INTERVIEW: PAINTER/SCULPTER CHYRUM LAMBERT
While a well defined work ethic and learned craft hold importance in the employment of the creative act, the honest value of an image is not built upon its substance, the honest value of an image lies in the act of viewing its image. - Chyrum Lambert
Abstract painter and sculpter Chyrum Lambert, based out of Los Angeles, California, questions how we all view art and if the process behind each piece is what determines the value of it. When viewing an art piece there are several underlying factors that influence how we appreciate the work, and some of these factors happen subconsciously, whether we would like it to happen or not. Sometimes we might be influenced by those around us or the culture surrounding the artwork. We might also be influenced by the artist who created the piece or the tools used to make it. Chyrum Lambert begs to differ and suggests to truly appreciate art we must make our decision by its visual attraction or lack of. This way of viewing art is honest and most importantly true to oneself. Continue reading for more of Chyrum’s thoughts and inspirations!
At a glance I find myself seeing an actual landscape or object, but then I just see abstract. Is this something you foresee while creating your work?
Thank you, I take it as a compliment. It's a quality I'm really drawn to, as I've always enjoyed looking at paintings that are a little unsure of themselves. I think... and this is me on a personal, day to day level... that I'm a pretty uncertain person most of the time so it only feels right that my paintings should carry that same distress.
I'm really not too concerned with how they are ultimately viewed. I think of myself as a representational painter but I've always had an interest in the way that abstract painters approach a painting. Their ideas on composition, their freedom in the actual act of painting, the poetic openness of their images. Even if one of my paintings ends up looking wildly abstracted, they always start out as stills, portraits, or interior scenes, mostly just as a way for me to pin down some rules so I've got a solid foundation on which to create the image. The space that the images are existing in is almost more important to me than the images themselves.
In your inquiries page, the process behind your work is described and then we are told this is irrelevant. This speaks to me and enforces my belief that art is expression and that the viewer holds a certain power. Can you talk more about this statement and what it means to you?
As an artist I have an interest in raw materials and the way they interact to create something other than those materials involved. So I like to describe the process and show a list of the materials used. But I also don't want to cloud the images with too much information because I'm aware that a picture is only valuable to a viewer if you are impelled to keep looking at it. The first moment I look at a painting I haven't seen before is an important interaction to me, and I don't want to go into it with too much baggage. My concern is how this visual thing will make my body feel when I see it. And how my own self can affect this object. If told you all about a paintings backstory, the painting techniques, reasons for painting it, or its dollar value, would it make you think that the painting was more interesting or important than it was before? It usually does. There are many ways to create this type of aura around an object that has nothing to do with the actual object but becomes intrinsically tied to it the more it is spoken of. Advertising and capitalism thrive on this concept. That statement you're inquiring about that I've released is just a way to let the viewer know that I'm aware of the absurdity of describing an artwork. But even a statement like that does the same thing, it adds to that aura. So perhaps it's a trick we can't avoid. Or not a trick at all but just another tool for the artist to use.
With no formal training on art do you remember the exact day you decided to commit yourself to your work and what was it like?
I have a letter that I wrote to myself for a time capsule when I was eight years old, and in it I address to my future self "I don't know what I want to be when I am older. But I think I might be an artist." So I think I always had a feeling that I preferred to be led by my intuitions and feelings rather than financial successes.
I really committed myself to working, trying to fit in a good 40 hours each week for painting about 6 years ago. I go to the studio everyday now. It's something I never really tire of doing. You really have to focus on the work and the work only. There's a great pleasure in feeling your own capacities growing.
As often as I do it and as much as I enjoy going to see work in galleries... showing the work, to me, has always felt like a kind of social technicality. The real importance for me is in spending those hours alone with the image.
You’ve added a new installment to your page and it’s a sculpture. How is it like breaking out of the page?
I've always been attracted to sculpture but there's always been a lack of space for me to work on something that requires space like sculpture does. And I don't feel as though I've reached a significant point with the sculptures to where I can say I really know where my place is with them. But I have noticed the effect it's had on my paintings, and I think you'll be seeing more of the sculptural work being incorporated into the paintings and vice versa. The 2 mediums are beginning to feel more similar to me than they ever had before.
Who are some previous and/or current artist that inspire you today?
Well...as far as visual artists, there's almost too many to list...but I love reading about what other artists are attracted to so here goes, I'm just going to plop down a bunch of names, new and old- R.B. Kitaj, Christina Ramberg. Laura Owens, Chris Offili, Mark Delong, Patricia Treib, Jesse Littlefield, Scott Anderson, Sarah Awad, Henry Taylor, Alessandro Pessoli, Barbara Rossi, Anthony Caro, Michael Bolus, Diane Simpson, Joan Brown, Elijah Burgher, Julian Hoeber, Luckey Remington, Gregory Grenon, Richard Diebenkorn, Richard Smith, Horst Antes, Jane Frank, Lauren Luloff, Lauren Silva, Ray Johnson, Tal R, Phillip Guston, David Hendrickson, Nicola Tyson, Paul Jenkins, Pierre Alechinsky, Adam Sultan, Ron Nagle, Gary Molitor, Ruth Duckworth, Sandra Blow, Sheila Hicks, William J. O'brien... that's probably enough for now. Ooh and as far as galleries go, Zieher Smith & Horton and 247365 (both in New York), everything that they show is fantastic.
Thank you for taking your time! It was pleasure learning more about your work!
Thanks again for your interest!
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