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Owen Schmit | Studio Visit

March 2014

Why do you create?

I think it comes from a need, as opposed to a want. Sometimes I don’t want to create but I always need to.

What is something people would be surprised to discover about you?

I’m ambidextrous

Which is your favorite quote?

"Make whatever you want.” This is something someone said to me in graduate school, and although it seems like an incredibly basic concept, sometimes it can be easy to forget.

When do you make your best work?

When I have an appreciation of the time I have to work on things. Or whenever I have a deadline.

What is your favorite color?

Purple and black, it’s a tie.

What is your favorite instrument?

The pedal steel.

What is your happy place?

Sitting in front of Rothko paintings.

What do you love most about being on the road?

The energy that comes from gaining new perspectives and coming back to work with fresh eyes.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Coffee and my dog

What puts you to sleep at night?

Hard work and meditation.

Who are some of favorite artists?

Mary Weatherford, Werner Herzog, Morris Louis

Describe your creative process in a few words.

I usually start by collecting piles and piles of images from magazines and make tons of small paintings on paper, to start establishing tone and color palette. These new paintings on silk are created through a labor-intensive process of dye evaporation, washing and painting. I initially paint into black silk with a chemical dye discharge. Once the discharge has set, the dye is evaporated from the silk in the areas painted with the discharge using high heat and steam to produce an image. After carefully hand washing the painting, the process is repeated up to four times. Finally, I paint into the images created through the multiple evaporations, using flashe, acrylic, ink, or other dyes.

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