problems that they've created. Artists such as Alberto Giaccometti and Egon Schiele come to mind, as well as more contemporary artists such as Scott Brooks and others that fall into what is considered Pop Surrealism.

EN: How did you become interested in collaboration? 
ED: I can't say that there was a moment that I decided to consider it or became interested in the idea. The timing was just right. After living in the Washington Artists Cooperative for eight years, I found myself in a new home and with a new studio to break in. I was struggling to get into a groove when Jeremy visited; a fellow College of Visual Arts alum and artist I consider in high regard. I just floated the idea and after we worked for a couple hours it was pretty obvious that something clicked and here we are. If the factors are right, I definitely will be open to working collaboratively again and Jeremy and I have discussed the possibility of working together again down the line.

EN: What have you learned about yourself from your collaborative experiences? 
ED: To let my ego go. As an artist you have to have the confidence that you're making the right decisions as you're developing a work of art. In a collaboration such as this, where we're working on the same pieces(we made over 80), you have to let go of the preciousness of a singular mark and understand that its destruction by another hand can lead to a greater final result. That was a challenge at first, just letting go. Additionally, I learned that its important for me to get out a little more and work with others, whether on art or producing an exhibition, or what have you.

EN: How long were you working at the Tweed Museum and what did you learn from that experience? 
ED: I've been working at the Tweed Museum of Art for five and half years and nearly seven(!) if you include some early contract work. Working at the Tweed as the Preparator and Exhibition Designer has allowed me to work with many artists and view and handle many art forms that I would not have had the chance or privilege to do otherwise. It's been an excellent learning experience and I am certain that is has played a major role in my development as an artist. It has also opened my eyes to the fact that the most passionate and gifted artists out there are not necessarily those we know about, and in order to succeed in the art world, which to me is to eventually make a living off of my work, one has to be as passionate about marketing, grant writing and the other facets that go along with being a business, as you are creating in the studio.

I for one am looking forward to this show. Hope to see you there.

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