Catch up with Kopchak
Perry Kopchak and I met in art school and we were roommates for awhile. I reminisced about those days on earlier posts: here and here . Perry and Scott were in the band Redness. We both took classes with Julian Stanczak and Edwin Mieczkowski and, largely under the latter's influence, but also inspired by the work of our classmate Don Doe, we got involved with making constructions. Perry went to Tyler for graduate school and then surprised his friends by moving to Washington state on a spiritual quest of some kind. He still lives there, making art. In the past year or so his work revisited ideas and forms from back in the day and then moved forward to new ideas. He has a show opening this weekend in Cleveland, Ohio at the Bruno Casiano Gallery: http://www.brunocasiano.com Although he was very busy getting his show together Perry sent jpgs of a few of the pieces in the show so we could attempt a conversation about what he is doing.
PK: GIZCON is 15" x 14" x 2-1/2". It is acrylic on wood, it was built and painted in 2005. I repainted it this year.
LS: I picked this one to start with because I wanted to ask about the influence of Ed Mieczkowski and this one reminds me of his work, while the others don't. Do you know what I mean?
PK: Of course I do. I saw Barbara and Julian yesterday for a couple of hours and showed them pics. Barbara mentioned the same thing.
LS: That would be Barbara and Julian Stanczak. We both had Julian Stanczak and Mieczkowski as teachers at the Cleveland Institute of Art. I think Barbara started teaching a Foundation class there in my last year, so I never had her for a teacher. Could you say something about Ed M? What is it about GIZCON that makes us think of him? What do you recall about his process that you took up in your own way of working?
PK: Ed was a strange one to me in the beginning. The first class I had with him was Creative Drawing in my third year. He was on sabbatical my first year and Julian took over his Dimensional Drawing class. He seemed a bit of a rebel with a message. I remember making a wire chair for his class and drawing the shadows it cast. He was doing constructions at the time (grey, black, and white as I remember). My chair shadow drawings evolved into cardboard constructions. I also collected wood from garbage day and assembled painted constructions. I eventually became his studio assistant and drawing assistant. My time with him in his studio impacted me. It was a great experience. GIZCON is very reminiscent of some of Ed's earlier constructions. Those that are familiar with his work often see the influence. All those days and (late) nights working in his studio, the ongoing conversations, and the importance that he stressed on developing ideas are still with me. His process......I remember the brush and ink drawings he had in his studio, a working of ideas. Keeping the work flowing. I work on many things at once. They feed one another. In many ways I have a similar process as Ed.
LS: I don't know who took this picture and don't remember how I gained possession of it ("provenance" could be the word I'm looking for). Can you identify this construction?
PK: This construction is part of my domain.
PK: I built it (with a little help from my friends). I still live there. The house now has an addition in the back which is my kitchen. I had a horse back in the day. I live in a very mixed community. The 'local' art scene is Olympia and Seattle. I love Olympia, it is Bohemian and reminds me of Coventry and art school days. I'm an outsider in a way. I'm quite private, though many people know me as 'that artist guy'. I have a few artist friends, one in particular that I get together with and build funky furniture with. I do wish for a bigger community of artists to hang out with. Social media such as Facebook has been great. I've connected with many people whose work I respect and there has been some great dialogues as well as two collaborations which will be taking place soon that I am very exited about. Living in the boondocks (or as I say: 'livin' in the woods') has been very isolating up until about a year ago when I started connecting on Facebook and meeting new artists. I avoided 'the modern world' for a long time. Now connecting in this manner is very useful and inspiring. I moved west in 1988. I was living in Philly and my next move was New York. I had a dream to get together with my school chums in New York and rent some old warehouse space to do the Abstract Expressionist thing of the fifties. I realized I really couldn't live in New York. I grew up always playing in the woods. I wanted open space and the open mindedness of the west. I refer to my move as a spiritual journey. I didn't know anyone in Washington State. I packed up my pick up truck and drove to an unknown adventure in my life. I do wonder at times what life would have been had I moved to New York. For better or worse I live where I live. I do love my five acres and the trees and critters. No matter where I go I am always here.
LS: When did you make TAUPIN? Are the shapes as you found them, or did you cut them?
PK: That's a very recent piece, perhaps within the last two months. I cut the shapes for this one.
LS:What material is PATHWAY? What tool did you use to make the path, a fork?
PK:The piece you refer to is called PHENS. It is part of my 'pathway' series. This particular piece consists of incised sheet rock mud on panel. I made my own customized tools for this series, though I have used forks.
LS: Two paintings. One is called Punk and the other is labelled scan0198. What are their dimensions? Are they on canvas board?
PK: The one you refer to as scan0 198 is called PERPETRA. PUNK and PERPETRA are 8" x 10", acrylic on stretched canvas.
LS: And two that look like corrugated cardboard with masking tape?
PK: What are you asking?
LS: I'm not sure. Do they have titles? I like these. They appear to be about 8"X8"
PK: The one with the yellow stripe is called BUBBLEJUMP. The other piece is SYNSY. They are 7-1/2" x 7-3/4". They hark back to my cardboard pieces at CIA. The images look flat, although they actually fold out on the left about 1/4". I scanned those pieces. While taping off some of my canvases I decided to save the tape. Recycle once again. I live in a very green area. Off the grid. I've a great respect for Nature.
Thank you, Mr. Kopchak. I'm looking forward to your other projects and seeing where your pathways lead. Meanwhile, if you meet the Buddha on the road, tell him I said, "Hey."