Guests Jeff Clay, Bill Reed and Katie Willes from Local Colors Art Gallery and Artist Co-op talk about art, process, media and response. Check out Local Colors Art Gallery on Facebook.
You can find out more about “In the Telling” at lizzylizzyliz.com
Get additional content from my interview with Katie, Bill and Jeff on the “In the Telling” Podcast channel on YouTube
Theme music by Gordon Vetas
Episode extra, the upstairs gallery walk throughSupport the show
Katie Willes: 0:00
I think anybody can find creativity at any age.
Liz Christensen: 0:04
The voice you just heard belongs to Katie Willes.
Katie Willes: 0:07
Hey, my name's Katie Willis. I have been painting about a year and 1/2. I paint abstracts in acrylics, too,
Liz Christensen: 0:15
who joined me as one of three artists from local Colors Art Gallery. Katie Willis arranged for me to also meet with Bill Reed.
Bill Reed: 0:23
My name is Bill Reed. I am the president of Local Colors of Utah Gallery are calorie. I do abstract acrylic work
Liz Christensen: 0:33
and Jeff Clay.
Jeff Clay: 0:34
Okay, I am Jeff Clay. I've been in the gallery for over 10 years, so I am the senior member. I guess you might say most of the vice president on the board and I've been photographed. I'm a photographer, so I, um, shoot both travel and landscape photography as well as architecture. I would really like to photograph anything from a photography is a way to explore the world around me, and then two, in fact, really reinterpreted
Liz Christensen: 1:01
in the basement of local colors. Art gallery to talk, art process, media and response. I'm your host, Liz Christiansen, and it's all in the telling welcome to Episode 26 with my guests Bill Read Katie Willis and Jeff Clay from Local Colors Art Gallery. Listen through to the end of the episode to hear the episode extra. A walk through of the upstairs of the gallery with Bill Reed showcasing other artists on display. Local
Katie Willes: 1:34
colors. Art Gallery. Is it on Lee? Local artists?
Bill Reed: 1:38
Yes, we're only local artists. If you moved into the area you're living here, your local is. And I don't have you born here or anything, but we Yes, we want local artists part of it. That way you can buy out of a part of your job of sitting here did the desk. So here we have an artist at the desk where all we have is the artist at the desk. You're
Katie Willes: 1:59
serving your time, right?
Bill Reed: 2:01
That's exactly how we feel. Rather repeating. Of course, he does things on computers so he can get He can work a little bit of death. Some people do small things. I can't be in here. Or is it? Just make a mess So you don't want to make a mess in the gallery, But yes. Oh, that zit. It's, uh, look for artists. Actually, you could come in and see an old Gloria said he wanted The desk is an artist. So?
Katie Willes: 2:28
So no matter when you show up, you talk to somebody who's artists here. Yeah,
Bill Reed: 2:32
this is their mother. Or I saw that one tied Are their wife or the husband is allocated there, delegating. Sometimes you're still you like, I think sometime next week, I have three shows going on at the same time. I don't know how we're the all three places, but I'll figure it out. You know, you just figure it out. It kind of their founders as an artist. So, yeah, we're cool up. We're, uh oh. This place is owned by the artists. We just try to keep the doors open way all. Try to sell as much as we can, obviously, but at the same time, enjoy being here, so And it is good. We have a great group and this eclectic
Katie Willes: 3:15
talk to me. Like what even is this Coop? What is it? What is an artist Coop gallery even?
Bill Reed: 3:22
Yes. So were we. The artist's own, the only gallery. Okay. And the hour he makes the profits. Just the artist. Okay, so that's the coop. Part of it So it's also is a co op. We all vote on everything.
Katie Willes: 3:38
So So when you, your president and your vice president the entire the entire coop is part of the board,
Bill Reed: 3:45
Well, the board talks cox and then and then everybody gets the vote.
