Blake Haygood

Where are you from and where do you reside?
From Forsyth, GA and have lived in Seattle since 1992
What necessities do you require when making your art?
Golden acrylic paints and mediums, pencils (mechanical and otherwise), various paint brushes, sand paper, table saw, orbital sander, drill, air compressor, resin, lots of podcasts (WTF, many Slate iterations) and NPR, plus lots of music in from DJ Shadow to Vic Chesnutt and lots in between.
Describe a typical day in the studio for you.
It varies, which is good. Some days I am fabricating my wood panels or frames which means a lot of time in my woodshop with the table saw, router and sander. Other days it could be a full day of painting and drawing. Usually it’s a mix between the two.
Do you find yourself planning out a piece before you set to work, or do things fall into place during the drafting process?
The pre-planning I do is about sizes, otherwise I compose on the spot. I do a bit of adding, subtracting and recomposing before I start painting.
How do you incorporate chance in your creative process?
There is quite a bit of chance in the final finishing of my paintings which calls for manipulating a clear acrylic coating with water and gravity.
How important is spontaneity in your art?
I think it’s important to have boundaries in which spontaneity can occur, like set work hours.
So you’re saying you don’t find yourself pulled out of bed in the middle of the night with an idea?
I might have an idea in the wee hours, but I don’t get out of bed. It can wait till after coffee!
How do you choose your materials?
I worked in an art supply store for many years, so I was able to experiment quite a bit. I also query my artist friends about materials as well.
How has your work developed in the past few years, and how do you see it evolving in the future?
I have been able to combine my love of drawing, printmaking and painting into one. My use of color has become more proficient. I hope to add more complexity and nuance to my drawings and paintings.
What do you think is the biggest influence printmaking has had on your current work?
I think it has pushed me to manipulate paints and mediums to mimic the atmospheric effects you can achieve through intaglio processes like aquatints and spit bites.
Is there something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I play guitar in an amateur string band with my wife. We play community dances around Seattle.
Are you formally trained?
I am essentially self taught. I learned mostly from former studio mates and artists friends. I’ve take a few classes over the years, but primarily learn as I go.
Have you ever collaborated, or would you?
Seattle has a very supportive and friendly art community, so I’m able to gain inspiration from that. I prefer working alone in the studio.
When did you begin your current practice?
Around 1994/1995
Do you remember the first work of art that captured your attention?
Not really, but I do remember being fascinated with book covers and illustrations, especially pulp science fiction.
Is there a science fiction book you would want to illustrate the cover for now?
William Gibson’s book Neuromancer or Phillip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly.
Are you influenced by any author or non-visual artist?
I’m a big reader of nonfiction. A few of my favorites are John Crowley, Paul Auster, Annie Proulx, and Cormac McCarthy.
Do you see any of these authors contributing to your imagery, either deliberately or incidentally?
I think Paul Auster is a good example, he has a way of setting a mood or tone in a very minimalist way. I try to do the same.
What tangible objects or intangible moments are you most interested in representing through your works?
I try for a sense of mood or feeling not necessarily anything specific.
What are some themes you find recurring in your pieces, intentional or not?
Entropy, things falling apart, melancholy, humor.
I don’t see a lot of melancholy in your work - what do you mean?
I think it’s pretty subtle in my latest work. Things fall apart then perhaps recombine to form something new. Cycle of life, things eventually die then become part of new life. There is a certain sadness there.
How do the different elements come together in your works? Where do your compositions come from?
I first found inspiration by drawing old tools and machinery, now I depend on my imperfect memory.
Do you see your works as unique or as part of a series?
I think of it as a universe of which I depict small bits. I do work in series or groups, but have no compunction to show works in any kind of order.
Things fall apart then perhaps recombine to form something new. Cycle of life, things eventually die then become part of new life. There is a certain sadness there. — Blake Haygood
What’s one of your favorite objects you own?
My guitar which I try to play every day. I got it at a Seattle thrift store!
When you’re not in the studio, where do you go in Seattle?
I work three days a week at the Office of Arts & Culture as an assistant curator. I also take guitar lessons in Capitol Hill and play music with friends all over Seattle.
How would you describe your mindset while making your work?
I find I need to be loose and focused at the same time. Much of what I do is repetitive, so I try to find a zone where I can keep a good flow without being sloppy. Almost like meditation. Sometimes hard to get to and a great feeling when it does happen.
What’s next for you?
Completing a series of large paintings. Once those are done I’ll probably focus on more small work for a while.

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