Friday, March 27, 2009

5 Questions with David Kramer

On an average day, the established art world barely speaks to anything that even remotely represents life outside it's four sterile white walls. Where are the self-questioning moments? Where are the drunken regrets, the unfulfilled dreams? Where is the real life, the truth?

David Kramer's work is about real life, the good and the bad. So far, things haven't turned out how you expected or dreamed they would be, and they most likely won't...but they could. To quote the text from one of his paintings in which a silhouetted, nostalgic 1970's couple frolic across a romantic beach at sunset, "One of these days I am finally going to get to ride off into the sunset...And not have to wake up the next morning feeling hungover and like I am already late for work."

1. Was there been a defining moment in your life that led you to pursue art as a career? Was it a choice or was it inevitably unavoidable?

Well, that was a long time ago...When I was in school, I took lots of art classes but sort of kept on changing my major all planning on eventually going to law school. My dad was a lawyer; it seemed like what I would do too.

I was taking accounting and calculus and studying business and economics, doing terribly in school. I remember working my ass off and still getting shitty grades. One day I had this confrontation with my accounting professor and told her that my grade did not reflect how hard I was working. She told me that there were always a certain number of A's, B's and C's etc every semester and that the grades were divided up on a curve and I got a D and that was that.

I decided that I needed to be in a career where things were more subjective.

Of course looking back, I should have realized that art really isn't all that subjective after all. And if I couldn't talk my way out of getting a D back then in school, I certainly was going to have an uphill battle as an artist. But I don't regret my decision.

2. Being a born and raised New Yorker, what are the best and worst changes that you have seen come about in the city during your lifetime? How has being a native affected your perspective on the local art world?

Sometimes I feel very provincial having lived here my whole life.

New York was a totally great place back in the nineties. Real estate wasn't that expensive. The art galleries and art world was so much smaller and people took huge risks and expected rewards that didn't involve money.

The last bunch of years have been exciting but kind of one sided revolving around money and the monied. I am anxious to see how the next few years go.

I have been working in Brooklyn since the late 1980's. I always got a kick out of the Brooklyn art scene as I grew up as a child of Brooklyn raised parents who tried like hell to leave Brooklyn in the rear view mirror. Brooklyn always has been something interesting to me because of my background. Brooklyn was the destination of failure. When I got an MFA I went to Pratt and my folks were like, "We've worked our asses off just to get the fuck out of that place!"

3. Your exhibitions combine multi-media installations, theatrical lighting, and drawings and painting on paper and canvas, which heavily use both hand written as well as type written text. Do your initial concepts have their start in one more so than the others? Also, do you find a favorite amongst them all as of lately?

I tend to start out by writing and telling stories. Everything else falls into place.

4. Being an artist who heavily uses text in their work, how has maintaining your personal blog, toothless-alcoholic, affected your use of words and expressing your personal thoughts? Also, what are your thoughts on the importance of an online persona as a creative person?

Recently I've been meaning to get back to blogging. I've been kind of burnt out or just plain too busy. The writing on the blog helps inform the writing in the studio (or visa versa) and I am going to get back to blogging very soon. I've been busy this month but things are slowing down.

5. Is there any advice that you could give young/emerging artists who still have not made a breakthrough, as far as getting into respected galleries, receiving proper recognition and having their work be more than just something they do late at night, in between working a full-time job and trying to maintain a personal life; what some would call a hobby?

If you really have the burn and desire to be an artist, keep going.

My advice about getting the work out there is to read that book: THE RULES about dating The art world seems to work something like that.

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