Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Visit with Artist Coulter Prehm

Coulter Prehm is a fine painter and tattoo artist whom I interviewed here in early December 2010. In our last discussion he talked about his approach to painting and his influences.This is a follow up.

EN: What's new in your life since our interview 18 months back?
Coulter Prehm: Well, I think that a lot of things have been changing in the past year and a half. I’ve now settled into my new studio space in Santa Fe, NM.  It’s beautiful and is allowing me room to create a lot more works, some of which are larger than I have painted before.  I’m currently working on a 6' x 4f' landscape painting.  
In addition to the new studio space I have also started showing with a new gallery, Beals and Abbate on Canyon Rd here in Santa Fe.  They are really great and I will be having a solo show with them this coming fall, the weekend of Thanksgiving.  The show is called Of Love and you can see a promotional video for it on YouTube at this link or by typing in my name into YouTube.  The show will hopefully be a demonstration of what it is I care about and devote my time and energy to.

EN: Respond to a few statements for us...
a. Beauty is only skin deep.
CP: My initial response is that beauty is not only skin deep… I feel like it goes much, much deeper than that.  For me, when I look around at the world or the people surrounding me I am almost overwhelmed by how much beauty there is.  When I am painting a model, the superficial, skin deep, beauty is the least of my concerns.  I have a belief that governs my life that each person I encounter has been uniquely created and loved and while I’m painting them that is the thing I am looking to discover. I feel people are far more beautiful, on the surface and below, than is possible for me to ever really discover in this age.

b. Artists make art because _______. 
CP: Because…. We are made to be creative.  I believe that God is creative and that everyone he makes he designs to be a creative being.  Whether we make art or do math or are a stay at home mom.  A mom who works with her family at home is creative in that she has to find ways to manage her household interact with her family and maintain a life/ existence of her own. Not to mention if she cooks great meals…that’s artistic in itself!  I think it’s not too different for painters, sculptors or draftsman.  We all have a creative drive that needs to be sustained and nurtured and when it’s not I think we start to go a little crazy. And when we stop being creative we die…

c. Detail is the lifeblood of fiction.
Man… I don’t really know how to answer this. I think that whenever we create a fictitious experience through any of the arts, detail is important. When I say detail I am only referring to information that conveys a message and story.  In terms of painting, I suppose every image made is fiction. A painting is not a real thing other than a painting.  Even a painting of a field and mountains is obviously not a field and mountains. There has to be enough information in the work that the viewer can have an experience and an understanding of what is being conveyed.  I feel like this is an area I probably really struggle with.  I paint pretty straight forward portraits of people much of the time and I have don’t know if I do a good job of getting people to relate to them.  My goal with the paintings is to investigate the beauty that is in humanity and to meditate and make a statement about that. Even my portraits really aren’t about painting the specific person most of the time.

What kind of music do you listen to when you're painting?
CP: Classical if I have music on.  Most of the time though I really enjoy listening to audio books while I paint!  

EN: Why are artists and art an important part of our culture and communities?
CP: I think that art is a visible expression of the human spirit and that’s what makes it important. Realistically, paintings for paintings' sake aren’t really important I think… I believe it is all about the spirit of what creates the things that drives people to desire and care about them. Being an artist is a rare opportunity to share yourself with other people in ways that many never get the opportunity to do.  When a collector purchases a piece of art it is an awesome thing. You are obtaining a living artifact or piece of the artisan you collected from… anyone who owns a piece of original art work knows this. Yeah, I think this question again comes back to the creative spirit in people. I believe that is what makes art so important.

EN: If you weren't painting and doing skin art, what would you be doing today?
CP: Probably looking for opportunities to go to or live in impoverished places, helping out and loving people. Being there to be Jesus to those people… I really need to be doing more of this whether I am painting or not.

EN: Where can people see more of your work?
CP: People could check out my website at You can keep up with my upcoming shows there and could also visit Beals and Abbate Fine Art for more details. Again, I would like to encourage you to check out my video, it will give you a better idea of who I am and what my show will be about.  For purchase or commission information feel free to contact me directly via my website.

1 comment:

johnquixote said...

great thoughts from a great artist. keep up the good work!