Katie Willes: 3:51
Okay, so everybody that
Bill Reed: 3:52
we don't know everything that you encounter, you know, everything you counter running a business of any kind may not require conversation with everybody is an obvious school. Do it. Don't waste other people. So the artists always I want to have of short, concise meeting to do that, the board gets together and oh, yeah, this is worthy. We have to vote on this or no, we don't need Thio. So okay, you know, not in this said if someone wants to Well, d'oh So mentioned everything we talked about real quickly and that someone wants to talk about that. A cz Well, we can do that. But usually people say, OK, let's get to the meeting and just keeping the doors open. Sure. So all the artists are involved in doing that.
Katie Willes: 4:40
How many artists are in the car? I
Bill Reed: 4:42
think the runs around 15. Sometimes we have Morrison has we have less like, right now, we could use, um, some or three d art. We could use some more. Three. The artist we like another drawer. Find one.
Katie Willes: 4:54
You're not counted as a three d artist.
Bill Reed: 4:56
No texture. So okay, these air to D artists, and we could use another to do yard. So, um, way have room for more, but, you know, it seems to, you know, rotate through around by 15. But we could also go up too. I guess I'm counting something like 18. I think 20 would be too many, but you have to give it a try. Er, probably
Liz Christensen: 5:18
an artist joins the coop after being juried in.
Katie Willes: 5:21
We actually have somebody coming today to be joined in. After this, you bring some work and you sit in front of a panel of some of our artists and they look at your work and decide if you know it fits. The gallery
Liz Christensen: 5:35
bill does large abstract panels and he paints with knives.
Bill Reed: 5:39
So I mean, because most times you look around PDS are sometimes smaller, you know, there. And And I worked in a different gallery for awhile, you know, as a member, is another coop and all there's were very tiny compared to mine. And so I just got in my mind. I do big. But then I hear I actually love it because I can actually show the larger ones around that spectrum. So what is 48 inches by 72 that will be remanded? And that's court, you know, it's like four feet by what is six feet? Yes. Oh, yeah, No, that's that's That's not approaching mural size. I have intact a mural size.
Katie Willes: 6:21
Yeah. What point does it become your own size? Because that
Bill Reed: 6:23
is the whole wall. Okay, Yeah. Don't you do a whole wall? You've done a mural, so I do abstracts and they look better in large. But most of the ones hanging in museums or even larger than ones I've done. I think the largest one I've done was six feet by 13 and 1/2.
Katie Willes: 6:43
What makes it a Pamela, not a canvas.
Bill Reed: 6:46
Your panel's air would canvas. You are something like, Would you know that there's ah, all sorts. The Aqua Board Play board also also, it's a different medium, and they're all for different types of medium and somewhat acrylic paint actually, sometimes is a watercolor, and most people don't think of acrylic paint is a watercolor of it can be used as a watercolor. So you want to use, like, aqua board for that or something like a clay board for that. But if you're painting really hard like I d'oh with knives, I pay. I didn't really use the brush in my life. And you're painting with knives, You and, uh, palette, knives and all sorts you wantto really in your life a lot of texture you wanna board underneath, that's what. And then you put on that just so which is a visa. And then you put him insolent and then on that paint. Okay, so it's a jack, and that's what some people call Jess aboard. Okay, it's better. You know, I go in there and I go, This looks good and I walk out with because that's what I do. So I used in high school palette knives. So when I went adult, I started choosing Palin right. But then I found that I really liked found objects and I paint with found objects and I paint with things. I go to Home Depot and I get Home Depot, get a scraper that's used for Con Creator. I get I get something with teeth on it that's used for who Know what? I don't know. I'm not a construction expert, but I get these pieces and that's what I pay you with. So I guess it gets to be a lot of texture. I like a lot of pictures of my painting, so I put a lot of pain on. And then I take away paint with these found objects and, uh, and my paintings are emotion escapes. So I go towards the canvas or panel within emotions. I leave two days later, six hours later. I don't know how lost lighter. I have no idea. I look at the painting. I wasn't here when it was paid.
Katie Willes: 8:52
You just exercising it out?
