A conversation between Stephanie Krimmel and Lynda Harwood-Swenson on the topic of Krimmel’s current show Three Years Plus
LHS: I’m so interested in what your ritual of making is, are you working every morning at a certain time, or is there some other impetus that drives you daily?
SK: The ritual has changed over time. When I started three years ago, it was a mid-day activity. It’s gradually moved later and later and is now generally something I do in the evenings. The process of making art is a release for me, a time when I can focus on doing something in the moment.
LHS: I think we all would benefit from a daily ritual that grants us some creative fuel. What are you finding are the benefits of this daily ritual in your life?
SK: The benefits have been huge for me. The ritual started as part of creative recovery process for me, and I realized right away that it was feeding needs I had for play, experimentation, and tangibly seeing progress. That said, it’s not a linear progression – I don’t always like a new day’s piece better than the previous one – and the benefit of the ritual here is that it keeps me going through the periods when I feel less inspired.
LHS: The visual impact of the 4 x4 cards is really beautiful and intriguing. In deciding on the installation of your show at Shift did you consider printing out some of the work as larger format prints?
SK: That’s a great question! I have shown my work in larger formats, printed up to 24×24” and projected up to 60×60”. One thing I’ve realized recently is that there’s a lot of impact in showing the entire series as one whole integrated piece… and of course that limits the size due to space constraints, especially when there are almost 1200 images to show.
LHS: I noticed that when I really look at the installation, I try to find patterns and connections between pieces. Is this part of your intention for the viewer?
SK: That’s definitely one of the intentions. For this installation, I organized the work by color, and I was struck by pieces with extremely similar color schemes that were made several years apart. I guess I have special love for certain colors! Also, because the series has been a continuum for several years, viewers might be able to find sequential works by looking for similarities in color or form.
LHS: Most, if not all, of the images in the show are abstract, can you talk a little about your ideas of abstraction?
SK: My art responds to my overall experience of a day… where I am, things I see and do, what I’m feeling. Abstraction allows me to create work that expresses experience freely. I work both intuitively and methodically, responding to each mark and color as it’s added, continually editing and redacting, often reducing my subjects to simpler forms and then using these forms as building blocks for more complexity. It feels like I’m constantly taking thing apart and putting them back together again!
LHS: Can you talk about digital art versus traditional art? Is digital art finding its way into fine art galleries and being recognized?
SK: I could talk about this for far too long! Digital art is a method for making art like painting, collage, ceramics, printmaking, etc. The techniques for all these methods differ due to differences in the media, and yet the overall creative process is quite similar. I often say my digital work reminds me of doing monotype prints because I work in continuum; it’s like never wiping the plate. The main difference between digital and traditional art is that there’s an extra step in producing digital art into an object that can be hung on a wall (or put on a pedestal, or worn, etc.). In this way, it’s a lot like photography… it can be reproduced in various sizes and formats, and there’s no physical degradation as the work gets reproduced. This makes the idea of an “original” somewhat irrelevant, which is counterintuitive in traditional art markets. Some digital artists edition and certify their work in keeping with established practices in printmaking and fine art photography. Others are exploring NFTs as an option for owning original digital artwork, and some galleries are entering this realm as well. Overall, the medium of digital art creates lots of new possibilities for how people can interact with, buy and sell fine art. It’s ripe for innovation and experimentation, and that’s exciting to me.