Briefly describe the work you do.
Currently I’m primarily working with abstraction. I used to do portraiture and then moved into a lot of architecturally based work (all of which certainly had their abstract elements) but as of a late I’m really much more interested in pure abstraction and playing with what what is unexpected in both composition, value, technique and color. I do still often use images to get me started, but then I let the emotion take it from there.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
In regards to my formal artistic background, spending two years abroad is probably one of the most influential experiences I’ve had in regards to how this has effected my work. The way art is taught in Italy is completely different from that of the United States and having had both formal instruction here & abroad has allowed me to really expand and explore my artist expression. Not to mention that just living in a foreign country and being fully immersed is an incredibly inspirational time.
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.”
My studio practice is fairly traditional in some respects. I have a studio that isn’t at my house (although I have had my studio at home and in a lot of unique places in the past) and that’s where I do almost all of my creating. I will admit that I really loved having my studio in my house for some time because it allowed me to spend more time just looking at my in progress paintings and assessing them before actually working on them. But the downside with that was that I never found myself able to separate or escape thinking about it, so I think it’s kind of nice that I have a designated place to create my artwork now. And it’s in a warehouse owned by a clothing designer so it’s a creative environment.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I don’t think I ever really internalized how much self promotion was necessary in being an artist until I graduated. And since then, I’m certainly finding that being an artist is very similar if not identical to being a business owner, and therefore I have to take on every role that a business involves, creating the product, marketing, communication, admin, sales. It can be overwhelming that’s for sure, and there are certainly times I wish I could just forget about it all and hibernate in my studio painting forever.
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?
I try to paint as often as I can. Luckily I’m very prolific, so even if I don’t have a ton of hours available in the studio, the hours I do have are used very efficiently. I try to paint on average 3-4 days a week, but sometimes it ends up being as little as 2. I pretty much set aside whatever time is available, but I have certainly had to explain to my friends that my studio time is not hang out time and had to learn to set those boundaries. I’ve also realized that for whatever reason I don’t do well creating after a full day, so painting needs to be the first thing I do in the morning if I’m going to get the most out of it.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
My work has changed a lot actually. I mean 5 years ago I was still in Undergrad, painting for lessons and had never sold anything. I’ve grown a lot as an artist since then and feel like a completely different person. I would say the most significant change is probably my confidence, which allows for my art to be more unique and expressive and free, all of which I highly value in assessing the quality of an art piece. But I do still think there is a common thread and style to all of my work since then, no matter how much I change, my art will still be created by me so I think that will show through regardless.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
I’ve noticed recently that most of my inspiration comes from non visual artists such as musicians, writers, actors etc. My brother just got his MFA in directing after a BFA in acting and now that we live in the same city I’m realizing how much he has had an impact on my creativity. Having a sibling I’m so close to be involved in the arts has allowed me to dive into deep and intimate conversations around art theory and exploration in ways I think can be difficult to explore with others.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
Absolutely, I actually find that I’m lucky enough to like a lot of things. I was a part time teacher on and off for 5 years and loved it, then I decided I wanted to try something else and fell in love with furniture & interior design (which I still do part time). And it doesn’t stop there. But never did I consider stopping art, it was just playing around with the balance of how much I work and how much I create, I don’t think I will ever stop being an artist, I can’t.
Seren Moran was born in 1989 in Berkeley, California. In 2011, Seren graduated from San Diego State University’s Fine Arts Program, with an emphasis in painting. She graduated with honors, was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, and was the only undergraduate to receive the annual Art Council Scholarship that year. During her junior year of college, Seren studied abroad in the highly competitive art program at the original Leonardo da Vinci School of Art, L’Accademia di Bella Arte, in Florence Italy, where all classes were taught in Italian. Seren’s time in Italy was spent focused on nude portraiture in both painting and printmaking.
In 2012, Seren moved to Indaiatuba, Brazil, where she spent 10 months teaching English, learning Portuguese, and painting. There, she painted her Brasil Series which resulted in two exhibitions at a gallery and museum in the State of Sao Paulo.
Seren’s recent work explores the transition of her returning to the Bay Area, exploring memories and architectural imagery reminiscent of home.. The subjects of her abstracted images are structures reminiscent of her childhood. Her most current work continues to explore memories but with a more process based approach, sampling works from her past and incorporating newer contrasting styles.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.