Bill Reed: 8:54
No, I'm not there. So I don't have any idea. Well, hell, you know what is actually done during the process
Katie Willes: 9:02
that sounds meditative. It is
Bill Reed: 9:04
sort of meditative. I think it's a way of freeing myself of anything I'm feeling. And so it's getting the emotions. Spence. I call my paintings emotion escape for the most part. But then I do do a series of where I'm work. We're focused and I do things of landscapes. And I had been a series of women escapes where I take models and press him up against the canvas and trace them. And I traced him a different position. Yeah, yeah, just trace him with a pencil. You know, you put it a different positions there on a ladder and not a relapse facing left, they're facing right,
Katie Willes: 9:38
like chalk on the ground on the sidewalk is a kid
Bill Reed: 9:40
exactly but done on the campus. And then when you do it, just that usually I have that, you know, so they don't have to lie down. I haven't standing upright and they're standing up. Sometimes they're wearing high heels. Sometimes they're on the ladder. Sometimes it left them in the right, and but what they do afterwards, when you're done, you got all these lines right? You treat it horizontal instead of vertically turned horizontal, and you have a landscape. And sometimes I asked the model Choose the colors for the land. Skype. Sometimes I don't want to know, but you know, it's an interactive process. So it's, uh, Lim escapes is what I call them as I do, do them. And I am conscious there because I am tracing. I'm very careful, Tracy. Yeah. Full range of different types of paintings. I do, but mostly my paintings are highly textured. Um, what escapes tend to be less textured. Um, but, you know, you use less tools then, right? You don't have to, but I still kind of paid heavy. Sometimes I just finished one with oil pastels, crayons, paint. But I use does I do do mixed media. Sometimes I feel with metal, which is like an interesting to do with Campbell's in. And you spray it with acid so it rust. See if the rusting is what causes the painting rather than s. So you have
Katie Willes: 11:00
your carefully eroding.
Bill Reed: 11:03
Yes, yes, carefully eroding the paint that you applied to the penny. And if you use copper than he is a different kind of asset. And I guess what patina. So it turns like blue. Or you could use a different kind of makes the turn gray, green. And then, you know, the rust on the iron. And then I saw, you know, I like to experiment with my painting process. Art is a process to me.
Liz Christensen: 11:26
Bills. First experience painting in high school Makes a great story.
Bill Reed: 11:30
In high school, I painted for a while a matter fact. My art teacher gave me a campus. Well, actually bought a burlap was painting on burlap, but he gave me everything else. Like
Katie Willes: 11:41
a required class
Bill Reed: 11:42
has a higher class. And it was a large painting once again is the first painting. A painting was large and it was burlap. So it was cheap. Okay, then I played a lot of pain to it. At the end of the year, I rolled it up. It wasn't, you know, frame rolled it up, stuck in my arms, were walking out. And he goes, Well, Mr Reed, come back here, Huh? Well, what? Because I haven't given you a great I said, Oh, great. I'll unroll it, Give you great because you're not doing I was like, Wait a minute. What do you mean, he goes? Well, you can't leave, But the building is looking like that. And I were arguing for like, six hours finally do his credit, not mine, but his credit. I'll bring the other two teachers in. Okay,
Katie Willes: 12:22
So you're gonna get juried and a degree
Bill Reed: 12:25
with you did not let you take it home with Agree with me. You have to change the Billy's. Okay, so I'm like, Okay. Okay, this sounds terrible, but I'll do it. Right. So a picture of the painting foreground trees, middle ground. I think there were Russian Orthodox churches, background and brilliant Scott. Absolutely brilliant sky. So that the next teacher comes in, he goes, Oh, no. There's nothing wrong with the buildings. I don't like to trees. The third teacher came in and said No. The trees air find ability. If I I don't like the sky. And so I wrote again. Mister, where you going? I go. Well, they didn't agree with you. He goes, They didn't agree with you either. So after that, I became a mathematician. I work for the federal government for 34 years And then as nearing retirement 17 years ago, I was 50. My ex wife was telling me what you need to have a hobby when you retire. You know you need something I said I'm gonna paint. She says you haven't painted since high school once. One true. I think I painted two pennies in college. But you know, it was close to true and I said, Okay, I'll start painting. So I painted a picture of the Spiral Jetty and I painted something of Lake Powell and and I was just really enjoyed doing that. And then when I finally retired, I started cause that was like 12 panties a year for about five years, and then I retired and I started painting off something like, You know, 30 40 pennies here,
Liz Christensen: 13:55
Jeff said he uses his camera to reinterpret. He also told me he uses it to explore and discover those three things were such a simple explanation of his photography. But as we talked, I thought they were a very elegant way to summarize his process.
