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Artist Profile Series: Randall Valleux

Artist Profile Series: Randall Valleux image
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gïïï ETTryTÍTi Fl Artist Randall Veilleux is a gradúate student in the ceramics program at the UniversityofMichigan. In 1995, Veilleux was in an accident in which he was paralyzed. Since then he has retumed to artistic production and had his first solo exhibit in April, 1998. His work, which emits a strong intensity and a rare artistic visión, can be seen at the Zoom Gallery in September. He lives and colla borates with his wife Bethany, inAnnArtior. Lou Hillman: Jacques Karamanoukian and I were both very impressed byyour April show. The two big paintings, two large charcoals, four ceramic sculptures, some smaller pieces and then four,small,black-and-whitecardthings that I really liked. Randall Veilleux: They were actually small computer drawings. What l've been doing with the computer drawings is transferring them to slide film, makingaphotog raph of them. My computer doesn't have enough memory to make really large things on it, so l've found thafs the best way to either expand or contract things. Hillman: They were excellent. Veilleux: Yeah, they've been wortdng out real well. That was really the first try at getting back into art after the accident. Before, I wanted to stay as far away f ram the computer as possible. I never really trustedit.Computerart had this look - you could always teil it was computer art - these funky little special effects. But since I know almost nothing about the computer, I kind of fudged my way through it all. They carne out looking really raw and I stay away from using any of the special filters, which make it look like it carne from a computer. Hillman: One of the effects orfeelings I got from those and from some of the other ones was a sort of "electricity." There was something in the use of line that was electrical. Veilleux: Thafs a way with the computer. Usually, how I used to draw was l'd just draw the whole thing, l'd fill the page and erase it completely. l'd draw overthatand erase that completely and l'd keep looking for things in those separate drawings that might link up and make something else. Ifs one of the things I do - I try not to go into something with an idea, I never have something planned out or a subject matter. I don't want the work to come off as conceptual . I want to take a more fun approach. Hillman: So, I get the sense you work more from feeling, from a kind of "propulsión." Veilleux: It's a gut reaction to the lines inthe work. Sometimes l'll spinaline - and ttiaf s where the computer is just beautiful - when I get something to a point where l'm starting to like it and I throwa line in, and I lookatthat line and it's not ríght, and I can just tell it's not right, with one click it's wiped out. Sometimes l'll sit there and try 20 or 30 timestogettherightlinedownthere.So the end product can look like something that took two seconds to do but it really took three or four hours to get it correct. There's something there in that technology that just couldn't be done before. You can get something where you enjoy every line on the page rather than getting something you like, but you really didn't like that one line: It could be better. Hillman: ... and when you erase you never get rid of all of it? Veilleux: No. But lenjoyerasing.l enjoy that depth. That's a quality of my work that I still use and need. I rely on the ghost images of what was there before to give it a depth. But still there's that ability to try different things rather than trying something and being so permanently grounded there . . . Hillman: . . . that you either have to throw it away and start over . . . Veilleux: . . . or deal with it and try to make something out of it. And there's a time and a place for that. l've always believed you have to deal with certain things, you have to take chances. But they're different chances. A lot of my drawings are very sparse and maybe I draw justaslashfora mouth, or something like that. But there are different slashes and the first one may not always be right. JustthatlittJe bit of curve, stopped short or continued on can make a big difference in what you're doing, in the general feel of it. It becomes a gut reaction and you make choices throughout. Thafs the process, it's making those choices and deciding. It's never really something thafs planned, I think thafs important. And if s knowing when to stop. There are points when you keep going and just totally muck something up. You have to know when to say , "Okay that's it, thafs done." I used to look at a lot of those real minimal drawings and say,"Whaf s the poinf?" But l've started looking atguys like Richard Tuttle; I like his work a lot. Some of it just amazes me. A simple circle with lines drawn through it and all of them look correct, they all look like you couldn't have moved them where else to make it look as good as it is, to make it be finished. I really enjoy his work a lot. Hillman: But you're getting your degree in ceramics. How did you come to your love of clay? Veilleux: It's how I starled working in art; my high school teacher tumed me on to it. The first artists I started looking at were Robert Amesson and Stephen Destabler - clay artists - and that's what I wanted to do and who I wanted to emulate. I love the point of not knowing what's going to happen when it comes out of the kiln. There's tnat ingrediënt in clay that actually "does it itself ," rather than me trying to make it not-plannedornot-thought-outbefore. You put something into the kiln and who knows wtiaf s going to come out? So there's that magical quality of it leavingandbeingoutofyourhandsand the coming back. A lot of the time you hate it and sometimes you just can't believe the magical things that happen, which a lot of times are impossible to recréate. ■


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