We are thrilled to welcome the return of Henry Schreiber to the gallery with this month's Project Wall feature, Here, Hold This. We sat down a few weeks ago to ask our favorite marmot master a few questions and about his inspiration for the show and dig a little deeper into his artistic process:
ME: What was your inspiration for "Here, Hold This" and how did you select your subject matter?
HS: When I was first invited to this show, I thought maybe I could try something new. I wanted to get away from the narrative that has driven most of my previous shows and really just focus on randomness as a unifying theme. Simply marmots holding stuff. This allowed me to have a lot more fun - not having the pressure of making everything fit seamlessly.
ME: Do you have a favorite piece in the show, or one that was particularly challenging to work on, and why?
HS: My favorite piece is probably “Magic Lamp.” I really liked the movie Aladdin as a kid and I thought it would be hilarious to see how a marmot would react to a surprise wish-granting genie. “Do you Trust me?”
The most difficult piece was definitely “My Crab.” Even though a marmot holding a crab was my first idea for the show, it ended up being the very last one that I finished. I don’t know how to paint crabs!
ME: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
HS: I have no idea, I try to be an open book. If people ask me a question, I try my hardest to answer them honestly and directly.
ME: What is your art process? Take us on a journey from concept to final artwork.
HS: First, I start with an idea.
Then each piece starts as a cloudy mess and gets refined through each layer… Above is a good example of my process (from my Hollerbound show last year):
ME: Many of your marmots take on a personified appearance. Are you ever inspired by people you know when coming up with your characters?
HS: The emotions are more like generalizations. I first started painting marmots because the groundhogs on my family farm reminded me of all the petty and amusing ways people react to one another.
And, sometimes, they are a direct representation of my own experiences.
ME: What is your favorite:
HS: Color: Umber - I mix it into just about every other color that I use.
Animal: A Godzilla-sized groundhog
Season: Fall. It’s the most comfortable of all seasons.
Movie: Macgruber. Will Forte is one of my very favorite comedians and actors out there… If there were ever a movie or short that had my marmots in it, I imagine they would sound like WIll Forte.
Book: I don’t have a favorite. Like movies, this changes so very often, but sadly, I don’t read nearly as many books as I watch movies.
Painting: It’s a series of paintings: The Voyage of Life by Thomas Cole. I saw the 4-panel series at the National Gallery in Washington, DC and was blown away.