Jeff Clay: 14:11
When I use it to explore, I use it to explore and then discover and reinterpret and so being in the field. And I'm always whether it's in a built environment like New York City, which I love to go to or it's in southern Utah or it's in Laos or Myanmar in the year wherever I like to explore and I, like Thio, have different concepts in mind. I'll think of patterns and angles and juxtapositions and composition. That's all happening. And then when I get home or get to the hotel where I'm staying, I'll start processing the images. Start looking for winners from that day right off the bat, and I often find that I'll reinterpret the image to some degree. It maybe like converting to black and white board. Maybe that I'll accentuate something that I hadn't seen in the image originally. It may just be bringing if I'm photographing a person, making that person really stand out from the background. So you have to do that in the digital dark room. Cameras just gonna shoot pretty much straight. But the dark room, in other words, using light room or Photoshop, is where you have to interpret it. I use light room and Photoshopped. So I started. My workflow is on. I've taught on my workflow before, but I started like Truman ended late room and from light room will bring it into photo shop and in photo shop. I have other tools I use. I couldn't spend easily 1/2 hour on one image, and if I am shooting on when I'm traveling, I'm shooting. I could be shooting 2000 images in a day so you can see that I'm processing forever. Essentially, In fact, I'll be posting online and people say I didn't I didn't know you were in India, and I'm someone I'm not even Salt Lake. I was in India a year ago, but I'm still working on the images. So I'm constantly going back and looking through my files and finding new images. Highlight. I didn't see that or I forgot about that or whatever.
Katie Willes: 16:09
I don't know. Maybe this is a poor analogy, So correct me if it ISS. But it seems like I was thinking that as a photographer, maybe you're a medium that you're working with us just like your natural environment. But it makes it sound like your photos are also kind of your base medium. And you're kind of going after the fact that, like, this is the image instead of like, blue acrylic that I'm gonna play with and then what you're really doing afterwards, after having shot it,
Jeff Clay: 16:36
I think that's really Yeah, that's a good way of putting it, because I've had this discussion with other photographers and you'll get a range of opinion that there are people that say, Well, what you shoot is what you should present. I adamantly, at least for me, don't agree with that. I think that you meaning you shoot the image and you print it out, and that's all there is to it. That's never been the case if you go back and look at the Old Masters. The people were shooting film Ansel Adams, and they worked in a dark room forever. There's a story about one photographer, how he was working on the forget which one it was. It was that he was photographing a vegetable, of all things, a bell pepper. He worked for two weeks to print that image. He shot it obviously, on film, and he had a stack of rejected prints off to the side. I don't know how many 50 100 whatever before he finally got the one that works. So when people say, Well, you shouldn't really spend time photo working in photo shop, you just need to, you know, take the image, and if you do it right in camera, it'll be right coming out of camera. It's not the case for me. Others your mileage may vary, but if you look at the guys have been there before us, the guys and gals. They all worked on your image for a long time.
Liz Christensen: 17:50
In addition to asking Jeff about his process and the programs he uses, I asked him about what camera he uses to shoot
Jeff Clay: 17:58
the camera. Doesn't matter. Oh, well, because these days, as long as you have a camera, that is, maybe if you have an old camera, an old film Cameron, you know how to use it. It's really about how you use it. So I like to tell the story that I didn't make this up, but somebody got invited to a dinner that, and they said that that was a wonderful meal. What kind of stove do you have? And it didn't have anything to do with the stove. It had to do with who was using the Stoke. These days, Having a good camera is important, but more important is having is knowing how to use it. If you look at my work, you can't tell whether it's cannon that Connor contacts. You know you like it or you don't like it based on different things.
