When I was living in San Francisco, I had the good fortune of subletting an apartment below the lovely and talented Audra Knutson. We became great friends and I fell in love with her haunting and atmospheric paintings and works on paper. Audra was kind enough to answer some questions about her creative practice and to give us a glimpse into her world…
How did you become an artist, have you always been painting and drawing and making beautiful work?
Always drawing, but when I was small I thought writing would be my vocation.
My father is a carpenter so I was always instinctively drawn towards craft and working with my hands. I began carving and printing in Brooklyn and drawings informed the work.
Now in San Francisco, having only a tiny space has led me to paint on an easel and I have found myself more fasciated with light and colour.
What are the themes in your work and what sort of thing inspires it?
Water, light through tree leaves, sea-sculpted rocks and sticks, flowers.
Maps and myth and meaning carved into shapes. Sentimentality, an attempt at pure emotion.
What mediums do you work in and do you have a particular favourite?
Egg tempera on paper (cracked egg, raw pigment, a roll of Rives Moulin du Gue,)
ink in Crown Point Press sketchbooks, photographs with my obsolete camera.
You grew up in Colorado and now live in San Francisco, how do these environments inform your work?
Immersion in quiet, near trees and water.
A sense of light, how clouds form, how sky’s expanse resonates, how rivers flow and waves crash.
Which artists past and present do you most admire?
Agnes Martin, Robert Ryman, Vija Celmins, Michelle Cooke, McIntyre Parker, My father.
Which of your paintings means the most to you and why?
The one I am working on.
Living in it, seeing what is new to discover.
How shapes change, the unknowingness of it all.
Have you listened to any good music, read any good books lately?
Listening: Wymond Miles - Earth Has Doors and Under the Pale Moon
Reading: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and Agnes Martin published by Dia Art Foundation.
Describe an ideal day in the life of Audra Knutson.
Coffee, dates & nectarines, painting, bicycling to the farmer’s market.
Reading, looking at beautiful things, bicycling through the park, to the beach.
Cooking dinner with my sweetheart – greens, eggs, tomatoes, a nice bottle of French wine.
Thank you Audra!