Constructed Environments by Jeremy Miranda
We love the way you create dream-like scenes by combining the landscape and interior. When did you initially get inspired to paint these images?
Thank you. That was a series I did back a few years back. At the time, I was interested in memory/time and trying to construct spacial environments that gave the sense of those things folding into themselves. I worked in that vein for a few years, panning for gold, and then honestly one day I walked into the studio and it all just looked like someone else’s work. I'm not sure why, but it just didn't fit anymore, which is great. I like moments like that in the studio, because they signal that you're being honest with yourself and that something exciting and new is about to happen. From there, I switched back to acrylic paint and began to revisit past ideas and ways of working that I actually felt ready for.
When did you first decide that you wanted to be an artist?
Growing up, I always was in love with drawing and thought I’d be a children's book illustrator or something like that, but I owe it to a handful of artists from my hometown (Sue McNally, Luke Randall, Tom Deininger) for exposing me to the idea of being an artist with a studio practice. They were awesome teachers and were nice enough to let a high school kid visit their studios, which were these big mill spaces with paintings and sculptures everywhere, and I was just completely hooked from there. Tom took me on as his assistant when I was a junior in high school, while he was in the midst of working on a solo museum show, so that really gave me an intense and intimate view into the daily life of an artist.
Tell us about your process. How does each painting come about from reference to execution?
Pretty much everything is invented. If a painting is too mapped out, I get immediately bored. So, the only references I use are some pretty ugly, grubby sketches I make in the early morning. I usually have a handful of paintings going so I can balance them against each other, and I’d really describe the process as intuitive, or maybe trial and error is a little more accurate.
What advice would you give other painters for breaking through barriers and trying something new in their work?
I would refer them to Diebenkorn's "Notes to myself on beginning a painting" (provided below):
Notes to myself on beginning a painting
1. Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.
2. The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued – except as a stimulus for further moves.
3. DO search.
4. Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.
5. Don’t “discover” a subject – of any kind.
6. Somehow don’t be bored but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.
7. Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.
8. Keep thinking about Pollyanna.
9. Tolerate chaos.
10. Be careful only in a perverse way.
What are some of your favorite things to read, watch or listen to that inspire your work?
I guess kind of everything? I haven't finished a book since our son was born, but I was working my way through all of Michael Chabon's books (whom I find very inspiring). But honestly, anything that's well made makes me want to make things in response.
Tell us about some of your other interests aside from art-making.
It’s not a super interesting list. Hiking, gardening, cooking, those kinds of things. I’ve been playing guitar since I was very young, but it’s all self-taught and not proper in anyway. Honestly, I'm interested in anything that gets me out of the studio for a bit. If you asked me to go play golf in the rain, I’d be pretty excited to do that.
Do you have a daily ritual?
I do. My wife and I split the week up watching our kid, so when it’s my work day I get up at 7:00, make a pot of coffee and talk with my good friend Tom on the phone for half an hour (which we've been doing for about 15 years). When I get into the studio, I spend the first hour making very loose drawings. The drawings are what I end up making the paintings from, so it’s important that they're made right away when the images are fresh in my mind. From there, I'm usually juggling a few paintings that are all in various stages of completion. Also, I listen to the same 2 albums on rotation all day. I'm hoping I'm not the only one who does this, because it feels pretty weird. But I can't paint in silence, and podcasts and spotify are too stimulating and tend to pull me out of the work. So I just repeat an album I like until it becomes this rhythmic, meditative, white noise.
What would you say your paintings are about and how do you want the viewer to feel when they experience them?
I have a handful of different series going on right now and each one is about something a little different. I have series going of shelters (I guess you could call them cabins really) which are, on one level, about the play of interior vs exterior and space and light, but they're also about how the making of art is its own kind of shelter or insular world one occupies. I have another series of studio interiors with fictional "works in progress" which are my version of a self-portrait. But sometimes I don't know what something is about. I have a group of these sink paintings, one of which is the largest painting in my studio right now, and I feel compelled to make them, but I really am not sure what they're about. All in all, I’m equally concerned with the content as I am with the physical surface, and I spend a lot of time thinking about paint handling and line quality and texture. My hope is that the balance of those things creates an immersive experience for someone viewing the work.
What would you say you are most proud of up to this point?
The fact that I'm still painting.