Liz Christensen: 18:37
Katie became an artist later in life and more recently than Jeff for Bill.
Katie Willes: 18:41
But I started painting when my daughter went off to school in high, and she was an art major and had never thought of myself as creative or artistic at all. But I was missing her and I'd sit in her room and I'd look at her art supplies. And I just decided to start one day trying all sorts of different things. But when I tried abstracts, I just fell in love with it. I found what makes me feel alive. So I've just been gung ho since then. And it was like, four months after I started painting abstracts that I approached the gallery and asked to be juried in and I don't know, I've done done lots of shows since then and just I mean, I've got I've got a show in L. A coming up in April and I'm just loving painting. So it's been really fun. How many years then? Is this since you started a year and 1/2? Yeah, Yeah, I have the best. Honestly, my family doesn't know where I came from there. They're surprised by it, too, but it's just I don't know. I found what I love to do. And so I want to do it, you know? Yeah, it was just just a switch and me just I don't know.
Liz Christensen: 19:54
All three of these artists have something important in common. They all seem to me to be highly engaged, even enamored with their process.
Bill Reed: 20:03
So it's it's Some people asked me, What kind of art do you know, brother? Being abstract. That's a lot of people call my work abstract. I just say this process are I mean, I might be wrong, but I consider this my by painting is sort of like done in a dark room. I'm processing the original idea over and over again with paint, but not not I don't have film. I don't have digital. I just go through a process with paint.
Katie Willes: 20:30
Since you like texture of Mississippi, not using a lot of water with your acrylic,
Bill Reed: 20:34
I'm usually adding something to make the paint thicker, and there's all sorts of mediums for acrylic that you can add your own. Putting last beads a cruel actually the best feeds air the acrylic feeds. You put these little tiny and it gives it you put in lava you know? Yeah, I think went upstairs is like that. I have put in crushed up lava rock, and you could put in different things to make your beer get you your texture that you want. And it's just a process. Right? So you say Okay, I'm adding glass beads. Well, what is that going to d'oh? Not sure we'll see. Huh? One pitting. I've made it very thin, and you can see each individual beat if you look really closely. And sometimes I made it really thick. So I had to see the bees. I had to take a picture and zoom in because, you know, but that once he zoomed in, you could see them. But our get real close eye glasses. You know, it's better for you to zoom in with a camera, right? So assuming with a camera in the sea. But you know, that's they sew things you add and things you do make a process for painting. But I'm doing a lot of different things which some people always hesitated. Bill, you should find your niche and do only this and I'm going. But no, I never found that in my life. I find that my work. So I just do what I do. An experiment. And I think, Well, you know, it's the best thing was when your first painting is experimentation. And if you lose that, you've lost. Well, I really have lost the purpose of painting, I think.
Katie Willes: 22:15
Katie, where do you fall in all of this? Are you? Are you begin with the end of month in mind? No, not usually. I mean, I do a few mountains or flowers that, you know, I want to look like a mountain. You know, we're kind of look like a mountain, but I like process in there, too. You just start, you put down marks and then you react to those marks. Since I only like how that looks or I like the shape of that and then you cover up stuff and then you put more stuff on and then you cover more step up and yeah, all my paintings, air layers and layers and layers. And it's just kind of reacting how Bill talks about, you know, not being there when it's happening more. I'm just like, inside myself. I'm, like, tapped into my inner itself. Not really my subconscious but kind of like that, you know? And I feel like it's it is. It's very meditative. It is a great way to find parts of me that I didn't know what No, I had what I really loved about it before was finding this creative side of me that, you know, I didn't know existed. I feel like each painting. I find more things that are me. And so each painting is like a little piece of off me and my I don't know psyche or something. You know, I used paintbrushes mostly, but I do a lot of scratching and taking away and lots of crayon sometimes and wax pastel or his paint sticks that I love that are actually like automotive mark markers were us like oil sticks don't react well with acrylic. These paint sticks worked pretty well with acrylic. And so, like I said, it wasn't ever taught in art. Eso was mostly self taught, have taken some courses online, sense to kind of refined my composition, and so I don't follow the art rules. What is it that you're like? Oh, that was the thing. Here's what I was feeling. Here's what I think you like? What does it mean to you? Guess Well, fact. Yeah. Yeah. And I confined stuff after the fact that I'm like, Oh, yeah, that was this memory or that was trying to evoke this feeling. When I first started, I was just trying to get in touch with all the things that I liked as a child to find kind of erase all the adult stuff that you feel like you have to do. How I paint is kind of like abandoned and not like, not very precise or meticulous. It's just kind of like like a child kind of just just go for it.
