The latest artist showcase comes from Gail Prussky, whose drawings and paintings keep her sane. Gail has answered a few questions about her life and work as an artist ahead of the release of her new book, ‘Broken Balloons.’
When did your interest in art/creating begin?
When I flew out of the womb. I’ve been drawing since I was a little girl. Drawing kept me sane when my parents were THIS close to killing each other. Calmed me when I felt angry, scared or lonely. Kept my brain from exploding when I felt like a hostage in stuffy classrooms. As an adult, my art (especially my drawing) continues to be my therapy. Helps me get the demons out. Keeps me from being a serial killer.
What is the starting point for each piece?
When I’m drawing or painting, I just begin. I never have a plan, I don’t create from a photograph or follow a drawing. I simply let the pen/brush go where it wants to go. My brain isn’t in the room with me when I make art. It comes from a place inside me that has no language, which makes it so difficult to speak about a finished piece.
Who or what influences your work?
Well, obviously all the artists I’ve loved over the years….Picasso, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, and, of course, Basquiat. And the illustrators-Edward Gorey, Ralph Steadman, Gahan Wilson. These are the artists who’ve influenced me. I was an addiction therapist for ten years, listened to incredibly powerful stories from my addict clients. These stories have a huge influence on my art these days. But mostly, I think, I’m influenced by my own emotions. What I paint or draw is directly related to how I’m feeling that day, and what I’m reacting to. I make GREAT art when I’m angry. And it’s far better than stuffing my face with cheesecake. I think.
What do you hope the viewer gets from your art?
I want my work to resonate emotionally with the viewer. I don’t care if they’re disgusted, angry, happy, or sad. As long as they feel SOMETHING.
What do you think about the term “Outsider Art”?
It’s a very general and vague term. It USED to mean (to me, anyway) art that was created by marginalized people. But that’s not what it means to me anymore. Now (for ME, again) it refers to art created by someone who FEELS marginalized. Isolated. It means creating art that has no rules and no pressures to conform to anything at all. Unique. Dis-connected from the “art world.” Outside the box.
What are you working on at the moment?
Well, I’m ALWAYS drawing. It’s obsessive. Compulsive. Keeps me sane. Painting, though, is more like work to me. I’m currently working on a huge canvas (with acrylics) and I have NO idea where it’s going to go. As usual, I’m not driving the bus, the damn thing will go wherever it wants to go…