Thinkspace Projects is pleased to present Molly Gruninger first solo exhibition in the Thinkspace project room, Luminescent. The exhibition features new pieces of her hyper-realistic oil paintings, a commentary on the way we adorn ourselves to express our identity. In anticipation of the exhibition opening, Saturday, February 3rd, our interview with Molly Gruninger introduces us to this new artists and provides insight into her creative process and evolution.
Opening reception, Saturday, February 3rd from 6 pm to 9 pm.
SH: Can you tell us a little about your background? Where are you from? Studied art? Favorite food?
MG: I’m originally from Indiana where I studied art at Ball State University. I initially wanted to be an art teacher, but after realizing I have no patience for kids, went into graphic design. However, painting has always been my true love.
SH: What inspired this latest body of work?
MG: I’d say this series plays a bit more on the past, present and future of adornment.
SH: How did you come to develop this hyper-metallic futuristic style? What is your creative process?
MG: Once I began studying design and learning about the marketing world, I became much more aware of the effect that visual advertising and the media has on our perceptions of beauty and identity. Themes relating to self and social image are now inspired by all walks of life, but that was where the idea stemmed.
SH: What is your favorite and least favorite part of the creative process? How long does it take to complete a piece?
MG: I take reference photos to use in the painting process, which is first staged using mannequins. I do some concept sketches and then construct my decorations, while keeping my composition in mind. Ideas come to me at random times, so I usually keep a list for anytime something pops in my head.
SH: What does a day in the studio look like? How do you structure your days?
MG: The beginning stage when I’m coming up with concepts and the project is still fresh and exciting is my favorite part. The worst part is the end when you’re trying to work through a lack of sleep when pressed for time.
Pieces usually take anywhere from 60-80 hrs.
A typical day varies, but I usually have to eat breakfast and wake up for about an hour before I can focus in, but once I get going, I’ll work for 10 hrs straight with the exception of little breaks here and there to step back and reassess my progress.
SH: We use our outer appearance as a form of expression, so how have you used makeup style, hair, clothing as a way to express yourself or shape a moment?
MG: My style pretty much says I’m lazy about style haha. For the most part, I strive for comfortable and casual. Even if I dress up, comfort is number one. I just use all my pent up style expression at Halloween, when I can become a peacock.
SH: If your artwork inspired a cocktail? What would be the name and recipe?
MG: Shiny Surprise: various liquor obscured by a cup wrapped in ribbons that you must drink through a straw. You don’t know what you’re gonna get!
SH: What were you listening to while developing this body of work? Does your background noise influence the mood of the pieces?
MG: I tend to listen to movies or podcasts. Sometimes high energy music like Daft Punk or Kraftwork, but I’m usually paying half attention to the things going on around me when I’m working. It might affect my mood slightly, but not so much the pieces.
SH: Which piece in this show was most challenging and why?
MG: Probably the one titled “Armored Guard”, where I used my fiancé as a model. Though he did great, people tend to be slightly more temperamental about the process than a mannequin.
SH: If you were to have a dinner party, which 5 people would you invite (dead or alive)? What would be on the menu? And what is the one question you’d ask from everyone?
MG: Jim Henson, Cloris Leachman, Alex Jordan (House On The Rock), Charles Darwin, Obama. I would ask everyone to give a detailed description of their most embarrassing moment.