Liz Christensen: 24:57
I enjoyed talking with Katie, Jeff and Bill about their art, but this is art you need to see, not just hear about off course. You should pay a visit to a local Colors and Sugar House, but you can also hop over to the new in the telling podcast channel on YouTube to see segments of Jeff, Katie and Bill and I discussing their work right there in the gallery. None of the content in those segments is a repeat of what's been included in this episode, and the art is well worth taking a look. The link to the YouTube channel will be included in the show Notes. Thank you to my guests. Jeff Klee, Katie Willis and Bill Read. Bill. Thank you
Katie Willes: 25:33
so much for sure. Showing around the gallery and I was a pleasure to interview you and Jeff and
Liz Christensen: 25:38
Katie. Okay. Well, thank you. Thank you, George. You can find out more about in the telling at Lizzie. Lizzie Liz dot com Theme music by Gordon Venus And the telling has hosted and produced by me. Liz Christian said Thanks for listening.
Bill Reed: 25:55
You might know is that we have scarves scarves as fiber art is the technology way have jewelry that's you know as well Way have thes sort of in grading, like things that are being done. Her husband is a paleontologist. She has, uh ah, a feel for ancient life. So, yeah, that's kind of good. And then we have drawer people who do actually jewelry. Um, some galleries won't allow jury won't allow this or that they make a distinction. But here, if if sarge is heart, you know, and, uh, we do jury people in. But if we all feel comfortable, you know his heart, you know? So wait. You actually get someone like Adam? Stuff is very, very new and
Katie Willes: 26:47
modern. Adam at the desk,
Bill Reed: 26:49
out at the desk. And here's his work and Adam at the desk. He does this all on a computer. You know? He's used Not it's but it's art, right? But it's computer, and you can ask him what program he uses and how he does that. But it's all done on the computer and then a sketch Print it and it's like photography. He gonna digital photography. He could make many prints, but he limits this prince so certain number
Katie Willes: 27:17
short so that it's
Bill Reed: 27:18
so you're actually getting a Siri's one of a series. So but anyway is different. His digital art is art as obviously to me, very pleasing and very nice to look at. And so it's like this with all this death, I am envious because, um,
Katie Willes: 27:37
that's a lot of paint for you to get that kind of death,
Bill Reed: 27:39
right? Exactly. And he has. This is B. It's really tedious, and I was just like, Well, look at it is what bright Andy knows. Music for airports was done digitally and then abandoned just recently played it with instruments, and it was extremely difficult to get the same the same sound out of instruments as he did digitally because of the vertical color sound. And this is Nina. She does pottery. And so we have pottery. Pottery over here is well, And then she also does painting. So yes, well oh, and hear how we How could we forget? Lawrence?
Katie Willes: 28:27
Well, this is one of your three D artists.
Bill Reed: 28:28
He's one of our three D artists. She's, um he's out there. You know what that means as an amazing stuff. It's like if you read what he's done, every one of them has a key in them. There's different aspects of what he's trying to put together to make us to make a yeah, aren't I mean, sometimes it's more like, Yes, something Ray guns and spaceships and things like that. They're more recognizable, more representational work rather than these Which arm or a compositional abstract s O. I mean, they're objects. Ways you put together is unique, right? And that's what he has unique meetings for everything like this one here looks like it comes out of an old sci fi movie right. It's just Zach comes out of his mind, but, you know, it has I feel a little side five so