This is the eighth in a series of interviews with each of the Sondheim Award Semifinalists. Finalists will be announced in mid-April, and will be on exhibit at the Walters Art Museum June 21 to August 17; those not selected as finalists with be exhibited at the Decker, Meyerhoff and Pinkard Galleries at MICA July 17 to August 3, 2014.
Name: Jim Condron
Hometown: I was born in Long Island and spent my childhood in Wilton, Connecticut
School: I earned a BA in English and Art from Colby College, Waterville, ME, attended the New York Studio School for three years, and then got my MFA from MICA’s Hoffberger School of Painting. I have studied with my mentor Rohini Ralby for over 20 years. It’s through her spiritual guidance that any ounce of authenticity has come through in my work. She’s a great painter herself.
Current favorite artists or artwork: Giotto, Fra Angelico, Sassetta, Leonardo Drew, Forest Bess, Jackson Pollock, Hannah Wilke, Kathy Butterly, Chris Martin, Carleton Watkins, and Yayoi Kusama. Most recently blown away by the William Kentridge installation and the fourPieros at the Met.
What is your day job? How do you manage balancing work with studio time with your life? I am an adjunct professor at Towson University, MICA and Stevenson University. I make things in secret, in a closet. If I have more space, I take it over.
How would you describe your work, and your studio practice? I paint stuff and glue things together until it looks better than anything I have ever seen before. Sometimes I will ponder how to resolve the sock I have included in a piece for a few weeks before adding fur and color.
What part of artmaking do you like or enjoy the most? The least? I enjoy finding things and creating something meaningful from fragments of materials, then naming it. I hate it when I start to know what I am doing.
What research do you do for your art practice? I don’t do research, I just look and look and look. Actually I do research, I look into glue guns and spray paint; and tennis shoes–a complicated matter.
What books have you read lately you would recommend? Movies? Television? Music? I have no time to read and I don’t watch television and don’t go to movies. I sometimes listen to music in the car.
Do you ever get in creative dry spells, and if so, how do you get out of them? Last year I quit painting.
How do you challenge yourself in your work? I look for strange materials and try to make them into something coherent.
What is your dream project? Big breath-taking work.