John Reda Art

Thesis Blog

Photos from an Insider

While doing some research about other photographers who’ve explored funeral homes with a camera, I cam across this New York Times article about an artist who grew up in a long line of morticians. In fact, he was the only one in his family who choose not to go into the family business. I found it interesting though that he authored a photoessay about his family’s home as a student of photography in Minnesota. It was interesting to see photos from someone who has an entirely different view of what a funeral home is.


A Short Conversation About Art

As I walked and talked with Marta Buda, who became the first person I ever had an in depth conversation with¬†about painting since I became a student at Mason Gross, one of the most important things was said before we sat down and began the “true” interview process. We began the way (I think) this was supposed to. Awkwardly mumbling through the “Where are you from?”, “What’s your concentration?”, and when all of those questions were answered and I timidly admitted for the first time out loud that I had spent the whole summer separated from art, Marta said something to me that we all must feel as artists at one point or another (I sincerely hoped it wasn’t just me) : “Sometimes you just need to be away from it for a while and not think about it at all.” That made me feel better about opening up and saying that, because I was fearful that I chose the wrong time to distance myself from both making and thinking about art; but maybe there isn’t really ever a wrong time.

We soon got to talking about our work and the direction we’d like to head in making art in the near future, and I became very interested in seeing Marta’s work. She described her paintings as “fun and lighthearted” and explained that she enjoys poking fun at her environment and society. She talked about how she tends to draw on personal experiences when deciding on what to paint, which I thought would make it easy to poke fun at her environment, considering her current location. That aspect is what intrigued me most. With little knowledge of the painting side of the art world, I began to grow curious about how to make a painting that could achieve something that I had only ever done in my head (or quietly in the car to my girlfriend). She then described her process and spoke a little about her style. Explaining that she enjoyed playing with all of these ideas along with experimenting with different materials made me more interested. She explained that she played with materials to “see how it changes the paintings and changes their presence in the room.” Marta also spoke about her use of the text “la la la” that is frequently incorporated into her work. What began as just a one time use of text in a painting soon became a sort of signature for her. Using the words mostly to maintain the lighthearted aspect in her works (as though someone were happily singing “la la la”), she said that wasn’t the only purpose that it served.

As our conversation came to an end, I realized that the conversation we just had was extremely important. Having entered the interview fearful that my separation from the world of art came far too close to my most important year of school, our interview got me thinking about art again. Not just my art, but a style of art that until now remained a bit of a mystery to me (admittedly, not one I was seeking a solution for). But now my mind is making its way back on track, and I was able to have a conversation with a painter, about painting, and I couldn’t believe I had waited until I was forced into it for it to happen.¬†