Briefly describe the work you do.
Through a rigorous material and process-based studio practice, my work investigates anomalies occurring in systems. My work explores optics, printmaking and the apparatus through an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates drawing, installation and projection.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
My background in psychology and commercial printing inform my interest in moiré patterns and other optical phenomena. I am currently working as a production printer at Hammerpress Letterpress and Design Studio in Kansas City, where I make hundreds of prints on a daily basis. Naturally, misregistered prints are going to occur and these “mistakes” are the basis for my investigation of patterns and perception. Historically the moiré pattern is the result of an error that occurs in the printing process while also creating the feeling of movement in a static image. My interest in the ways in which visual stimuli can affect us viscerally is a result of my years spent studying psychology in college.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
My studio functions like a laboratory with several material studies/experiments being conducted simultaneously. I find that my studio experience is a nice complement to my time in the print studio, which is a more communal and social environment. Additionally, I am actively involved in a few curatorial projects, which allow me to collaborate with artists in ways that differ from studio-centric collaborations. The Hown’s Den, http://www.thehownsden.com/, is a nomadic and domestic exhibition space that explores how work exists situated in a dwelling, as opposed to a more traditional gallery space. SPECTRA, http://spectrakc.org/, promotes the production of experimental film, video, and other time-based art works in Kansas City through monthly screenings and discourse in the community.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
When I first began making art, I wouldn’t have imagined the influence that science would have on my artistic interests and methodologies. While my work resides at the intersection of art and technology, my practice is similar to the scientific method in that I begin with a hypothesis, which leads to experimentation, and than a conclusion and the curatorial decision of whether or not the work is successful.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
The mornings are definitely the most productive studio times for me. I try to reserve the evenings, after I get home from work for organizing and cleaning the studio. I set aside time every day to be in the studio, the amount of time varies depending upon the rhythm of our family.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
My work has become more interdisciplinary over the last few years; moving away from strictly two-dimensional prints to more installation-based modes of incorporating print media, whether actual prints or work that is informed by prints. Over the years, I have grown to embrace and seek out the unexpected results that occur throughout the art making process by setting up situations that invite happenstance. My studio practice has become more experimental, which allows more opportunities for wonderment and playfulness.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
I am fortunate to be surrounded by an engaging group of artists and friends whom consistently challenge and inspire me. My family, Crystal Ann Brown and my son, influence my work and are a constant source of inspiration. I am pretty excited about a series of process drawings that my two-and-a half-year-old son and I are working on together. I feel an artistic kinship with certain musicians and composers, such as Brian Eno, Philip Glass and Stravinsky.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
I would definitely be somewhere cooking. I have always enjoyed cooking and at one point had considered attending culinary school. I appreciate the similarities between the culinary and visual arts in fostering sensitivity to materials and processes.
Robert Howsare is an interdisciplinary artist who utilizes nontraditional printmaking matrices and processes to explore the anomalies that occur within systems. He received his BFA in printmaking in 2009 from the Kansas City Art Institute and graduated with an MFA in printmaking from Ohio University in 2012. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally; selected venues include the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Austrian Cultural Forum of New York, and the International Print Center of New York. Additionally, Howsare’s work has been recognized by WIRED Magazine, Abitare International Design Magazine, HOW, and other publications. A recipient of a 2012-2013 Charlotte Street Foundation Urban Culture Project Studio Residency, Robert Howsare currently lives and works in Kansas City, KS.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.