In the Studio with Linda Sue Price
by Kristine Schomaker
What does a day in your art practice look like?
If I’m in the studio facing no deadline, I practice tube bending with the intention of developing my skill level and exploring the possibilities of how I can bend a tube. Tube bending is a learned skill that requires learning many nuances—is the glass hot enough? is it evenly heated? is enough glass heated to make the bend? After the glass is heated, you have about five seconds to bend it before it cools down too much to move any further. Room temperature affects the process as well. It’s harder to heat the glass in cold weather or with an air conditioner blowing.
If I’m in the studio facing a deadline, my first step is to review my inventory of already bent tubes to determine if there is inventory I want to use in a piece or as a model/inspiration for bending new tubes in different colors. Generally, I have an idea of where I want to go and am looking for shapes that speak to that. Then I figure out how I’m going to put them together and what my background is going to be. I try to work on two or three pieces at a time so that when I’m waiting for something to dry on one piece, I can work on a different piece. It seems at times like the work will never get done and then one day everything is complete.
What is your medium of choice? Why?
I’ve always loved the glow of neon. Then in 2005, I took a neon class from the Museum of Neon Art. I was hooked. I had two years of art school and then worked in video production for many years. I learned After Effects and created motion graphics for show titles. There is a connection between neon and video/motion graphics. Both have limited color palettes, animate and have similar methods in assembly because of the wiring involved. I learned how to read schematics to hook up video systems and that carried over to reading schematics in order to wire the neon pieces. Both also often require making adjustments to balance light levels and both are enhanced by the use of texture.
Why is art important to you?
Making art and looking at art is energizing. I love the passion of contemporary artists, what they create, the media they explore and the techniques they develop. I enjoy the process of communicating and exploring ways to do that. I like learning about the motivations of other artists and how they express it. It is invigorating.
What influences your work?
Everything. I read, listen and feel the world around me. My current motivation is to “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” inspired by a quote from Anne Herbert in her essay Handy Tips on how to behave at the death of the World. Whole Earth Review, 1995. Republished Sun Magazine, March 2019.
What is the most challenging part about being an artist?
Staying focused. Giving myself the time to explore and not just chase deadlines. Maintaining a balanced life.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be fearless and don’t be sensitive to not getting into a juried show. Early on I did a very political piece for a juried political show. I wasn’t accepted but my art friends were. I was super disappointed. I was really proud of the piece. It was raw and to the point but before it’s time. A lot of my early work was like that and then twenty years later people started responding to the work.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
I listen to and read about other artists from a wide variety of fields including comedy, theater, musicians, authors, painters, photographers, etc. The CBC—Canada’s version of NPR—is a primary resource, as is NPR’s Fresh Air and the Art and Cake blog. I’ve discovered that creatives are passionate people. That is really inspiring and motivating.
What’s next for you in the future?
I want to try and incorporate more technology into my art. I want to mix video and neon which will be challenging because of the light levels.