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The Art Tools of David Bailin

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The Art Tools of David Bailin

Selection from Interview
picking up Charcoal
Qn: Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
I am a full-time artist who teaches drawing part-time at two regional institutions: The University of Central Arkansas, Conway, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

I moved to NYC in the late 70s as a painter but moved into performance and theater to explore narrative. I was engaged in the downtown avant-garde of Richard Foreman (theater), Stuart Sherman (performance), Robert Ashley (music). The power of a single actor on a stage was inspirational and after leaving theater for more hermetic pursuits I began to compose my paintings and drawings as I did my directing: finding pieces of business within environments.


The Arkansas Arts Center, where I worked as its museum school director, has a world class collection of drawings by artists spanning centuries and from all parts of the world. That collection (especially it’s Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Matisse, Mondrian, Morandi, and others) convinced me that drawing was as powerful a medium as any painting, sculpture, play or piece of music. I put down my paints and my writing and began to draw almost exclusively.
Qn: How would you advise someone who has accidentally smudged his/her favorite charcoal sketch? (Can anything be done to 'save' his/her sketch?)
‘Save’ a drawing? That smudge is an opportunity to push your technique and to find some new approach. Working through accidents, wiping out weak areas, revising completed images is what I do all day. My art is the result of working through individual disasters. If there is no blow back from working the drawing, then how can I expect my viewers to find anything of value or take the time to look at it?. If things come too easily and my studio time goes by without notice, then all I’ve done is dream – create imagery passively. I call that the zone. I avoid that mental state at all costs. Drawing is my way of living through the day. I need to be conscious of it, fight the boredom, solve the problem, find the hook, the reason for the drawing.

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