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Marc Gabor | An Interview

With the release of new photographs, LA based Marc Gabor sat down with Tappan to discuss his own work as well as discuss the role of art in the world. We loved his honesty and unique perspective in answering our questions and know you will too.

Read our interview with Marc and explore his newest photographs below.


Do you have a particular philosophy on life?

Hold on tightly, let go lightly. 


What is the primary question art is addressing today? What questions do you address?

I don't think there is any one question that art is addressing today. It really depends on the artist and the institutions supporting artists. Social issues, amplified by a 24 hr news cycle and digital media outlets like Twitter and Facebook have made politics an inescapable topic for artists and pop culture. To not make a statement is a statement. Even if the art is not making an outright political statement it’s increasingly difficult to separate the viewers feelings about authoritarianism, technology,  sexuality, environment,  inequality, prejudice, and privacy from how we view most important pieces of art. 

Personally, I don’t think that I actively seek to address any of these issues while making my art. I’m strictly interested in form and spacial relations at the moment. That said I’d like to create more work that has a stronger conceptual foundation; one that is rooted in my own perspective on life and the workings of the world. 

Other than the genre you work in, what other types of art do you most enjoy?

Above everything else, music. Classical music has really been blowing me away lately. My father had an incredible collection of classical music which played throughout my childhood. A lot of that collection was on vinyl and I’ve been going through all his old  records. I just love how intangible it is. Why do certain keys sound powerful or unsettling? What is it about certain singers voices that just reach right in to your soul? Music lives outside of a visual context, outside of words. In that way I think there is a purity there. It’s eternal. You close your eyes and you can forget where you are. You lose yourself in music.

Also in the last year I’ve gotten really into Diego Rivera's murals. The scale that he works on is mind-blowing. I went to a museum dedicated to him in Mexico City, and at first I was a little disappointed at how little work was in the museum. However after I spent time taking in each mural, I realized it was the equivalent of how much time I would have spent walking through a typical exhibition.


What artist has given you the best advice? What was it?

“Step back” – When I was in school I was told over and over by more than one professor to step back. This advice has really stuck with me, especially because there are times when I do feel like I need to get closer, but when I do so now it feels more deliberate.  

How do you move past a creative block when you run out of ideas?

Whatever it takes to find a new way to look at the problem at hand. 


How has your art changed from when you first started creating?

I think I’ve developed a greater ability to find balance within a frame. I’ve become a lot better at editing my own work. Also, I used to struggle with photographing in color. Now I rarely shoot in B&W.


An art collection celebrates the social & political world a collector wants to inhabit. Do you personally collect, and if so what and why?

I've been building a collection of paintings and prints, as well as rugs and classical vinyl. I feel like I can move my collection into any space and feel right at home. I just look for things that catch my eye. Pieces that feel timeless.

Are there one or two books that have had a dramatic impact on your thinking?

I can’t really think of any books that changed my path, but there are two books that have continued to resonate with me. Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis and The Cossaks by Leo Tolstoy. Both novels follow cosmopolitan main characters who look for truth by traveling to an exotic location to experience a more visceral way of life. Despite their abilities to find friendship, brotherhood, love, and adventure they are never able to transition from outsider to local. 

I like stories that are fated to return home. Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac is all about finding zen in all these different places - friends, drink, the high sierra, poetry, but finally the protagonist finds it in the woods behind his childhood home. I love that.


Do you remember the first piece you created which you felt was a "work of art," and what was it?

I'm not sure that I'm there yet to be honest. I've made a few small scale paintings that I'm pretty happy with, but I haven't shown them to anyone. I'm pretty hard on myself.  

Who are some of the artists working today that you look to for inspiration or admire?

 Mark Bradford. He has a piece hanging over the TSA screening area of the international departures terminal at LAX. I really like Mark’s approach to art and his use of non-precious materials. I travel a lot and so I get to revisit this piece somewhat regularly. It’s so interesting to see how other people in line react to it or ignore it. Airports are usually pretty nondescript and unoffensive, so the fact that this huge piece is hanging there is a testament to how much support there is for challenging contemporary art. 


 Explore Marc's Collection