School, 2006, 90 x 160 inches
PB: How did you get started in art?
RS: At Southwestern Junior College there was an art history class where the teacher split the class into three. Some to make paintings, some to set up a gallery show on campus, and some to write about it. I made a Frank Stella 8 foot circle. That was the turning point. Then, I rented a space in downtown San Diego, chased out the pigeons and moved in.
PB: Can you elaborate on your use of street imagery?
RS: I used the street early on because it was non-decorative, radical; and taking this information into an art world, I felt a sense of optimism. That is still today the beginning of my journey.
PB: How do you go about painting in the studio; how do you make your work?
RS: I have an idea. My education is the imagery from the street and everything else in life. I make the stretcher, stretch it, gesso it, and normally get my idea down. This is where the painting starts as I need to resolve unforeseen problems. I paint it until it doesn't present any problems.
PB: Are there any other artists whose work you're excited about?
RS: I have installed artwork since 1980 and have seen artworks everyday. In the past, I have been influenced by the abstract expressionists, Duchamp, and Kasimir Malevich -- and from here the list is long. But what I can do now is spend time with almost any artwork and find the spirit.
PB: What other mediums or ways of working have you considered or are already working on?
RS: There is the focus and the distractions. I have installed a single old pencil standing on the wall, played a painting with paint like a drum, and now I'm doing a child's house with a light inside and smoke in the chimney. Today on my travels in India, I'm drawing praying hands with deformation. Although at home I'm working on large white line paintings that I like to think of as Gods. I've finished ten now and I'm doing about eight more.
To see more: richardsigmund.com