Architerior spoke to Eileen Noonan, a San Francisco based artist. We talked about important art life moments, upcoming goals and why being an artist is both mentally straining and rewarding.
Eileen, tell us a bit about where are you from?
I was born and raised in the San Francisico Bay Area of California, USA were I still live today.
How did your art career start?
I started painting full time about a year ago. I don’t know that it was a career choice as much as a life line. Circumstances of life were such that I needed to process my emotions and painting became my outlet. Some emotions can feel overwhelming but when expressed through painting they can be released and transformed into something healing for all.
I have never studied art or painting. I had this idea that if I learned techniques that it would somehow inhibit my flow. The discovery is what I enjoy. I also attempt to turn to my right brain while painting. I felt that if I was trained, that the process would be so left brained that I would not be able to find my way out. I don’t know if there is any science to my thoughts, nor am I advising this approach, it is just how I decided to proceed. Also, I really can’t say I am self taught because every day I absorb so much from all the other artists I observe. It is impossible not to be influenced by what you see and absorb each day. I am inspired daily by all brilliant artists that share their work and processes on Instagram. It’s like visiting studios and galleries all over the world daily.
During your learning, what materials, forms and colours have gotten your liking? Do you have preferences?
I am a multi media artist using mostly acrylic paint, oil sticks and pastel. I paint on canvas and paper. It is hard for me to nail down what is my style, I am constantly experimenting. I am endlessly curious about the nature of all forms of paint delivery. Each new tool, be it an expensive paint brush or an piece of nature collected on a hike, has it own unique nature it brings to the process. What I am attempting, while creating, is to express energy. Whether it is through a broad energetic stroke, the vibrancy or muted nature of a color or even the support of water as a conduit, energy is what I attempt to capture or rather set free in my work.
Without a doubt the hardest part is getting a mental break. I can become consumed with whatever piece I am working on. Each piece is a flow of energy so this flow does not stop until the painting is finished. I have such a hard time breaking away and find myself still working on the painting in my dreams as I sleep.
What’s the best thing about being an artist?
It is exciting. I never know what painting is going to come forward next. I love the creative process, every step is a surprise. I love how just when you think you have ruined a painting you are actually being set free of what you thought it should be. Here my strokes become wild and free and the painting becomes something so much more than what I could have attempted consciously.
Can you mention a few exhibitions or moments in your art career that have been extra important to you?
One moment stands out more than anything; seeing a Van Gogh painting live for the first time. I could go on and on about how much I adore his work.
What are you working on right now?
At this moment I am working on going back over the pieces I have created in the last three months, doing touch ups and sealing so I can let them go. What is in my mind, is experimenting with incorporating four of my favorite tools into single pieces. Usually, when I paint, I use one type of tool for the whole painting. I want to see what I can create by working interactively with my four favorites. There is another toll I think I might be adding to the mix as well.
What does “good art” mean to you?
A work from the deepest most honest place inside of the artist.
So what inspires you to create? Where do you get all your ideas and energy?
I am inspired by an insatiable curiosity. I want to see what is just behind the curtain, waiting to be revealed. The energy comes from the process. Once I decide on a color and a tool, the first throw then leads to the next and the next. It takes on a life of its own.
If you could exhibit your art anywhere, where would it be?
I love experience at all levels and meeting a variety of people. I have just as much desire to peddle my art on the street corner as I do to have a grand show in an amazing gallery. I want to do it all.
In your home, do you have your own art or works by others artists on the walls?
I don’t have much storage space so our home has become a bit of an art gallery for myself and my partner, who is also an artist.
How does one manage to stay unique in the art world, and is that important?
Do “you”. There is only one you. No one has your unique voice, vision and perspective. It is not important for the art world but it is important for each of us to find and share ourselves with this world. Every perspective needs to be seen and heard. If they don’t get it, no worries, you just might be a head of your time.