Briefly describe the work you do.
I work primarily in installations and community public art projects. Many of my projects continue to reinforce my objective to collaborate with the sciences. I examine environmental issues through a long process of educating myself on the subject. It is exciting for me as an artist to work with biologists who share a similar passion. Many of my installations are in public areas. I am extremely interested in working in this environment. Through my work I am concerned with the issues of public art and public accessibility to it.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
I grew up in Idaho and spend a great deal of time outdoors. It was there that I gained a respect for the rivers and land and the wild. This is a large part of what informs my work.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
While I am currently in the process of building a studio in my backyard quite often my studio the gallery where I exhibit. I work for the project and working on site is a big part of my practice. The studio is my place to think and work on the concepts for my projects.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
Paperwork is at least 50% or more of my art practice. As a public artist I find myself spending a great deal of time writing proposals, budgets, letters and conducting research. These are aspects of a working artist that I hadn’t considered when I began.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
At one time late at night was a creative time for me. Now, I find early mornings to be much more productive. I do not have a consistent time in the studio. I work when I can find the time.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
With my work, I am able to continue the development of my visual vocabulary through the use of common visual languages. I hope to bring to the dialogue on public art new questions about public space, public accessibility, and community involvement and to address issues on low versus high art forms.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
I learn from them all. Well, probably not the pop icons.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
During the last several years I have developed a passion for competition BBQ. This expensive hobby can be a big distraction from the studio.
Gregg Schlanger is a Professor of Art and Chair of the Department of Art at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. He received his BFA from Boise State University in 1987 and his MFA from Northern Illinois University in 1989. Gregg’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. This includes a community public art commission for the City of Memphis, Tennessee, a community project for the City of Providence, Rhode Island and a commission for the public library in Owensboro, Kentucky. Gregg has participated in exhibitions in New York, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, California, North Carolina, Arkansas, Idaho, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington. His work has also been exhibited in Berlin, Erfurt, Potsdam and Jena, Germany. He has received many awards including Sponsorship by the New York Foundation for the Arts, Israel-Tennessee Visual Artist Exchange Project Fellowship, USIA Arts America Grant and New Forms Regional Initiative Grant from the NEA.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.