0:01 Renowned American artist Eric Fischl was in Ottawa September 8-11, 2015,
0:07 as the third speaker in the Contemporary Conversations speaker series.
0:12 The series, hosted by Ambassador Bruce Heyman and Mrs. Vicky Heyman,
0:16 connects Canadians to American artists through public, moderated discussions,
0:20 and is made possible through partnerships with the
0:23 U.S. Department of State’s Art in Embassies Program, the National Gallery of Canada,
0:28 and the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa.
0:32 Welcome. Glad to have you.
0:34 Thank you Bruce, good to be here.
0:35 Good to see you. So how did art ever begin in your life? What was it?
0:42 Did you parents have an influence, or, what was it, at the very beginning?
0:47 I actually came to art late.
0:50 It was not a part of our lives, it was something that I didn’t do as a kid,
0:57 I wasn’t sort of, off drawing all of the time
0:59 or anything like that I was more doing sports in high school,
1:06 girls and sports and other things.
1:09 I flunked out of college, took some time off, and then I went back to school
1:16 at a junior college in Phoenix, Phoenix Community College,
1:21 and I took art classes because I figured nobody fails art right?
1:26 So, if you are bad you get a C and so I took art classes,
1:33 very naïvely and found immediately a connection to it and what,
1:41 part of that was two things I hadn’t expected.
1:45 One, was that it was the first time in my life I could concentrate,
1:49 and the second was it was the first time in my life I wasn’t afraid of being alone.
1:54 And those two things made me feel like even if I am lousy I am going to do this the rest of my life.
2:01 And so here you are in Canada.
2:04 How was that transformative for you in your world and how did it impact your art?
2:12 I can’t say enough about how important Canada, the experience there was for me.
2:17 I was a young artist struggling to find my voice which took me three years here
2:25 to kind of go through a lot of changes and exposures
2:31 and things like that to begin to see who I am as an artist.
2:37 So it was very important from that point of view.
2:41 So tell me a little bit about your approach and how you think about the art
2:47 that you are creating and that you created throughout this cycle.
2:51 I think about it in terms of creating experience which is meaningful, and, I,
2:56 as a painter and a sculptor I use those because I am so connected to it, as ways of organizing stimulation.
3:06 It is how I can tell myself what I have experienced in either the moment or in the course of my life
3:19 and I don’t predetermine what the work is, it is more like each work is a kind of a journey
3:26 that I move through to get to a kind of clarity.
3:32 And it comes from the process of association, this image, this person, this situation,
3:41 moving it around until it forms a kind of cohesive moment
3:49 that is full of meaning, pregnant with meaning, I think.